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

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  • Could 2016 be the year we break free from coal?

    Blogpost by Kelly Mitchell - January 18, 2016 at 9:22

    We’ve barely entered 2016, but China and the US  the world’s largest coal producers  have already embarked on sweeping changes to cut out coal. Could 2016 be the year we break free from this dirty fossil fuel?

    2016 isn't going well for this dirty fossil fuel

    It’s the centuries old “addiction” the world can’t kick. Coal-burning power plants remain the single largest source of human-made CO2 emissions worldwide, and burning coal is a serious health hazard  as those suffering from Beijing’s smog know all too well.

    But 2016 is already shaping up to be the year where we start to leave our fossil fuelled world behind, and move towards a renewable future.

    Last year, the coal industry experienced a dramatic drop. Global coal consumption fell between 90 and 180 million tonnes in the first half of the year  the largest decrease on record...

    Read more >
  • Chile has 24,133 glaciers, and we’re losing them piece by piece

    Blogpost by Estefanía Gonzalez - January 14, 2016 at 13:14

    Scientists arrive at the Amalia glacier, in the Magallanes region of Chile, to study the impact of climate change. 19 Dec, 2015 © Cristobal Olivares

    There are 24,133 glaciers in Chile – 82% of the glaciers in South America. These vast and intricate cascades of white, blue and brown not only form one of the largest freshwater reserves in the world, they are also vital to the preservation of vulnerable local ecosystems.

    But human activity threatens their very existence, despite their importance to people and the environment. Whether due to mining in northern and central Chile or climate change in southern Chile, these unprotected glaciers are under serious strain.

    The Esperanza arrives at the retreating Pio XI glacier in Patagonia. 19 Dec, 2015 © Cristobal Olivares / Greenpeace

    The Esperanza’s mission

    The plight facing the glaciers is well known, but their remote location makes them difficult to study in depth. That’s why the Esperanza just spent several days in Patagonia in southern Chile documenting some of these vanishing fields of ice. We...

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  • We did it! Victory for China's giant pandas

    Blogpost by Yi Lan - January 13, 2016 at 10:34

    2016 has kicked off with great news for pandas.

    Back in October, Greenpeace East Asia revealed that China’s iconic giant pandas were under threat from rampant illegal logging in the world’s largest panda habitat.

    Following a two-year-long investigation, we uncovered that a shocking 3,200 acres of pristine natural forest in the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries had been clear cut to make way for plantations of profitable timber, under the guise of ‘forest reconstruction’.

    Aerial image of clearcut logging in the natural forest of Fengtongzhai nature reserve, in the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Aerial image of clearcut logging in the natural forest of Fengtongzhai nature reserve, in the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries – ... Read more >

  • 7 wondrous facts about the Great Bear Rainforest

    Blogpost by Eduardo Sousa - January 13, 2016 at 10:13

    Aerial view of the Great Bear Rainforest. 9 Sep, 2007 © Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

    Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest: there’s no other place like it on the planet. As one of the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate rainforests, some of the richest and most wondrous ecosystems on Earth are found here. It is also home to many First Nations.

    Over the years that I’ve been working on this two decade-long campaign to safeguard the Great Bear Rainforest, I have met incredible people, spent time in deeply-rooted communities and have learned some truly wondrous things about this place.

    Here are my top seven facts about the Great Bear Rainforest:

    1. There are at least 26 First Nations whose unceded traditional territories make up the Great Bear Rainforest.

    Nuxalk Nation members play music in logged forest. 1 Jun, 1997 © Greenpeace / Ivan Hunter

    2. First Nations have ancient village sites going back at least 10,000 years, if not longer.

     Kvai Big House Opening - Heiltsuk First Nation territory, Great Bear Rainforest 2006 / Photo: Steph Goodwin  Petroglyph - Nuxalk First Nation traditional territory / Photo: Jens Wietin

    3. Cedar trees... Read more >

  • As California's gas leak rages on, a state of emergency is declared

    Blogpost by Jesse Coleman - January 11, 2016 at 11:48

    Warnings of gas pipelines pepper the Santa Susana Mountain range miles Southern California Gas Company's fenced-off Aliso Canyon facility. 14 Dec, 2015 © Scott Liebenson

    In a sunny suburb of Los Angeles, California, an invisible menace rages.

    A massive natural gas leak is venting 50 tons of natural gas per hour into the atmosphere, making it the largest gas leak ever recorded.

    First detected on 23 October, the leak emanates from a gas storage well owned by Southern California Gas (a subsidiary of Sempra Energy) in Aliso Canyon, located in the San Fernando Valley region of Southern California. The company claims the leak will be plugged in late February at the earliest.

    While the leak itself cannot be seen (natural gas is invisible to the naked eye), the effects can; bleeding gums and noses, headaches and empty schools.

    Special equipment makes the extent of the gas leak visible. Photo Credit: EDF

    The disaster has forced thousands of residents of the Porter Ranch neighborhood in Los Angeles away from their homes and forced Ca... Read more >

  • New Year's plastic resolution: 5 simple ways to help the ocean.

    Blogpost by Willie Mackenzie - January 11, 2016 at 10:14

    We are turning our oceans into plastic soup. It’s been estimated recently that about EIGHT MILLION TONNES of plastic ends up in the ocean each year.

    Cooks River Clean Up in Sydney 3 Oct, 2015 © Greenpeace / Jane Castle

    Plastic can be amazing. But when it’s reduced to disposable, throwaway items, there’s a big problem – there simply is no ‘away’ to throw it to. And plastic hangs around for a very, very long time. A lot of plastic rubbish finds its way into the ocean. Most of that you will never see, as it’s broken down into tiny particles. But these ‘microplastics’ have been finding their way into ocean food chains for a long time, and now they are starting to turn up in the fish you eat, and in the sea salt you sprinkle on your chips. Bigger bits of plastic meanwhile are eaten by seabirds, fish, turtles and whales, which die with stomachs full of plastic... Read more >

  • Time to tear down the walls

    Blogpost by Anne Jensen - January 11, 2016 at 10:00

    It’s early morning, cloudy with a light breeze and we are on standby as a rescue team for any approaching refugee boats that might get into trouble. And then … we get the call! A boat has been spotted in a position east of ours. Survival suit on, boats started and we’re underway.

    MSF and Greenpeace conduct life saving operations in the Aegean Sea  Photo credit: MSF / Greenpeace Anne Jensen operates a RHIB off the coast of Lesbos in December 2015 as part of joint operations between MSF and Greenpeace to provide rescue activities to refugee boats in distress. MSF and Greenpeace have carried out multiple rescues since the start of operations in November.

    As soon as we approach the small, overfilled and poor-quality rubber dinghy (which we later found was carrying 52 Syrians), we could see immediately it was going to sink. We had to act and a brief moment of chaos ensued as we came alongs...

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  • Peace and #safepassage for refugees in 2016

    Blogpost by Aaron Gray-Block - January 1, 2016 at 12:52

    A short distance outside the village of Molyvos on the Greek Island of Lesbos there is a rubbish dump of life jackets, discarded now but forever witness to the hope and suffering of those who fled war, poverty and oppression this year.

    Peace sign made from discarded refugee lifejackets, Lesvos 1 Jan, 2016 © Romain Toublant / MSF / Greenpeace

    Almost 500,000 people crossed the Aegean Sea to Lesbos, many of them Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans. The dump site stands as a statue, a silent reminder of the risks and that so many more still hold out hope of a safe crossing.

    It also includes the life jackets of those who never made it, of those who lost their lives at sea and can never return home or continue their journey north.

    In November, 97 people died in the eastern Mediterranean and 187 lost their lives in December. They are the victims, casualties of their desperation and the ongoing failure of E... Read more >

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