Protecting Our Communities, Our Coasts, and Our Climate
365 days a year, 24 hours a day, Greenpeace ships are at sea somewhere in the world. This fall the Arctic Sunrisetoured the Atlantic Coast with planned stops in New York City, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, and Miami.
The Arctic Sunrise’s Atlantic Coast tour launched Greenpeace’s campaign to end ocean plastic pollution and reinvigorated the ongoing campaign to stop offshore oil drilling. Greenpeace used the ship to mobilize communities to stop the seismic blasting the oil and gas industry wants to do to survey potential offshore drilling sites from Delaware to central Florida.
Seismic blasting involves the firing of extremely powerful bursts of compressed air towards the seafloor to find and map buried offshore oil and gas deposits. The powerful pulses of sound that seismic air guns generate are similar in intensity to a jet engine taking off and are so loud they can be detected from 2,500 miles away. Ear-splitting blasts could be fired every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for several weeks—or even months—at a time.
The impact on marine wildlife like whales, dolphins, sea turtles, fisheries, and many other species, is considerable, and potentially deadly. Seismic blasting can deafen marine animals and can prevent some dolphin and whale species from communicating. These animals need to use echolocation, and the relentless blasts can cause abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, beach strandings, and even death.
Scientists estimate that blasting in the Atlantic would injure as many as 138,000 whales and dolphins, including killing or injuring nine critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise tour highlighted these dangers to marine wildlife, mobilizing communities and concerned people nationwide to campaign to stop seismic blasting, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and protect our coasts, our climate, and our future.
Offshore Oil Drilling
Opening up the Atlantic Ocean to oil drilling is part of the overarching Trump agenda to open up our public lands and waters to the fossil fuel industry, following the rescinding of protections for our national land and water monuments, the rollback of environmental and public health safeguards, and the undoing of offshore protections from Alaska to North Carolina.
Greenpeace’s ship tour showcased the growing power of the people’s opposition to the oil and gas industry’s plans to drill for oil in the Atlantic Ocean, exposing how the government’s ties with the fossil fuel industry ultimately impact our oceans, our lands, our climate, and our lives. Offshore oil drilling will only push us faster into devastating climate chaos—while the industry profits hugely at the expense of people, wildlife, and the planet.
Ocean Plastic Pollution
Our lives are inundated with plastic packaging and products designed to be used once and tossed away without a second thought, and our oceans and communities are suffocating from it. Plastic pollution is causing irreparable harm to the health of our ecosystems and marine wildlife.
The “culture of convenience” and the throwaway lifestyle that these plastics enable are fundamental mindsets that drive consumerism and push us beyond our environmental boundaries. That is why Greenpeace’s campaign aims to shift mindsets to make single-use disposable plastics unacceptable, and eventually eliminate them.
Plastic pollution is not a waste management problem and we cannot recycle our way out of it. Rather, a lack of corporate responsibility is the issue, and our goal was for people at each stop to leave the Arctic Sunrise with tools and inspiration to challenge the industries manufacturing and using throwaway plastic to change.
The ship’s crew and Greenpeace campaigners collected and documented plastic found in harbors, at sea, and in nearby coastal and inland areas to bring attention to the plastic pollution crisis. As communities came together for beach and river cleanups and brand audits, people were inspired to become change agents in making single-use plastics a thing of the past.
A New Day of Resistance Aboard the Arctic Sunrise
Greenpeace ships make it possible for us to document what is at stake in ways nothing else can— in this case, bearing witness to plastics pollution and mobilizing to stop seismic blasting and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Arctic Sunrise is no stranger to this work, having undertaken an epic journey in northeast Greenland two years ago to investigate seismic blasting and how it was disrupting and harming ocean life in the Arctic. It was something that was happening in near secret far away from the public eye until Greenpeace exposed it for the world to see.
Just this summer, Norwegian authorities arrested the Arctic Sunrise and its crew for peacefully protesting Norway’s state-owned oil company’s reckless drilling in the Arctic. Peaceful activists neared the oil platform in the Barents Sea with kayaks and inflatable boats, while swimmers were in the waters protesting with hand banners to deliver this message to the Norwegian government from around the world: Put People Over Arctic Oil.
Britt Baker, a Greenpeace activist at the location, said:
“As an American and global citizen, Trump’s decision to retreat from the Paris climate agreement and boost fossil fuels at the expense of people around the world was devastating. Likewise, we see the Norwegian government opening new oil areas in the Arctic at full throttle, in spite of knowing the dangers it will have for future generations.”
Learn more about the ship tour and take action for our oceans at greenpeace.org/usa/shiptour