We have been sailing our way up, and now back down, the St. Lawrence River for the past week. Along the way we have made new friends and big headlines.
"Power to Change" is Greenpeace Canada's climate campaign tour with the Arctic Sunrise. While Canada has already ratified the Kyoto Protocol, it is still one of the highest greenhouse gas emitters in the world - at least on a per capita basis. Unfortunately, the federal government's policy on reducing emissions hasn't changed much and is essentially the same as before Kyoto.
"The government still needs to focus on reducing subsidies of fossil fuels and shifting toward renewable energy solutions," remarked Stephen Guilbeult, climate and energy campaigner and director of Greenpeace Quebec.
Our stay in Quebec City, Three Rivers and Montreal was successful to say the least. In fact, during the two days of open boats in Montreal, almost 2,400 people toured the Arctic Sunrise. Luckily for us crew, around 40 canvassers helped give tours. All agreed that the open boats were very successful at highlighting the changes happening in Greenland, providing new media coverage on climate change and exposing people to Greenpeace.
The other major part of the Power to Change campaign was an action on September 5 against Gentuilly-2 (G2), the only nuclear reactor in all of Quebec. Over 100 people in canoes, kayaks and rafts participated. Much of the success of the action was due to utilizing and pulling different groups (Nuclear Awareness Project, Environnement Jeunesse, Assembly of First nations for Quebec and Labrador) together to push to get G2 to close down by 2010.
The action was a huge success and received front, second and third page coverage in all the Quebec-based newspapers. Since the ship has been in Canada, there have been almost 100 media hits in local, provincial and federal media.
What's next you may ask for ship and crew? Stay tuned, there is always more to come.