It has been a busy and action-packed year for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, let’s take a moment to cherish the memories, acknowledge the milestones, and celebrate the collective journey we’ve been on.

In 2023, we saw thousands of people coming together for environmental protection and demanding systemic changes necessary for a livable and more sustainable Southeast Asia, especially as many ASEAN nations held their respective national elections in 2023.

Bangkok’s 29th District landmark, located in the Bang Khun Thian mangrove forest, is now under water due to rising sea levels. Flooding has also affected other parts of the Thai capital. ⁣Right before the national elections, GreenpeaceThailand called on Thai political parties to prioritise the climate agenda to protect citizens from extreme weather impacts. 

Climate issues, particularly the region’s alarming air pollution levels, were a main concern, prompting concerned citizens and like-minded NGOs to file a civil lawsuit against government agencies in Thailand. Meanwhile, local groups in Indonesia remain victorious in their fight to uphold a 2019 ruling that ordered President Widodo Jokowi and other officials to take serious action on air pollution.

Citizen Lawsuit against Air Pollution in Indonesia. © Jurnasyanto Sukarno / Greenpeace
Khalisah Khalid (right), and lawyer Jeanny Sirait (left), talk to the press after 32 citizens connected to a lawsuit over Air Pollution in Jakarta issued a counter-memorandum of appeal at the Central Jakarta District Court (PN Jakpus)- a legal step against the appeal made by four state official defendants, the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Minister of Home Affairs, and Minister of Health.
© Jurnasyanto Sukarno / Greenpeace

The climate agenda also inspired passionate artists to mount artivism events across Malaysia to demand government action and corporate accountability to stop the haze that continues to threaten people’s health and well-being.

Art Intervention on Transboundary Haze in Malaysia with artist Ernest Zacharevic. © Wei Ming / Greenpeace
Artist Ernest Zacharevic creates ‘Transboundary Haze’, a 48x16ft mural art piece on metal perimeter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the first in a series of Art Interventions in a collaboration between Greenpeace Malaysia and Splash and Burn, to reignite the conversation on solutions to the issue of transboundary haze and clean air as a human right, following the filing of a complaint to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM); and a call to action for stronger action by our government to hold polluters accountable. © Wei Ming / Greenpeace

People-power was very much evident throughout 2023. We saw the indigenous Auyu challenge powerful palm oil companies and win their case over land rights and forest protection in West Papua, Indonesia.

Awyu Tribe in State Administration Court, Jakarta. © Jurnasyanto Sukarno / Greenpeace
Indonesia’s Papuan Indigenous People from the Auyu tribe don traditional body paint and bird of paradise headdresses before officially intervening in legal proceedings undertaken by two palm oil companies in the Jakarta State Administrative Court. © Jurnasyanto Sukarno / Greenpeace

Fisherfolks from Chana, Thailand continue to hold their ground and fight for their rights to protect their coastal homeland from being converted into an industrial zone that will threaten local ecology and their way of life.

Female Fishers in Chana. © Songwut Jullanan / Greenpeace
“Tao Kai”, a female fishers group in a coastal community in Chana, Songkhla, Thailand, was formed to strengthen the community’s seafood trade and to improve the local economy, as well as to promote sustainable fishing practices.
© Songwut Jullanan / Greenpeace

Just before the UN climate talks in Dubai, climate-impacted communities in the Philippines took to the streets to demand climate justice and reparations from big oil Shell- a corporate polluter that has historically contributed and profited from the climate crisis that continue to impact millions of Filipinos.

Community Protest at Shell Facility in Batangas. © Basilio Sepe / Greenpeace
A drone image shows climate advocates and residents raising their hands painted in black and displaying signs against fossil fuel operations during a climate protest in Batangas City, south of Manila, Philippines. Communities and climate advocates are demanding that oil and gas companies 1) acknowledge their disproportionate role in historical carbon emissions and commit to a just transition away from fossil fuels, 2) stop all fossil fuel expansion, and 3) pay up for the economic and non-economic losses and damages caused by climate impacts. © Basilio Sepe / Greenpeace

This year also marked the return of the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, to Southeast Asia with Climate Justice ship tours in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Rainbow Warrior Arrives in Bohol. © Geric Cruz / Greenpeace
The Rainbow Warrior visits the Philippines anew, this time sailing near Mantatao Island, one of Bohol’s islands that were most devastated by Super Typhoon Odette (international name “Rai”) in 2021. Last year, Greenpeace Philippines partnered together with Planet CORA, Youthlead Philippines, and youth climate advocates of Negros Island to install solar panels on the island, which had no electricity for five months due to the damage from the typhoon.
© Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

Rainbow Warriors old and new welcomed the much-loved ship- a platform for environmental defenders and a vessel of humanity’s hopes and dreams towards a green and peaceful future. 

Rainbow Warrior Climate Justice Ship Tour - Open Boat in Malaysia. © TAN CHIA WAY / Greenpeace
Temuan artist and activist, Shaq Koyok, in front of the “wishes” banner made by Greenpeace volunteers during the Greenpeace ship tour stop at Pulau Ketam Jetty, Port Klang, Selangor, Malaysia. © TAN CHIA WAY / Greenpeace

As we set sail for 2024, let us be steadfast in our desire and commitment to ensure that our home, our region, our Planet is protected, alive, and thriving as it always should be.

Therese Salvador is the Regional Communications Coordinator for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, based in Manila.