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Fall 2019

The Plastic Monster

A Magazine By

Greenpeace Logo

From the Executive Director

Photo of Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Over the past few months our investigations, research, and analysis have shown clearly what our planet needs for a healthy, livable future. Greenpeace has released several new reports on our priority campaigns to protect the oceans, make the climate crisis a top 2020 U.S. presidential campaign issue, and hold corporations responsible for trashing the planet with plastic pollution.

In what is arguably the most important Greenpeace oceans report ever issued, 30×30: A Blueprint For Ocean Protection, leading scientists and researchers broke down the global oceans and mapped the distribution of hundreds of different conservation features, generating scenarios for what a planet-wide network of ocean sanctuaries, free from harmful human activity, could look like. It shows that it is entirely possible to do what science tells us we must—fully protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030—if we’re going to keep wildlife from going extinct and save the climate.

That’s the goal of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign, and the 30x30 report is helping us make the case for a strong Global Ocean Treaty with world governments in the lead-up to its finalization a year from now.

For our climate campaigns, original new Greenpeace analysis demonstrates that climate progress is impossible without confronting the fossil fuel industry. Our report, Real Climate Leadership: Why The Next President Must Prioritize A Fossil Fuel Phase Out, illustrates that if no action is taken to address the climate impacts of fossil fuel production, then a significant fraction of emissions reductions achieved by policies to reduce demand for fossil fuels could be wiped out.

For the next president and Congress, real climate leadership means not only saying yes to real solutions like a rapid transition to renewable energy with equitable ownership and participation but also saying no to the destructive impacts of fossil fuel extraction.

And for our campaign for a plastic-free future, in Packaging Away the Planet, for the first time Greenpeace ranks 20 large U.S. grocery retailers on their efforts to address the plastic pollution crisis and their contributions to it. Although some grocers have taken positive steps, none of them scored above 35 out of 100—they all have a long way to go.

Your support is what makes these reports and Greenpeace’s quality in-depth research and analysis possible alongside all of our essential work to protect oceans, defend forests, save wildlife, stabilize the climate, and put people and the planet before corporate profits. Thank you!

For a green and peaceful future,

Signature of Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Greenpeace USA

Our Mission

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.This update is intended to provide a comprehensive summary of all Greenpeace campaign activities. Please note that all donations to Greenpeace Fund, Inc. were solely used in connection with 501(c)(3) permissible activities. ISSN: 8899- 0190. Unless otherwise noted, all contents are © Greenpeace, Inc.

© Greenpeace / Geoff Reid

Roadmap for Retailers to Reduce Their Plastic Footprints

By David Pinsky

A new Greenpeace USA report, Packaging Away the Planet, ranks 20 of the largest U.S. grocery retailers for the first time on their efforts to eliminate single-use plastics. Supermarkets across the country sell obscene amounts of products in throwaway plastics every single day, and the assessment found that, across the board, U.S. grocery retailers are failing to adequately address their contributions to the plastic pollution crisis.

While some retailers have started to take small steps toward reducing their plastic footprints, none are acting with the urgency needed to match the scale of the problem, despite growing consumer demand for plastic-free solutions. Supermarkets across the country must immediately create and implement ambitious, public-facing plans to shift away from single-use plastics and toward refill and reuse systems.

Not only do these companies have the resources to reimagine their stores with refill and reuse systems, they can use their buying power to pressure consumer goods companies like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and Unilever to act as well. The question is whether retailers will take responsibility for this mess, and act.

Greenpeace evaluated retailers on their policies, plastic reduction efforts, innovation and initiatives, and transparency. ALDI scored the highest of all retailers because it has a plastic reduction target, a more comprehensive reduction plan, greater transparency, and a commitment to implement refill and reuse systems. Kroger was the only top-five retailer to commit to ban single-use plastic checkout bags and has joined Loop—a new refill and reuse initiative—but the company has not yet released a comprehensive plastics reduction plan. Albertsons scored near the top for its commitment to decrease plastic usage, but the company has not yet set an overall reduction target.

Trader Joe’s finished fourth in the ranking, as it has begun to eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging from its stores nationwide. Sprouts rounds out the top five, as the retailer is actively engaging suppliers and experts to develop a more comprehensive strategy on single-use plastics. Walmart, Hy-Vee, Target, Costco, and Wegmans finished in the top 10, but all have a long way to go toward implementing comprehensive plans to address throwaway plastics. Notably, while Whole Foods recently announced a handful of initiatives on plastics, the retailer finished in 11th place for its failure to act at the scale needed to tackle the pollution crisis.

Greenpeace’s report utilized a combination of publicly available information and survey responses to formulate the retailers’ scores. None of the supermarkets scored above 35 out of 100. This year’s report will serve as a baseline for what Greenpeace expects will be significant reforms in the near future.

It’s not enough for a retailer to eliminate plastic straws or make small changes to produce bags and walk away from this issue. Retailers must develop comprehensive public policies to eliminate single-use plastics and remain transparent with customers as they implement those plans.

Greenpeace will be following up with retailers to assess progress on plastic reduction initiatives, and report those efforts publicly.

Take action now and sign the petition demanding supermarkets reduce plastic packaging at greenpeace.org/usa/supermarketplastic!

David Pinsky

Greenpeace USA Senior Oceans Campaigner

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© Bernd Hartung / Greenpeace

The View from Inside the Plastic Monster

By B. Trewin

In a global Greenpeace action, plastic monsters came to life around the world, rising up from dirty landfills, climbing over piles of plastic trash, and even swimming up and out of seas, lakes, and rivers to make long and sometimes arduous journeys back home to their source—Nestlé.

Created by the artists at Paperhand Puppet Intervention in North Carolina, Greenpeace USA’s plastic monster was about 15 feet tall with long claw-like arms and a long train of plastic trash trailing behind it like a slimy sea slug. Its eyes moved and lit up, and its mouth gaped open and closed, spewing plastic trash into the “ocean.” It roared and its belly made gurgling sounds—a monster that couldn’t get enough plastic and was also sick from all the plastic it was eating!

I was one of the six people inside the plastic monster making the puppet come to life, along with two others outside helping navigate as we moved around in front of Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but I was holding up the back of the monster’s head with a long bamboo pole, lifting and lowering it as its mouth moved.

At a time when companies need to be focused on urgently reducing their overall plastic production, Nestlé continues to increase it, selling a billion products a day with 98% of them wrapped in single-use packaging.

Our plastic monster was really dynamic with so many moving parts, drawing attention both visually and with sounds, and interacting with people walking by. Children were especially curious about the plastic monster and were trying to figure it out. “I can see feet. There are people inside!” one little kid exclaimed.

Great art makes for compelling actions, and all over the world other plastic monsters were making their way back to Nestlé, too. An enormous dragon-like monster covered in Nestlé’s plastic trash made its way from the Netherlands to Switzerland, Nestlé’s global headquarters. A long plastic monster serpent with scales made of small single-use plastic packets was delivered to Nestlé’s headquarters in the Philippines. In Kenya, Cameroon, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Malaysia, the plastic monsters flocked home to Nestlé.

Tell Nestlé to stop polluting our planet with single-use plastics at greenpeace.org/usa/stopnestle!

B. Trewin

B. Trewin works with monthly donors on Greenpeace USA’s development team

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© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

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The Fight to Keep Peaceful Protest Legal

By Valentina Stackl

A dangerous legislative trend is popping up nationwide aimed at threatening our right to protect the planet. People like you and me are facing threats to the right to protest across the country. Lawmakers are introducing legislation often modeled on resolutions drafted by companies and passed through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive group of corporate lobbyists working to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people.

For the fossil fuel industry, the legislative trend is a direct reaction to powerful protests against oil and gas pipelines, such as the Indigenous-led protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline from Nebraska to Texas, and protests of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana.

The oil and gas industry is using its power to push elected officials to criminalize peaceful pipeline protest. Dozens of states are considering anti-protest bills, and some, like Louisiana, have already enacted laws cracking down on protesters.

But we can’t afford to wait and let corporate lobbyists silence us. We are fighting back, urging state lawmakers to vote against these bills. Just recently, we helped organize more than 50 civil rights organizations, labor unions, and grassroots groups to defeat an anti-protest bill in Illinois. Nearly 6,000 witness slips opposing the bill were submitted compared to a paltry 215 by the bill’s proponents. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Hastings, listened to our concerns and tabled the legislation.

At the federal level, Trump’s Department of Transportation released a legislative proposal that seeks to penalize activists who protest the construction of oil or gas pipelines with 20-year prison sentence. Extending such draconian penalties nationwide is shocking and far more severe than those put forth at the state level. We have to resist across the board to stop lawmakers and corporate lobbyists from silencing us.

This anti-protest legislative trend is gathering steam and is a growing threat to our constitutional rights. Our rights to free speech, assembly, and protest are fundamental freedoms and must be protected. Enough is enough. Greenpeace will continue to advocate for a free, fair, just, and healthy democracy that protects the planet and uplifts its peoples.

Learn more about these urgent issues at greenpeace.org/usa/antiprotest.

Valentina Stackl

Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist

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© Kathrin Grissemann / Greenpeace

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Broken Promises Lead to 50 million hectares … and Counting

By Diana Ruiz

We’re experiencing a climate and wildlife emergency, and the destruction of forests and other natural ecosystems by industrial agriculture is one of the main drivers. Greenpeace has campaigned for reform in the sector for decades. Years ago companies that source and produce soy, palm oil, paper and pulp, and meat made pledges to stop the destruction of forests by 2020. They have fallen short of these commitments. It’s crucial for us to stay on top of them and let them know that enough is enough.

Forests are essential to the future of the planet and all the life it sustains. They’re home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species, essential to Indigenous peoples and forest-dwelling communities, and a critical line of defense against catastrophic climate change.

That’s why at the start of 2019 Greenpeace International turned up the volume and asked companies to disclose where they buy their soy, palm oil, meat, and other high risk industrially produced commodities. Only a handful were able to tell us who they buy from, and no one was able to disclose all the way to the point of harvest, plantation, or farm. Not a single company—among the 50 that Greenpeace International contacted—could demonstrate meaningful efforts to end their links to forest destruction.

Greenpeace International analysis also found that at least 50 million hectares of forest—an area equal to the size of Spain—is likely to be destroyed worldwide for the production of these commodities by the end of this year.

Here is the problem—the world’s leading scientists say that protecting and restoring forests is essential to avoid ecological and climate breakdown. This past May, UN scientists reported that one million species are at risk of extinction, and forests are a critical habitat for so many species. We also know the Earth’s temperature has continued to rise in the last decade.

Big companies have less than 150 days to make good on 2020 commitments to put an end to deforestation. A Greenpeace International report, Countdown to Extinction, shows that despite setting this deadline—set almost 10 years ago—they are all failing to meet it.

The inescapable reality is that once you start to degrade an ecosystem, life-giving functions begin to unravel and no technology will be able to bring back the equilibrium once it is lost. We are now living in a climate and ecological crisis.

Our food systems cause 80% of global deforestation and release emissions equal to Japan, Germany, and the UK combined. Stopping forest destruction and restoring the world’s forests is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to restrain a climate breakdown.

In June, hundreds of executives who made promises to end deforestation came together again at the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) for a week-long conference in Vancouver, Canada. Tackling deforestation was not even on their agenda.

Activists from Greenpeace Canada welcomed delegates to the “Forest Destroyer” global summit, reminding them that their prolonged inaction is “failing forests and causing climate change.” Moments later, inside the venue, activists sent another message reinforcing what was not on the Forum’s agenda.

One of the volunteer climbers, Melanie Dupis, said, “We’re living in a climate and ecological emergency and these companies have a choice: evolve their business or start winding down. Our children and the climate can’t wait for another decade of fine words and no action. It’s time to make big changes.”

Following the CGF’s statement in response to Greenpeace International’s report, Countdown to Extinction, we shared our opinions in Ethical Corporation. Our timely follow-up incited a reaction from the environmental sustainability director for the Consumer Goods Forum, claiming that “the global consumer industry purchases only a small fraction of the commodities that are grown in tropical forests.”

We question their misleading statement because Unilever is the largest buyer of palm oil, followed by Nestlé and Mondelēz. And many of these same companies are big market players in cocoa and are members of the Consumer Goods Forum, including Cargill, Nestlé, Mondelēz, and Mars. Cocoa is a major driver of deforestation in Africa. The worldwide production for cocoa during 2017-2018 was 4.6 million metric tons—and those four companies represent an estimated half of the world’s cocoa sourcing and processing.

The issue is not the amount of a commodity that is purchased, but the rainforest loss to produce it. So as long as these high-risk commodities remain in the portfolios of multi-billion-dollar companies, they have a responsibility to get it right and know where their raw materials are coming from.

As consumers we have choices and we have the power to demand change before it’s too late.

Raise your voice and tell companies: change “business as usual” or go extinct at
greenpeace.org/usa/restorehope.

Diana Ruiz

Greenpeace USA Senior Palm Oil Campaigner

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© Bjorn Vaugn / BOSF / Greenpeace

Deep Sea Mining Threatens Ecologically Sensitive “Lost City”

By John Hocevar

We know more about the surface of Mars and the moon than about the deep ocean.

From underwater mountains providing oases for sea creatures, to towering spires resembling sunken cities, the deep ocean is full of mysteries. As the largest habitable space on Earth, the deep ocean is home to ancient coral reefs sustaining the oldest known lifeforms, trenches deep enough to hold Mount Everest, and mysterious animals that can live for hundreds of years. Scientists discover new species on practically every voyage down to the depths.

Yet this unique living world that we barely understand is under threat from the nascent deep sea mining industry. As revealed in our new report, In Deep Water, deep sea mining will mean inevitable, severe, and irreversible environmental damage to our oceans and marine life.

One of the most iconic battlegrounds for the developing deep sea mining industry is the Lost City Hydrothermal Field located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Discovered in 2000, the Lost City has elicited much excitement in the scientific community as the extreme conditions that characterize this hydrothermal vent field have never been seen before in the marine environment. Named for its spectacular array of actively venting, chalky chimneys that resemble an abandoned metropolis, as well as the Atlantis research vessel that discovered it, the Lost City is packed with unusual life forms.

The Lost City features rare “white smokers,” the result of sea water reacting with magnesium-rich mantle rock that is 1.5 million years old. The reaction releases heat and dissolves some of the minerals in the rock to form hot, alkaline water which can reach 90° C and pH 9-10.8. This rises from fractures in the sea floor and is visible as white plumes. When this hot water, rich in calcium, methane, and hydrogen, mixes with cooler sea water, it results in carbonate precipitation and the growth of tall chimneys, graceful pinnacles, fragile flanges, and beehive-shaped deposits.

Lost City structures provide multiple pores, cracks, and crevices for small creatures to make their home, though many have transparent or translucent shells making them difficult to see with a remotely operated vehicle.

Due to its rarity and importance, the Lost City has been recognized by the international community as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and UNESCO recognized its outstanding universal value when identifying potential World Heritage Sites in the high seas.

Yet in February 2018, the agency responsible for regulating deep sea mining, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), issued the Polish government an exploration license in a 10,000 square kilometer area that includes the Lost City and overlaps with the EBSA.

Scientists have warned that any mining risks destroying this unique ecosystem before it is properly understood. Some have suggested that the precautionary approach be applied so the environment is protected where there is scientific uncertainty and all active vents protected from both direct and indirect mining impacts on account of their vulnerability, their individual and potentially equal importance, as well as their outstanding cultural and scientific value to all humanity.

During the most ambitious expedition in Greenpeace’s history, the Esperanza’s “Pole to Pole” ship tour from the Arctic to the Antarctic via the Atlantic Ocean, we visited the Lost City with the scientist who discovered this extraordinary ecosystem. From there, we brought the ship to a previously unscheduled stop to visit the International Seabed Authority meeting in Jamaica to discuss the future of deep sea mining. We were not shy in calling for protection over exploitation, and precaution over reckless greed.

If mining is allowed to begin, industrial-scale mining machines will enter our oceans and destroy unique underwater worlds—affecting not just the weird and wonderful creatures living in the depths, but also putting the ocean creatures swimming across our global oceans at risk. By impacting natural processes that store carbon, deep sea mining could even make climate change worse.

Over the next 12 months, governments have an opportunity to put protection at the heart of ocean governance, through a new Global Ocean Treaty. Currently under negotiation at the UN, this new treaty could enable the creation of a global network of ocean sanctuaries—putting vast areas of international waters off-limits to extractive industries—and set gold standards for assessing the environmental impact of extractive activities to prevent the wholesale plunder of the global oceans. A strong Global Ocean Treaty can help protect the hidden treasures of the deep sea from reckless exploitation.

But the ISA is advocating for a weaker Global Ocean Treaty, one that would be less able to overcome the fragmented ocean governance that is driving marine life to the brink. The risks of deep sea mining and serious flaws in the industry’s regulation expose the inadequacy of the current governance of the ocean, and provide a compelling rationale for why governments must agree on a strong Global Ocean Treaty in 2020 to protect the oceans for future generations.

In a groundbreaking study by leading marine biologists, Greenpeace has mapped out how to protect over a third of the world’s oceans by 2030, a target that scientists say is crucial in order to safeguard wildlife and help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Add your name to the petition calling for a strong Global Ocean Treaty at greenpeace.org/usa/oceantreaty.

John Hocevar

Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director

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© Kajsa Sjölander / Greenpeace

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We Need Real Climate Leadership

By Tim Donaghy, PhD

Greenpeace USA’s new report, Real Climate Leadership: Why the Next President Must Prioritize a Fossil Fuel Phase Out, warns that the United States must pair new investments in renewable energy with a responsible phase-out of oil, gas, and coal production in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Original analysis shows that the United States could run on 100 percent renewable energy and still export enough oil to undermine global progress on cutting carbon emissions if the country does not reduce domestic production.

It should be obvious that we can’t fight climate change and expand fossil fuel use at the same time, but still too many politicians are buying into fossil fuel executives’ myth that we need oil, gas, and coal to survive. The exact opposite is true, and right now we need leaders who have the mettle to stand up to the industry at the center of the climate crisis and reclaim our democracy and economy. The science demands our next president initiate nothing short of a full-scale mobilization to phase out fossil fuels and kickstart the renewable energy economy.

If the United States is successful in reducing its own oil consumption but continues to expand oil production, the surplus oil will be exported and burned overseas. Because of this, investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure jeopardizes Paris climate targets at home and abroad, setting the stage for climate crisis. This threat remains even as renewable energy scales up globally.

The report details policies the next president and Congress should pursue to phase out fossil fuels and pave the way towards a renewable energy economy, including:

  • Ending federal fossil fuel leasing, currently responsible for one-quarter of U.S. carbon emissions, via executive action on day one in office.
  • Fully accounting for the costs of climate change in federal permitting and decision-making.
  • Ending subsidies and finance for fossil fuel production, which currently sits at $20 billion per year.
  • Restoring the crude oil export ban and expanding it to other fossil fuels.
  • Engaging with workers and communities to ensure a just transition, including job creation and training, strong labor protections, and targeted investments in impacted communities.

Decades of failed leadership and climate denial have brought us to this moment of crisis. Words are no longer an adequate response—we must have rapid and ambitious action from our elected leaders.

Read the report at greenpeace.org/usa/reports/fossil-fuel-phaseout.

Tim Donaghy, PhD

Greenpeace USA Senior Research Specialist

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© Michael Short / Greenpeace

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Victories for Our Oceans, Coastal Communities, Climate, and Wildlife

Historic International Agreement Reached on Plastic Dumping—The Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention agreed that mixed, unrecyclable, and contaminated plastic waste exports will now require the consent of importing countries before waste exports can proceed. It’s a major first step to stem the tide of plastic trash now flowing from wealthy nations to developing countries in the name of “recycling.” The move was hailed by the vast majority of the 187 nations present as well as by civil society groups in attendance, including Greenpeace, as a breakthrough for environmental justice and an ethical circular economy.

Tech Titans Demand Clean Energy—Following the release of Greenpeace’s Clicking Clean Virginia report documenting the dirty energy powering “Data Center Alley” in Northern Virginia, cloud computing and internet giants sent a joint letter demanding Dominion Energy invest in renewable energy. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and other tech giants have now clearly and publicly rejected Dominion’s plan to meet their energy needs with fracked gas through the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. These tech companies and their customers are demanding the utility focus instead on renewable energy solutions. This pipeline has been rejected by the public, the courts, and now the very customers Dominion claimed it was for.

New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling Sidelined—The Department of the Interior announced it has indefinitely sidelined plans to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas. Trump wanted to open nearly every coast in the country for offshore drilling, a plan wildly unpopular with voters from California to Maine. The decision comes in the wake of a pivotal federal court ruling that struck down a Trump executive order reversing an Obama-era ban on drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, and select deep sea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.

Orcas and Belugas Freed From “Whale Jail”—Following the international outcry Greenpeace Russia triggered when exposing the torturous conditions that nearly 100 captured whales were being held in, and the ensuing global campaign for their release, the Orcas and Belugas are being returned to the wild. They are being transported in groups back to their natural habitat in the Sea of Okhotsk where they were caught by four companies that planned to sell them to Chinese aquatic theme parks. Seventy specialists, including veterinary doctors and scientists, are monitoring the whales’ release. And the companies that illegally captured the whales are facing steep fines and possible criminal charges.

Stay up-to-date on all Greenpeace news at greenpeace.org.

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© Micha Patault / Greenpeace

Greenpeace’s 12-Day Standoff with Oil Giant BP

In early June a team of Greenpeace UK activists began what became an epic face-off with a 27,000-ton Transocean oil rig that the oil giant BP hired to drill for more oil in the North Sea—30 million additional barrels of it. Here’s how Greenpeace UK’s action to stop it played out:

Day 1In the evening as the oil rig prepares to leave Scotland’s Cromarty Firth, Greenpeace climbers scale it, stopping it in its tracks, and hang a banner displaying the only two words needed to describe the madness of drilling for more oil—Climate Emergency.

Day 2Two activists, Fran and Jo, remain on a platform on a leg of the rig, below the main deck. Pete and Tom swap in that evening and have provisions to stay in place for days.

Day 3Greenpeace UK is served an interdict—the Scottish law equivalent of an injunction—in an effort to prevent the continuing rig occupation. Rig workers attempt to lower the injunction to the two activists via a bucket and rope.

Day 4The oil rig remains occupied and unable to move.

Day 5Scottish police start attempts to remove the activists. Ever resourceful, one activist attaches to the anchor chain. By evening, police boats and climbers manage to remove both.

Day 6At 4 a.m. a fresh team of Greenpeace UK climbers re-board the BP oil rig, just hours after police declared the occupation over. This pair of activists, Meena and Andrew, occupy the rig all day, but by the evening the police have removed them. Shortly afterwards, the Transocean rig is towed out of the Cromarty Firth on its way to the intended drilling site.

Day 7Injunctions are in place against Greenpeace ships. Defiantly, the Arctic Sunrise is on course to Scotland, racing northward up the east coast of the UK, trying to catch up with the oil rig. A climbing team from Greenpeace Germany is on board. Across the UK solidarity protests with “Climate Emergency” banners start happening outside BP gas stations.

Day 8The Arctic Sunrise catches up with the oil rig in the North Sea. In an unexpected twist, the rig performs a U-turn and starts heading back to Scotland’s coast.

Day 9 and 10Just a few miles from the drilling site and having travelled more than 500 nautical miles back and forth, Greenpeace activists force the third U-turn and the rig is now heading back towards the shore. Two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) are deployed from the Arctic Sunrise with activists on board holding banners reading “Climate Emergency” as our action blocks BP’s operation for the 10th day in a row.

Day 11An experienced Greenpeace International swimmer takes to the sea from the Arctic Sunrise, putting herself between the drill site and the rig, trying to prevent it from anchoring. The Arctic Sunrise remains in the vicinity of the rig, which reaches its destination, bearing witness to BP’s contribution to the climate emergency.

Day 12The standoff between Greenpeace and BP is brought to a close with a series of coordinated protests targeting the company in Europe and the U.S.
Day after day, Greenpeace used every possible peaceful means to stop BP drilling for more oil that we can’t afford to burn. Each day we held off BP is a day we prevented them further fueling the climate emergency.

Learn more at greenpeace.org/usa/BPstandoff.

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© Greenpeace

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Great Fall Reads

Emperors of the Deep: Sharks—The Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians by William McKeever

In this remarkable groundbreaking book, a documentarian and conservationist, determined to dispel misplaced fear and correct common misconceptions, explores in-depth the secret lives of sharks—magnificent creatures who play an integral part in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans and ultimately the planet.

From the Jaws blockbusters to Shark Week, we are conditioned to see sharks as terrifying cold-blooded underwater predators. But as William McKeever reveals, sharks are evolutionary marvels essential to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. We can learn much from sharks, he argues, and our knowledge about them continues to grow. The first book to reveal in full the hidden lives of sharks, Emperors of the Deep examines four species—Mako, Tiger, Hammerhead, and Great White—as never before.

McKeever goes back through time to probe the shark’s prehistoric secrets and how it has become the world’s most feared and most misunderstood predator, and takes us on a pulse-pounding tour around the world and deep under the water’s surface, from the frigid waters of the Arctic Circle to the coral reefs of the tropical Central Pacific, to see sharks up close in their natural habitat. He also interviews ecologists, conservationists, and world-renowned shark experts, including the crew of the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, the head of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, and the self-professed “last great shark hunter.”

William McKeever is on a mission to end shark hunting tournaments. He said the impetus to write Emperors of the Deep was seeing one in Montauk, New York, a few years ago. The competitive slaughter of sharks for sport and cash prizes was so upsetting that he decided to do something about it. The more McKeever learned about sharks and the more amazing discoveries he made, the more he wanted to share it with the world.

William McKeever wants people to know that sharks have so many great qualities and should be revered and respected, not feared. Like his personal favorite, the striped Tiger sharks, that are big and strong guardians of seagrasses, patrolling to make anyone coming to graze think twice about chomping away all day long. He said Tiger sharks are really smart, like having their noses rubbed, and will sneak up on divers in a playful way.

“Sharks taught me how life is interconnected, not only in the ocean, but in all ecosystems,” McKeever said. “I have to thank the sharks.”

Emperors of the Deep is a must-read for anyone in love with our oceans and concerned with averting the looming ecological destruction of our planet. McKeever brings to light the importance of sharks and their role as ancient guardians of the seas.”—John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director

The Outlaw Ocean, Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina

Featuring two chapters about Greenpeace, The Outlaw Ocean is praised as a riveting, adrenaline-fueled tour of a vast, lawless, and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas. There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world’s oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation.

Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways—drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil, and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching.—Penguin Random House

A new Greenpeace report, Sharks Under Attack reveals that thousands of endangered sharks are slaughtered by over fishing

Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK, was on board a research vessel off the coast of Antarctica recently when his team found the first documented pieces of plastic in this seemingly pristine and remote region. This inspired him to write How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time, which was published by Penguin Books this July. In it, McCallum has produced a straightforward, practical guide to cutting plastic out of your life. You’ve read about Greenpeace’s efforts to fight plastic pollution in our cover story, so pick up a copy of How to Give up Plastic to learn more about what you can do personally to help.

Find these exciting titles at your local bookstore, and read Sharks Under Attack at greenpeace.org/usa/sharksunderattack.

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© Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Why We Need a Climate Debate

By Kaitlin Grable

With the 2020 presidential debate season officially underway, here are the reasons why we need a climate debate.

  1. The media still isn’t addressing climate change in a way that matches the urgency of the problem.
    Holding a climate-focused debate will ensure that the climate crisis is treated as a serious issue to address, not an opinion to be questioned. It would push the candidates to specifically address how they will tackle one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime and give us all the ability to make an informed choice on who will lead us into an era of bold climate action that is accountable to communities.
  2. We need bold, visionary leaders to take the White House in 2020.
    We all deserve to know whether each candidate has a well-thought-out plan for the climate crisis and will go toe-to-toe with the oil and gas industry. A climate-focused debate could reveal who supports the Green New Deal and who doesn’t, how the candidates will stop the fossil fuel industry’s influence on our democracy, who will push our economy to be powered by 100% renewable energy, how candidates will support communities affected by climate disasters, and who will make a responsible plan to phase out fossil fuels while protecting workers.
  3. Communities across the country are being badly hurt by the effects of climate change.
    If we don’t shift the way we produce energy in this country, the people who have contributed the least to the climate crisis will continue to suffer the most from devastating extreme weather events and environmental pollution. We need to know who will move to a 100% renewable energy economy and hold corporate polluters accountable for the damage they’ve caused.
  4. We only have a decade to take drastic action on climate change.
    We deserve to see who is going to claim the mantle of climate leadership, and the best way to do that is for the candidates to debate their plans face-to-face on the debate stage. Scientists tell us we have until 2030 to cut carbon pollution in half to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Every day we allow to pass without taking action is one day we come closer to an irreversible ecological tipping point.

Our future rests on the shoulders of whoever we elect as the next president.

Reach out to the 2020 presidential candidates today and urge them to demand a debate at greenpeace.org/usa/time-climate-debate!

Kaitlin Grable

Greenpeace USA Social Media Associate

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