I’m excited to report that Greenpeace is in the thick of our last-minute campaigning in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit on September 12-14 in San Francisco. We’ll be a highly visible and vocal presence there, continuing our call for Governor Jerry Brown to take bold but necessary action to end fossil fuel extraction in California for good.
As the world’s fifth-largest economy, California can lead the nation, and the whole world, on climate action. In ending fossil fuel extraction in the state, Governor Brown would set a global precedent and show what true climate leadership looks like.
The science is clear—continuing to go forward with existing fossil fuel development will push the planet beyond the 1-2° temperature rise we cannot exceed and still avoid catastrophe. And new fossil fuel operations are even more problematic than continuing existing ones, because it locks us into increased carbon production for decades to come, long after the climate can no longer sustain it.
That’s why Greenpeace is escalating our campaign to stop fossil fuel expansion, especially tar sands oil, which is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on Earth. The pace and extent of global activism against fossil fuel pipelines is incredible and showing no signs of letting up.
The Arctic Sunrise has been touring the Pacific Ocean all summer, drawing the world’s attention to the threat a tar sands oil tanker superhighway poses to endangered orcas and other marine wildlife as well as to the entire West Coast shoreline.
And the ship’s last West Coast stop is the Port of San Francisco, just in time for the Global Climate Action Summit, turning up the volume on Greenpeace’s campaign for Governor Brown to seize this last chance he has to take historic action in saving our climate.
This is our moment—the end of the oil age is in sight, and the mandate for action could not be more imperative. While it’s definitely not a done deal, we just may be able to phase out fossil fuels in time to avoid the worst-case scenarios for people and the planet. Thank you for your generosity in making our movement unstoppable. We couldn’t do all this without you!
For a green and peaceful future,
Annie Leonard, Executive Director
Greenpeace, Inc. is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Please visit greenpeace.org to learn more about Greenpeace, Inc., and greenpeacefund.org to learn more about Greenpeace Fund, Inc.
As activists put their bodies on the line and thousands of peaceful protesters take to the streets, we’re witnessing a powerful movement united in our determination to stop pipeline companies from putting water, wildlife, and our communities at risk, fueling climate change, and violating Indigenous rights with their destructive pipelines.
Our message is abundantly clear to the fossil fuel industry and those who back it: we won’t stop until you do. These are some of the recent incredible actions pushing back against new pipeline construction and the banks that finance the projects.
In a coalition action led by Indigenous Land Defenders, nearly 200 people were arrested for peacefully blockading numerous entrances of the Kinder Morgan Westridge marine terminal. Paddlers attached themselves to the two gates of the pipeline company’s floating razor wire fence that surrounds the construction site, preventing workers from entering by water. At the same time, others on land, including two members of Canada’s Parliament, Greenpeace founder Rex Weyler, and a former Trans Mountain employee, blocked the two land-side gates and prevented workers from using any entrance.
A massive protest pipeline was installed by 30 Greenpeace UK volunteers around the entrance to the Canadian High Commission in Trafalgar Square, London. The building was blocked by climate campaigners who built a “Crudeau Oil” pipeline to protest the Trudeau government’s continued efforts to bring tar sands pipelines from the Alberta tar sands across Indigenous lands.
Two activists from Greenpeace Canada occupied an essential piece of equipment to be used in the construction of the new Trans Mountain tar sands oil pipeline. Climbing duo Mary Lovell and Laura Yates climbed the Tunnel Boring Machine just before dawn. From atop what they’ve dubbed the “Monster Drill,” they lowered a banner reading “Protect Water, Stop Pipelines.”
Pipeline opponents from many allied groups shut down 2nd Ave in Seattle to protest tar sands pipeline financing. These activists called on JPMorgan Chase’s Pacific Northwest Chairwoman, Phyllis Campbell to come to the lobby and talk with them about Chase’s investments in Canadian tar sands, including the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Local kayaktivists from the Coast Salish territories shut down the Kinder Morgan Burnaby Marine Terminal with two protectors blocking the water entrance, while others on land blocked the two land-side gates. Work was suspended, and the workers were turned away.
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Vancouver, stopping at each bank along the route that is backing the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
Greenpeace joined leaders from Indigenous communities and other allies at Chase’s annual shareholder meeting in Plano, Texas. From both inside the shareholder meeting and outside at a powerful community-led rally, individuals called for an end to funding carbon-intensive, financially risky, and environmentally destructive fossil fuels—including tar sands pipelines.
Activists from across Washington and Oregon took action by land and sea to protect our waters, our communities, and our climate from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Activists blocked an oil barge from entering Kinder Morgan’s Seattle facility by locking themselves to the pier. In addition to the blockade, a flotilla of kayaks and canoes swarmed Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal from the water. The kayaktivists deployed a massive water banner next to the facility that read “NOT THEN” with a Shell Oil logo, and “NOT NOW,” with the Trans Mountain logo—a strong message that the Pacific Northwest defended against Shell’s Arctic oil drilling plans in 2015 and is now standing strong against another form of destructive fossil fuel expansion, tar sands pipelines.
Telling the Dirty Dozen Banks Not to Finance Tar Sands Pipelines
Greenpeace is asking twelve banks to make stronger commitments to end the financing of tar sands pipelines and dangerous, destructive pipeline companies like Energy Transfer Partners.
These banks, in one way or another, have financial relationships with tar sands pipeline projects, related pipeline companies, and/or Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Greenpeace is pushing these banks not to fund these dirty tar sands pipelines and not to provide financial services to Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiaries.
Defending Free Speech and the Right to Peacefully Protest
Last year, Energy Transfer Partners filed a baseless $900 million Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) against Greenpeace offices and others. The company is falsely claiming the movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock was led by Greenpeace, rather than by Indigenous Peoples. The lawsuit is an attempt to silence free speech and infringe on rights to peacefully assemble and freely associate—a corporate bullying tactic intended to intimidate and drain the resources of Greenpeace and others who disagree with the company.
Abusive legal attacks like this are part of a dangerous trend of corporations trying to silence dissent, but Greenpeace’s response is to turn up the volume on our campaigning. We are bold and unflinching, and our global movement is gaining more momentum every day.
Protecting the Last Remaining Southern Resident Orcas
Since being listed as Endangered on the U.S. Endangered Species List in 2005, Southern Resident Orcas have shown few signs of recovery. As of December 2017, the population of three pods were estimated at a total of only 75.
The whales are frequently seen, from spring through fall, in the inshore waters of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound, and all their connecting channels and adjoining waters, and the waters around and between the San Juan Islands in Washington State and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.
The Trans Mountain pipeline would increase tar sands tanker traffic through those waters by a factor of seven.
Orcas are extremely sensitive to noise pollution, and the noise generated by ship traffic can disrupt their communication, food intake, and breeding. Scientists predict that within 50 years of the Trans Mountain project—even without an oil spill—the Orca population could fall below 30, a level that researchers have termed “quasi-extinct.”
Greenpeace has been saving whales since our founding, and today we are rising up in defense of these icons of the Salish Sea.
Please visit greenpeace.org to learn more about all of our important work and ways that you can help!
The sizes of all three Southern Resident pods were greatly reduced in the 1960s and 70s as the whales were captured for marine park exhibition. At least 13 Orcas were killed during these captures, while 45 whales were delivered to marine parks around the world. Today only one Orca remains alive in captivity, at the Miami Seaquarium.
Where corporations are failing, people are tackling the plastic pollution crisis head on, and it’s really inspiring! During Greenpeace’s global spotlight on plastics in April, more than one million people worldwide called on corporations to reduce their single-use plastic production. The United Kingdom’s plastics petition asking retailers to stop using so much wasteful plastic was their most successful petition ever, with 433,000 signatures!
Thousands of people posted photos of ridiculous packaging on social media and called on retailers and corporations to phase it out. Hundreds of events were led by staff or volunteers around the world, and two Greenpeace videos created for the campaign push were viewed more than 400,000 times.
In time for Earth Day, we launched the Greenpeace Million Acts of Blue toolkit, which provides seven different ways people can take action to reduce plastic production at the source. The global spotlight on plastics was covered in more than 100 news outlets worldwide (and counting!), including Fast Company, Reforma, and Reuters.
Following this big push, we’ve continued to put pressure on these corporate giants to take responsibility for their role in the plastic pollution crisis and are showing how people are gathering evidence for the corporate plastic pollution that is ending up in nature.
In the next few months we’ll continue to promote Greenpeace’s Million Acts of Blue toolkit, especially how to organize a Community Cleanup and Brand Audit, as well as encourage people to take pictures of plastic trash found anywhere it shouldn’t be, and tag the company that produced it with the hashtag #IsThisYours.
The Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, has been touring the U.S. West Coast, making stops in Vancouver, Seattle, San Diego, Long Beach, and San Francisco. After that we’ll make a visit to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of the Pacific Ocean where exceptionally high relative concentrations of plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris have gathered, trapped by the ocean currents (sadly, plastic-polluted gyres have been found all over the planet, not just in the Pacific). And much more inspiring action will follow worldwide, because by bearing witness to where plastics end up, we’ll keep pushing for the only real solution—reducing it at the source!
The Deadly Impact of Plastic Pollution
Scientists have already documented 700 marine species affected by ocean plastic, and the research has just begun. Up to 9 of 10 seabirds, 1 in 3 sea turtles, and more than half of whale and dolphin species have ingested plastic.
A pilot whale was recently found in a canal in Thailand barely alive, and, tragically, rescuers and a veterinary team were unable to save him. An autopsy revealed the whale had swallowed more than 80 plastic bags.
Thailand is one of the world’s largest users of plastic bags and a marine biologist at a research university there said that at least 300 marine animals, including pilot whales, sea turtles, and dolphins, perished each year in Thai waters after ingesting plastic.
Last year, Greenpeace Philippines created a giant dead whale made out of plastic trash to draw attention to the epidemic of plastic pollution in our oceans and what it’s doing to marine life. Images of the whale went viral, and the installation ultimately earned top honors at this year’s Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness Awards. Public art like this is impossible to ignore, and one of the many creative ways Greenpeace communicates our message.
To go with the great installation, Greenpeace launched a petition to the countries in Southeast Asia urging them to take concrete measures against plastic pollution and protect marine life.
Victories for Our Oceans, Forests, Climate, and Democracy
New Zealand bans new offshore oil and gas exploration! In a huge win for Greenpeace New Zealand after seven years of sustained campaigning alongside Indigenous Maori groups and the wider community, the fourth largest Exclusive Economic Zone on the planet is now off limits for new fossil fuel exploitation.
An agreement is reached to create a reserve in Russia’s Dvinsky Forest! It took 18 years of negotiations about the boundaries, but logging companies have agreed to a procedure for establishing a reserve in the core area of the forest. The agreements make it clear that no logging or road construction will take place in the existing moratorium zones as well as within the border of the roughly 1,150 square-mile future reserve until the protected area is established.
European governments vote for a near-total ban on three bee-killing insecticides! A majority of the European Union’s 28 national governments voted to ban all open-field uses of three neonicotinoids—a particularly nasty class of insecticides. The win was the result of a Greenpeace “Save the Bees” campaign launched five years ago along with the work of allies highlighting the decline in bees and the link to the toxic chemicals used by the farming industry.
Straws are losing their pull! Bon Appétit Management Company made history as the first foodservice company in the U.S. to announce that it will ban plastic straws and stirrers in its 1,000 cafes and restaurants by September 2019. Bon Appétit’s policy shows strong leadership within the foodservice sector, and most importantly, proves to all companies that we don’t need throwaway plastics.
Samsung commits to 100% renewable energy by 2020! Samsung Electronics’ major commitment—the first by an electronics manufacturing company in Asia—came after a year of Greenpeace’s campaigning and global protests. As the world’s largest smartphone and computer chip manufacturer, Samsung’s commitment represents a big step forward in reducing the impact our technology is having on the planet.
The DNC votes to ban fossil fuel money! By unanimous vote, the Democratic National Committee moved to no longer accept contributions from fossil fuel companies. The DNC’s decision is welcome news to activists who have worked tirelessly to rid our political system of corruption and the influence of the fossil fuel industry.
After a week of intensive “reef hunting” in the rough seas of French Guiana , the crew and scientists aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza were thrilled to capture for the first time images of reef structures in two different areas off the coast of the city of Cayenne.
The data was carefully analyzed by the team of scientists, who concluded they had enough evidence to confirm they’d found the same coral reef structures as those of the Brazilian Amazon Reef. It was a beautiful discovery for science, biodiversity, and the environmental heritage of French Guiana.
And it proves the existence of a reef formation inside the area where the French fossil fuel company Total intends to drill, off the coast of Brazil. With strong currents present in the region, an oil spill from Total’s project could reach and damage this unique biome in French waters, as well as the coastal communities whose livelihood depends on a healthy ocean.
Oil companies are rushing to drill on the Amazon Reef before scientists have even scratched the surface in understanding this newly discovered wonder. Every day we explore this reef brings new surprises, and now that we see the reef extends from Brazil all the way into French Guiana, there is new hope that these countries will work together to protect this extraordinary ecosystem.
Nature has lots of surprises in store for us as we explore further. We know that the Amazon Reef is six times bigger than we thought, according to the latest scientific paper published—and that’s before Greenpeace found more of its reef structures in French Guiana.
With so much still to be discovered, this is a time for science, not offshore drilling. Greenpeace now has more than two million Amazon Reef Defenders around the world taking action to protect these areas.
In June, more than 250 Greenpeace activists gatecrashed Total’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Paris. Four Greenpeace France activists descended on ropes from the ceiling above the stage as Total’s CEO began his presentation, unfurling banners reading, “Let’s save the Amazon’s coral reef.” A dozen or more other activists gained entry into the hall, some chaining themselves to fixtures in the room, disrupting the proceedings with chants of “Drilling in the Amazon is not responsible.”
Fun Facts About the Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise
By Lisa Ramsden
The Arctic Sunrise was built in 1975 as a sealing vessel, ironically. Greenpeace confronted the ship when it was trying to deliver supplies through penguin habitat in Antarctica, and then later purchased the ship in 1995.
An ice breaking vessel, the Arctic Sunrise has a rounded hull like an egg, which enables it to ease its way atop the ice while the weight of the ship smashes down through it. Because it doesn’t have a keel, which is what stabilizes a ship, in bad weather the crew calls the ship “The Washing Machine”—because that’s what it looks like as the porthole windows slosh with seawater.
The topmost point of the ship is called the Crow’s Nest, and when navigating through ice floes, an ice pilot can steer the Arctic Sunrise from up there.
The Arctic Sunrise has two cranes that can lower RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) into the water in only 30 seconds while the ship is moving at speed, rapidly deploying activist teams for non-violent direct actions at sea.
Directly below the helicopter pad on the ship’s stern, the Arctic Sunrise’s Atrium is the largest open space on the ship. It has a hatch that looks like a giant skylight and can be opened to lower large items into the Atrium by crane. That’s how the ship was able to take a Steinway baby grand piano to the Arctic in 2016. Acclaimed Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi performed his Elegy to the Arctic on a floating platform on the ice as part of Greenpeace’s Save The Arctic campaign.
Mechanic of the Arctic Sunrise, Philip Dunn, in the ship’s Atrium
Global Climate Summit 2018: Urging California to Lead the Way
By Molly Dorozenski
California Governor Jerry Brown is hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this September where leaders and people from around the world will gather to “Take Ambition to the Next Level.” The summit is intended to be a launchpad for deeper commitments and accelerated action that can put the globe on track to prevent catastrophic climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement.
While elected officials abroad are sticking to their commitments, last year President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord and has shown time and again that he is a climate deadbeat and cannot be trusted to ensure a safer, healthier, more sustainable future for all.
That’s why Greenpeace is calling on Governor Brown to fill that vacuum. From extreme weather events to droughts, fires, mudslides, pollution, and more, California, and the world, are suffering from the very real effects of climate change.
Governor Brown can demonstrate real climate leadership by committing to phasing out fossil fuel extraction and new infrastructure in California. Continued reliance on fossil fuels will only undermine the benefits of truly clean energy solutions like wind and solar power, which we urgently need to deploy in order to combat climate change.
That is real climate leadership and Greenpeace is urging Governor Brown to make this commitment and use his summit to set a precedent for others to follow.
The climate is changing, and people around the world can feel it. Fossil fuel infrastructure—like refineries and oil fields—is not only part of climate change, it is deeply impacting local communities. Greenpeace is also calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to protect communities that are polluted by oil and gas drilling and fracking. In advance of the summit we’re sharing stories of how climate change or fossil fuel infrastructure are affecting people. And events during the Arctic Sunrise’s tour of the Pacific Coast are drawing attention to how communities are feeling the impact.
Two Groundbreaking New Greenpeace Reports Expose the Truth About Energy Transfer Partners
Oil and Water: Energy Transfer Partners & Sunoco’s History of Pipeline Spills
Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline, has an alarmingly poor safety record. Together with its subsidiaries, including Sunoco, and joint ventures, it reported 527 hazardous liquids pipeline incidents to federal regulators from 2002 to 2017—that’s a pipeline leak every eleven days, on average.
The report also presents evidence of pervasive water pollution, spills, violations of permits, and stop-work orders while constructing new pipelines.
Greenpeace’s analysis of public data found that the 527 hazardous liquids spills from the company’s pipeline network caused an estimated $115 million in property damage, and at least 67 spills contaminated water sources.
We all recall the Dakota Access Pipeline construction process because of the inspiring resistance from Indigenous communities that wanted to protect their water. The Water Protectors were right—that pipeline alone leaked four times in 2017.
Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco’s track record of spills, including several striking examples of big spills, are indicators of a constant threat to communities and water. No waterway is completely safe from contamination where they operate existing pipelines and construct new ones.
Too Far, Too Often: Energy Transfer Partners’ Corporate Behavior on Human Rights, Free Speech, and the Environment
In another explosive report written for financial institutions investing in and/or lending to Energy Transfer Partners, Greenpeace USA details how the company employs unethical tactics to silence protesters and violate Indigenous rights. Given the company’s tactics in its handling of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the unacceptable practices it continues to employ on other projects, Greenpeace’s report urges banks to end their financial relationship with Energy Transfer Partners and related companies.
Energy Transfer Partners’ practices are destructive for the planet, for communities, and for the health of democracy. The company uses aggressive private security firms to intimidate opponents of its projects, while lobbying for anti-protest legislation. And in August 2017, Energy Transfer Partners sued Greenpeace offices and others for $900 million, using racketeering laws to claim that a collection of environmental groups and Indigenous allies constituted a criminal enterprise.
In addition to providing an overview of the egregious spill record of Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco, and its subsidiaries, Too Far, Too Often also exposes fines of more than $355 million since 2000 and 146 enforcement actions. The report also provides many other examples of the company’s bad corporate behavior, including:
Damaging at least 380 sacred and cultural sites along the Dakota Access Pipeline route, as reported by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Working with private security firms like TigerSwan that deployed excessive force and military style counterterrorism tactics against Water Protectors while operating without a license
Hiring TigerSwan again to suppress opposition to the Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Pennsylvania
Aggressive use of eminent domain proceedings to seize private property
The report concludes that in light of Energy Transfer Partners’ ongoing bad corporate behavior on human rights and its alarmingly poor record on pipeline spills and safety, it should raise concerns among the company’s financial backers who continue to be exposed to the reputational and financial impacts of its unacceptable practices.
To celebrate literacy and support environmental education, award-winning children’s author, Dan Gutman organized an Authors for Earth Day school visit with students at P.S. 452 in New York City. He graciously agreed to donate his $2,000 speaking fee to one of his favorite conservation organizations, as determined by a vote of students at the school.
“For the fourth year in a row, the kids voted Greenpeace to be the winner at my Authors for Earth Day visit this year,” Dan said. “The kids at P.S. 452 in New York City were terrific. They researched the five environmental organizations I gave them, made cool posters, and erupted in cheers when I announced the winner. It was a great day. We got money to a place where it will do good, and we got a lot of kids thinking about protecting our planet. That’s what it’s all about.”
During a typical school visit, Dan usually does two assemblies. One is for grades 1-2, where he focuses on “My Weird School,” a book series for beginning readers. The other assembly is for grade 3 and up, where he talks about his baseball card adventure series. Dan also does a slide show for everybody about a day in the life of an author. And sometimes, if there’s time, Dan does a fun small group writing workshop in which the kids and he write a book together in thirty minutes, and he says it’s great fun.
Thank you to Dan—and all of the students at P.S. 452—for choosing Greenpeace and generously supporting our campaigns for a green and peaceful future!
Greenpeace supporter John Tanton died in 2014. This year, he will help us stop new oil pipelines threatening water and endangered orcas and end the epidemic of plastic pollution choking our oceans and killing marine wildlife.
The struggle to save our planet will continue long after we are gone. But that doesn’t mean that our voices become silent. By leaving a legacy to Greenpeace, you can continue to be an advocate for the planet that future generations will inherit. If you would like to know more about how you can remember Greenpeace in you estate plans, please contact Corrine Barr: