You can't sink a rainbow

Feature story - July 10, 2010
It has been 25 years since the French government's bombs sunk the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland's Waitemata harbour, killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.

greenpeace buduje pierwszy na świecie, przyjazny środowisku statek zaprojektowaniu z myślą o prowadzeniu kampanii ekologicznych

The French sunk the Warrior to stop Greenpeace from drawing attention to the nuclear tests they were carrying out at Moruroa Atoll. Twenty five years ago, the greatest threat facing the planet was nuclear war. In retrospect, we came frighteningly close to destroying the world. That knowledge is cold comfort to the crew of the original Rainbow Warrior, who, through their work, always knew just how nonsensical the theory of mutually assured destruction was.

Today, while the risk of nuclear war has eased, there is an even more serious threat ... and it is something that is already underway. Climate change, and our response to it, will define our generation … or it could make ours one of the last to walk this earth.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International's Executive Director, says the threat posed by climate change is so great that it justifies acts of public civil disobedience, and that "activism as usual" is no longer going to be anywhere near enough. He says groups such as Greenpeace must actively question one of the most basic tenets of modern western life - consumerism - if they are to have a chance of doing anything other than simply reacting to one environmental crisis before another, as the world slowly dies.  

In order to prepare for this new era of activism, and to mark the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the first Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace will begin construction on the Rainbow Warrior III.

The third Warrior will be unique. It will be Greenpeace's first purpose-built ship. The environmental impact of every aspect of her construction, operation, and eventual disposal has been considered, and mitigated, as far as is possible. She will be able to sail like a yacht, but motor at pursuit speeds when actions require it.

It will also cost 20 million Euro to build. But in just days after Greenpeace NZ's Rainbow Warrior III fundraising site went live, over $20,000 worth of donations were received. Greenpeace NZ is aiming to raise the full cost of the Rapid Response area on the ship, an area that will be crucial to the actions the vessel's crew will carry out.  

The first Rainbow Warrior, because of its work, and because of the actions of one of the world's nuclear superpowers, made history. If the world is to survive, we must ensure that the third Rainbow Warrior, the likes of the people aboard her, and the likes of you, will do the same. If you would like to donate to the Rainbow Warrior's construction, please click here.

Help build the Rainbow Warrior III

In the story of a ship that became a legend, you can help write the next chapter here