Daily blogs from the frontlines of the Greenpeace planet down under. 

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  • Government too cosy for the truth on oil risk

    Blogpost by Steve Abel - October 31, 2013 at 12:05


    I never thought we’d be quoting the “drill baby drill” former US Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin on the risks of being too trusting of foreign oil companies but there you go. Read more >

    Since the release last week of our spill modelling which reveals for the first time the extent of the risk of deep-sea drilling to our economy and oceans, industry and government have been inseparable in lambasting the scenarios as “scaremongering” and “science fiction”.  Of itself, that industry/Govt cosiness is a big concern - it leads to the same diminished regulatory oversight that was a key factor in both the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and our own mining tragedy at Pike River.  The willingness of our government to hide the actual risks of deep sea drilling has seen mud slung at the s...

  • Dear Alex

    Blogpost by Amrekha Sharma - October 30, 2013 at 11:37

    Alexandra Harris, activist aboard the Arctic Sunrise and member of the Arctic 30, has been in a cell in Murmansk for more than a month on charges first of piracy, and now of "hooliganism" in response to their non-violent protest against Arctic oil drilling. In an emotive letter to her parents quoted in The Guardian she wrote that "Being in prison is like slowly dying. You literally wish your life away and mark off the days." The following is a letter from her friend and colleague, Amrekha Sharma. 

    Dear Alex,

    I'd emailed you about three weeks ago to see if you wanted to catch up at the Opera Bar when I got back to Sydney, and thought it was really unlike you not to reply right away. Two days later, the news came that you were aboard the Arctic Sunrise, and it was seized by the Russian Co... Read more >

  • Deep-sea drilling does not add up to a win

    Blogpost by Simon Boxer - October 30, 2013 at 10:30

    Oil companies and the Government need to be more open about the potential effects of an oil spill, writes Greenpeace's Simon Boxer.

    There is no substitute for facts and figures," thundered the Dominion Post leader on deep-sea drilling (Riches, or ruin? Reassurance is vital, Oct 25).

    I could not agree more. But unfortunately, the debate about deep-sea oil drilling in our waters has been far, far too absent of facts and figures.

    The reason? The oil industry and the Government have been keeping information hidden. They have compiled information about the potential impact an oil spill may have.

    They will have modelled spills, and projected how long it would take to stop such a disaster happening.

    This is all hugely important. And, if we are to have a frank and open discussion, it's vital f... Read more >

  • Oil on the Sea of our Souls: The Delusion of Deep-Sea Drilling.

    Blogpost by Dan Kelly - October 26, 2013 at 11:00

    “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action” – Goethe

    The charge of ignorance is not one I would level lightly. Ours is a complex world and people act for a variety of reasons; it is at the core of a liberal perspective to respect these – but even liberal tolerance has its limits. These aren’t arbitrary limits or the decree of some paternalistic dictator – but the very real limits of biological systems, set by Mother Nature herself. It doesn’t matter what the supposed economic benefit are: the ongoing pursuit of deep-sea oil by Messrs Key and co. flies in the face of all available evidence. This isn’t open to interpretation or only the domain of a small subset of society, but a key – the key - issue of our day. Climate change is no longer a problem that we can leave to “futur... Read more >

  • Mischa Davis: New Zealand Surfing Champion, Law Student, Piha Local

    (Photo: Jereme Aubertin)

    My name is Mischa Davis. I am the 2013 New Zealand Women’s National Surfing Champion, a title I won in my home of Piha this past summer. I was very lucky to be born into a surfing family and to grow up on Piha beach. I have spent my whole life in the ocean and now I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my escape from my busy mind and hectic schedule at law school. We can all relate to that feeling of being in awe of nature when we visit places like Piha. For me, having Piha as my playground has taught me independence, given me purpose, and very importantly taught me to respect nature. I can't imagine a life not wanting to protect it.

    However our precious coastlines are now facing a very serious threat. New Zealand is witnessing the largest oil exploration prog... Read more >

  • “It is...about capitalism, greed, and the moral depths that people will sink to when the opportunity of accruing immense wealth is put before them”

    Liz Bury, ‘Why you should read The Luminaries’, The Guardian


    This month one of the most important literary awards in the world, the Man Booker Prize, was awarded to a New Zealander. Eleanor Catton became the youngest winner ever of the Booker Prize with her novel ‘The Luminaries’, set in New Zealand's goldfields in 1866.

    While Catton now joins an illustrious list of previous winners such as Margaret Atwood, William Golding and Salman Rushdie, New Zealand is facing into another historic period of greed in the face of environmental destruction as a new frontier of extraction is opened up. Read more >

    Deep-sea exploratory oil drilling activities will ...

  • Don’t believe the hype – hooliganism is hardly better than piracy

    Blogpost by Jess Wilson - October 24, 2013 at 9:24

    Earlier this evening Russian authorities offered the Arctic 30 — currently being held in a freezing jail in Murmansk — what looked like a legal olive branch by dropping piracy charges and replacing them with ones of "hooliganism."

    On the face of it, and compared to piracy, hooliganism sounds innocuous enough, more like a crime of youthful over-exuberance, akin to graffiti or streaking at a football match.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Russia has simply dropped one serious charge and replaced it with another that still carries the very real prospect of the Arctic 30 languishing in jail for up to seven years.

    In Russia, there are two kinds of hooliganism: administrative hooliganism, which carries a maximum of 15 days in prison and a fine, or criminal hooliganism, which carries ... Read more >

  • As one of the team who worked for months on our spill modelling report released today, watching the response in the media and online has been both a gratifying and infuriating experience.

    It was immensely gratifying to see those people who engaged with it in a productive and thoughtful way:

    The flipside to this was the response from government and industry who clearly failed to carefully read the report, calling it ‘scare-mongering’ and stating that New Zealand doesn’t have flow rates like the Gulf of Mexico and that we probably don’t have heavy black crude here. This left me scratching my head - as our main model is quite obviously a spill one sixth the volume of the Gulf of Mexico spill and we model a medium crude that is similar to oil types known in New Zealand.

    As a sc...

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