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

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  • Choked in smoke - living in the thick of Indonesia’s haze

    Blogpost by Zamzami - September 11, 2015 at 14:22

    Smoke caused by forest fires and peatland destruction, is covering about 80% of Sumatra, Indonesia. And it seems like no matter how far you try to escape, the smoke follows.

    A Greenpeace investigator documents fires on recently cleared peatland in the PT Rokan Adiraya Plantation oil palm plantation near Sontang village in Rokan Hulu, Riau, Sumatra. 23 Jun, 2013

    My wife and daughter should be at our home in Pekanbaru, Riau on the east of Sumatra right now. It’s been more than a month since we moved, or rather escaped to my parent’s house in West Sumatra. But like a dark cloud over my head I’ve since discovered that wherever I go, smoke follows.

    For the past fortnight, most of Sumatra has been blanketed by smoke, triggered by forest fires in South Sumatra and the central east and eastern provinces of Riau and Jambi. It’s currently the dry season and major companies are accused of intentionally and illegally burning to clear land for palm oil plantation; and individual far...

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  • Russel Norman to Lead Greenpeace New Zealand

    Blogpost by Bunny McDiarmid - September 11, 2015 at 9:51

    This morning we emailed over a quarter of a million Greenpeace supporters to tell them that Russel Norman has been appointed to replace me as executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand when I step down later this year.

    Some will be surprised to hear that a guy more accustomed to sitting inside Parliament is joining an organisation that’s more used to climbing it - but I firmly believe Russel is the right man for the job.

    Russel has the leadership skills, optimism, energy, vision and commitment to the environment that we need. And he shares our belief that people power is the key to bringing about positive change, and that civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action are vital to a healthy, robust democracy.

    Here’s what Russel had to say this morning:
    "I’m very excited to be j... Read more >

  • Busted: Big ocean, bad boat

    Blogpost by Sophie Schroder - September 10, 2015 at 17:15

    We knew that the Taiwanese longline vessel could be fishing illegally almost as soon as its details popped up on the Rainbow Warrior's radar system.

    We were in the high seas of the Pacific, at least two days away, but when our checks came back from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency confirming nothing matching the ship's name or radio call sign was on their list of vessels authorised to fish in these water, we made a beeline for it.

    By the time we got close, it had already deployed 50 miles of line weighed down by 2,000 hooks, and was ready to start hauling in tuna and any other sea creature caught up in the process. The boat Shuen De Ching No.888 is a brand new 24-metre longline vessel on its maiden voyage in the Pa... Read more >

  • Hazardous chemicals in pristine nature: why don't we get rid of them?

    Blogpost by Gabriele Salari - September 9, 2015 at 11:43

    Expedition to Pilato Lake, Sibillini Mountains, Italy

    Who hasn't dreamt of being in the untouched wilderness of the Himalayas, the Andes or the Altai Mountains, hiking or climbing in these incredible natural landscapes? Nowhere in the world is the snow purer or the water cleaner than in a clear mountain lake far from civilisation. Very few nature lovers would expect persistent and hazardous chemicals to be found in such places.

    In May and June 2015, eight Greenpeace teams led expeditions on three continents to the most beautiful and seemingly unspoilt regions of the world. We collected water and snow samples to test them for per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Sadly, we found these persistent and hazardous chemicals in snow samples from all the remote areas that Greenpeace teams visited as Footprints in the snow – Hazardous PFCs i... Read more >

  • How I came to believe we need to Change Tuna

    Blogpost by Lauren Reid - September 9, 2015 at 11:31

    The moment we heard we were boarding our first fishing boat, I was so overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness that I nearly jumped straight off the Rainbow Warrior and into the sea – almost missing the inflatable altogether. I still have a welt on my hip to prove it. We zipped off, holding tight to the straps, white knuckled and quietly praying none of us would fall off before making it to our target, a rusty fishing boat puffing dark plumes of smoke. Our inflatable rocked high and low, riding the sea swell to the waiting group of fisherman. We were two ships in a distant ocean. We could have just disappeared, with nobody the wiser, but when the crew pulled us aboard with generous smiles and handshakes, I stopped worrying. On the ship’s deck, there was much to take in. The fisherman had... Read more >

  • Five ways seismic blasting threatens whales

    Blogpost by Farrah Khan - September 7, 2015 at 9:48

    Pod of Narwhals in Greenland 15 Jul, 2009 © Jason Box / Greenpeace

    We don't have to look very far back in history to find proof of why offshore oil drilling is a dangerous endeavour. The BP oil blowout and the Exxon-Valdez spill both left surrounding regions devastated, and neither company was able to clean up their mess. But oil disasters come in many forms, not just spills. All stages of the fossil fuel lifecycle from beginning to end – exploration, drilling, transportation, and consumption – have their own dangers, risks, financial and environmental costs.

    A new independent report commissioned by Greenpeace has for the first time gathered existing scientific data about the harms of seismic blasting – an oil exploration mechanism – on Arctic marine life.

    The findings are alarming:

    M/V Akademik Shatskiy operated by TGS Nopec conducts seismic blasting 3 Sep, 2015 © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

    1. Hearing loss

    Seismic blasts are loud. Up to and sometimes over ... Read more >

  • The mind boggling size of the Pacific

    Blogpost by Andrew Davies - September 7, 2015 at 9:45

    The Pacific ocean covers approximately one-third of the Earth's surface. You could fit all the land in the world into the space it occupies – with room left over for an extra Canada. Put another way, it’s bigger than the surface of Mars.

    Paul Hilton / GREENPEACE

    Within it, there are vast tuna fishing areas, which shift as tuna migrate with the time of the year and changes in water temperature. 

    On this trip we’ve been in the area managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). This agreement, between 33 countries, covers almost 20% of the world’s surface - an area larger than the planet Mercury or roughly three times the size of Africa (take your pick).

    Pacific island island nations have relatively small land area compared to their exclusive economic zones (EEZ), because an EEZ extends... Read more >

  • To the untrained eye it looks like a rogue barrel, fallen overboard from a distant ship, bobbing along in the calm Pacific Ocean.

    Time and again we see odd objects floating past out here, things like mini cocktail umbrellas or polystyrene cups, and it always feels kind of strange because even though we’re in the middle of ocean surrounded by sea for as far as the eye can see, humans have still left their mark.

    But this one is more than just another piece of ocean trash. The ‘barrel’ is apparently a ‘FAD’: Exactly the object we’d been looking for over the past week while each of us was doing two-hour daily shifts watching the sea.

    Since joining three weeks ago in Pago Pago, American Samoa, I’ve been on the Rainbow Warrior to travel around the Pacific and learn about where our tuna really ... Read more >

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