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

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  • The Hawke’s Bay elections and the Ruataniwha Dam

    Blogpost by Kathy Cumming - October 10, 2016 at 13:08

    It can be argued that voters in the Hawke's Bay Regional Council elections voted emphatically against the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.”

    So read the editorial in Sunday’s Hawke’s Bay Today. A 5-4 pro-dam majority on the old council now looks like a 5-4 or even 6-3 advantage against the dam (if the councillor who’s currently on the fence dismounts on the side of the anti-dammers).

    Don’t you just love democracy? 

    Anyone who cares about water quality in New Zealand should take a moment to celebrate this victory.  

    The Ruataniwha Dam would be a golden ticket to more industrial dairy farming in Hawke’s Bay. The dam company’s own report suggests it would drive an additional 9,000 ha of dairying. That’s a lot more cows, a lot more urine and faecal matter and a lot more runoff.

    The district’s wa...

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  • Kiwi cycles the Philippines coasts to raise awareness about ocean plastic

    Blogpost by Abigail Aguilar - October 3, 2016 at 16:53

    Anna Dawson is no stranger to Philippine coastlines, having lived and worked in the country since 2008. However, her next challenge will be one of the biggest yet. From September to December 2016, the New Zealander is cycling 2,000km along the coasts of Visayas and Luzon, advocating for reduction in ocean plastics, cleaning up beaches, and talking to school and university groups. She is undertaking the mission on a Bambike, handmade from Bamboo in the Philippines.

    The project kicked off in Dumaguete, with students from Silliman University, Negros Oriental State University, local high schools, and Marine Conservation Philippines, taking part in a beach clean-up activity. Over 20 sacks of plastic waste were removed from Silliman beach by the enthusiastic team of beachgoers and divers.

    The ins... Read more >

  • With friends like these....what’s an environment to do?

    Blogpost by Kathy Cumming - September 29, 2016 at 10:51

    The Department of Conservation describes itself as “the Government agency charged with conserving New Zealand’s natural heritage”.

    Which is why New Zealanders are scratching their heads over the department’s decision to fight a court ruling that … conserves New Zealand’s natural heritage. 

    A bit of background for those not familiar with the case. At the end of August, the Court of Appeal ruled in Forest and Bird’s favour that a land swap (involving parts of the protected Ruahine Forest Park) to allow the Ruataniwha Dam to proceed, was unlawful.

    The land, which borders the Makaroro River and Dutch Creek, has high conservation values, but DoC downgraded it so that it could be swapped and the area flooded for the dam.

    Er, no, said the Court of Appeal, that’s not how it goes. 

    (the land ...

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  • How palm oil companies like IOI have set Indonesia on fire

    Blogpost by Adi Prabowo - September 28, 2016 at 9:04

    This morning, while most of the Netherlands was still asleep, my colleague Nilus and I - along with dozens of Greenpeace activists - slipped into Rotterdam’s port facilities. The temperature is just eight degrees celsius, my first time ever being this cold.

    IOI Palm Oil Company Blockade in Rotterdam Harbour, 27 Sept 2016. © Greenpeace / Marten van DijlIOI Palm Oil Company Blockade in Rotterdam Harbour, 27 Sept 2016

    Our mission must not fail: we are blockading the entry of dirty palm oil to IOI’s refineries. IOI is one of the largest palm oil companies in the world.

    Thousands of kilometres away from Rotterdam, in our hometown, in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, forest fires occur every year. Fire has destroyed the peat forests and brought orangutans closer to extinction. IOI opens up palm oil plantations by drying out the peat, which makes it very flammable, leading to haze-making infer...

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  • Last year’s devastating fires in Indonesia were devastating for public health and the environment — and every one of them was a human-caused disaster.

    study released last week by Harvard and Columbia reports that more than 100,000 people in Southeast Asia may have had their lives cut short by the toxic smoke and haze from Indonesia’s massive 2015 forest fires. In Indonesia alone, the study estimates 91,600 premature deaths as a result of the fires.

    It’s hard to imagine a catastrophe of this scale; in many ways, the world is just now coming to terms with the magnitude of the fires, the aftermath, and the lives taken.

    As Indonesia’s fire season approaches this year, we need to resolve that this human-environmental tragedy never happens again.

    To stop this, we must understand why the f... Read more >

  • Brent Spar: The sea is not a dustbin

    Blogpost by Rex Weyler - September 24, 2016 at 11:21

    In August 2016, Prestel Books published Photos That Changed the World, including this image of the Greenpeace Brent Spar campaign, captured by David Sims on 16 June 1995.

    Brent Spar

    Greenpeace approaches Brent Spar, 1995, dodging a Shell water cannon. Photo by David Sims, Greenpeace. Selected for "Photos that Changed the World," from Prestel Books.

    The story begins in the 1950s, when Royal Dutch Shell found oil near Groningen, in Permian sandstone linked to North Sea formations. By 1971, Shell had located the giant Brent oilfield in the North Sea, 220km east of Shetland, England. The Brent field produced a valuable, low sulphur crude, and set the standard for the European, or "Brent", oil price.

    In 1976, Shell constructed the Brent Spar, a floating oil storage tank, 147 metres tall, with thick st... Read more >

  • UN report highlights the challenges Indigenous People in Brazil face to protect their land

    Blogpost by Danicley de Aguiar - September 24, 2016 at 11:18

    For Indigenous activists defending their traditional lands, Brazil is one of the most dangerous places in the world.

    Xavante indigenous people from Maraiãwatsede with traditional body paint for war. Due to conflicts over land ownership, this traditional painting is now a daily ritual in the lives of Indians.Xavante indigenous people from Maraiãwatsede with traditional body paint for war. Due to conflicts over land ownership, this traditional painting is now a daily ritual in the lives of Indians.

     Last year alone, 50 environmental activists – including Indigenous activists – were murdered in Brazil for standing up to illegal logging, mining and agribusiness.

    The injustice isn’t limited to violence. Indigenous Peoples in Brazil also face years of red tape and bureaucracy to get their lands officially recognised and protected, giving industry plenty of time to move in and damage their territory.

    Many Indigenous communities – like the Guarani-Kaiowa – have been fighting for the...

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  • Three small letters destroying the rainforest

    Blogpost by Nick Young - September 21, 2016 at 17:53

    Last year, Indonesian forest fires shocked the world. Some called them ‘the worst environmental disaster of the 21st century’. So why hasn’t that shock turned into action - and why are fires blazing across Indonesia again?

    Aerial view from a helicopter of fires at forest and palm oil plantation in peatland area in Pangkalan Terap, Teluk Meranti, Pelalawan regency, Riau. Riau Province Forest Fires Task Force still try to extinguish the fire in the peatland area from the air and on the ground.

    Decades of forest destruction by palm oil and paper companies laid the foundations for 2015’s Indonesian forest fires. The Indonesian government responded with a firm commitment to crack down on rogue companies. Hundreds of thousands of us pushed brands like Colgate to toughen up their ‘no deforestation’ policies.

    But while some progress has been made, some of the biggest palm oil traders are still sitting on their hands. One particular company, called IOI, has been making and breaking promises on forest protection for almost 10 years. It is one of the biggest palm oi...

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