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Summer 2019

A Win for Free Speech and You

A Magazine By

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From the Executive Director

Photo of Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Corporate attempts to censor, intimidate, and silence us with abusive legal tactics did not succeed. We were vindicated in court in both of the baseless multi-million-dollar lawsuits filed against Greenpeace and others by two different powerful corporations. In both cases the corporate attempt to criminalize advocacy work with racketeering claims (RICO) failed resoundingly.

Corporations looking to file meritless lawsuits to intimidate their critics and silence dissent will now be met by a strong legal precedent on the books. Judges didn’t tolerate these abusive legal tactics and that is not only a huge victory for Greenpeace, it’s also a victory for every other advocacy organization and civil society at large.

We are on the right side of history and Greenpeace will continue to fight for the ability of all people to advocate for a green and peaceful future. And this year, our oceans are a big focus.

Greenpeace’s most ambitious expedition in our history is underway, a ten-month ship tour sailing from pole to pole to build the case for creating a network of marine sanctuaries as the United Nations negotiates a Global Ocean Treaty. The Esperanza is highlighting the beauty and importance of what we stand to lose without strong protections on the high seas.

We are using this expedition to build an unprecedented bank of documentary evidence about the state of our oceans. Along the way, we’ll collaborate on research projects with scientists and share our findings widely. We’ll strengthen the case for creating ocean sanctuaries and galvanize millions of people around the world to take action in support of progressive global legislation.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure a massive victory for the future of our oceans and marine wildlife, and Greenpeace is going all-in. We are excited about this historic expedition and the discoveries we will make, and I hope you are as well.

Every ship in our Greenpeace fleet, every expedition, and every journey we lead is possible because of your generous support. Thank you for helping us create a better world!

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.

© Will Rose / Greenpeace

We Will Not Be Silenced

By Amy Moas

Three years ago, one of the largest logging companies in Canada, Resolute Forest Products, sued Greenpeace USA and others, including myself personally, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the law designed to end organized crime. It was an attempt to silence our campaign to raise awareness of Resolute’s destructive logging practices.

Judge Jon Tigar in the U.S. District Court in Northern California dismissed the RICO charges on January 22, 2019. He also applied California’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute and ordered the logging giant to pay a portion of our legal fees.

An incredibly narrow defamation case will continue against Greenpeace, Inc and three staff members, but we believe we will prevail because we rely on the best available science. And Resolute’s lawsuit against Greenpeace Canada is still pending more than five years after being filed. Resolute’s abusive legal tactics won’t pay off, no matter where or how often they are filed. Forest defenders are not intimidated, and we will not stop working to protect the Boreal forest and the people and wildlife who depend on it.

Judge Tigar’s decision was a big victory for forest defenders, validating the role of Greenpeace and all of our supporters who are willing to speak out for a green and peaceful future. It was a clear victory for free speech and a defeat for a huge corporation attempting to criminalize everyday acts of advocacy work.

Energy Transfer also tried—and failed. The corporation behind the Dakota Access Pipeline followed in Resolute’s footsteps, hiring the logging company’s lawyers and suing Greenpeace USA and others in an outrageous and racist $900 million Anti-SLAPP statute alleging that we engaged in racketeering and defamation.

Just as Resolute’s corporate bullying failed, so has Energy Transfer’s. The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a landmark dismissal of all of Energy Transfer’s claims against Greenpeace and others on February 14, 2019.

MalletDistrict Judge Billy Roy Wilson wrote in his order dismissing Energy Transfer’s case that, “Posting articles written by people with similar beliefs does not create a RICO enterprise,” and that, “Donating to people whose cause you support does not create a RICO enterprise.”

Justice has been served with these decisions. They are huge victories not just for Greenpeace but for anyone and everyone who has ever stood up against powerful corporate interests. They send a clear message to companies trying to muzzle civil society that corporate overreach will not be tolerated. They are also a check on corporate efforts to silence dissent.

We must and will continue to hold Energy Transfer accountable for its corporate behavior on current risky pipeline projects like Bayou Bridge, where the company is continuing to use private security to intimidate protestors and has aggressively used eminent domain laws to secure land.

Energy Transfer re-filed some non-racketeering claims in state court and we are vigorously fighting those claims. Resolute, Energy Transfer, and other corporations abusing the legal system in their quest to bully those who speak truth to power will not prevail. Greenpeace will continue to fight for the ability of all people to advocate for human rights and the planet.

Learn more at greenpeace.org/usa/forestvictory

Amy Moas

Greenpeace USA Senior Forest Campaigner

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© Julie Dermansky / Greenpeace

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Trump Calls Open Season on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By Tim Donaghy

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is now facing one of the greatest threats in decades. The Trump Administration is opening up as much as 1.6 million acres of this American wilderness treasure to oil and gas drillers. A company called SAExploration and its 90,000-pound “thumper trucks” are poised to seek out and test for oil in pristine wilderness and wreak havoc in delicate ecosystems. The company missed its window to do testing during this winter season, but the threat has only been postponed, not removed.

Renowned for its wildlife, including polar bears, caribou herds, moose, and mountain sheep, the inhabitants of the refuge and the tundra itself could be devastated. Drilling in the coastal plain puts the future of the Porcupine Caribou Herd at particular risk, as they rely almost exclusively on the thin band of land along the coast to birth and nurse their young.

Members of the Gwich’in Nation have relied on the refuge for survival for thousands of years, making their home on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and depending on the animals for their subsistence way of living.

“It is our belief that the future of the Gwich’in and the future of the Caribou are the same. Harm to the Porcupine Caribou Herd is harm to the Gwich’in culture and millennia-old way of life.” –Jonathon Solomon, Gwich’in elder

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge cannot withstand the impact of seismic testing and drilling, especially as climate change is already drastically altering the area. The Arctic is experiencing the impacts of a rapidly changing climate—the region is warming faster than the rest of the world, and the sea-ice is melting with devastating consequences for the communities to whom this land is sacred and wildlife that live there.

 

Tim Donaghy

Greenpeace USA Senior Research Specialist

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© Bernd Roemmelt / Greenpeace

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Progress for a Green and Peaceful Future

PipelineAnother Setback for Tar Sands Pipelines—After strong pressure from the people-powered movement to stop the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline, the new governor of Minnesota is appealing state utility regulators’ approval of permits for the risky new pipeline project. A few weeks later, Enbridge, the Canadian company behind the pipeline, announced that it will not complete the project this year as it had previously promised its investors. Along with Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Trans Mountain, these dirty pipelines are being stopped or delayed by the powerful movement fighting for Indigenous rights, clean water and a safe climate, and our shared environment.

StyrafoamTrader Joe’s Takes Action on Plastic—In response to Greenpeace’s active campaigning and customer pressure to phase out single-use plastics, the retailer has committed to stop offering single-use carryout bags nationwide, replace its produce bags with biodegradable and compostable options, replace Styrofoam trays used in produce packaging, and sell more loose produce rather than wrapping it in plastic

PlasticsBerkeley Sets a Nationwide Standard—The City of Berkeley in California passed the nation’s most ambitious, comprehensive plastic ordinance, creating a model that other cities and states should look toward in shaping their own efforts to phase out single-use plastics. Acting with the urgency needed to confront the throwaway culture that fuels overconsumption, Berkeley has taken a major step with a blueprint for creating a world without disposable plastics.

Tree StumpCalifornia Introduces Assembly Bill (AB 572) to Protect Tropical Forests—Early this year the California state legislature announced the introduction of the first ever Deforestation-Free Procurement Act. If passed this bill would require all suppliers to hold and adhere to a No deforestation, No peat, No exploitation (NDPE) policy. The bill covers all state contracts that involve forest-risk commodities, such as palm oil, soy, rubber, paper/pulp, and timber. Norway and France are the only two countries that have recently passed similar policies. California would be the first state in the U.S.to initiate such a requirement. This effort was sparked by Greenpeace’s intensive global palm oil campaign that called on the largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, to take a massive step to map and monitor all of its suppliers.

Read more about these and other victories for the earth at greenpeace.org/usa/stories-victories

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© Bernd Lauter / Greenpeace

Colluding With Corporate Polluters

By Rolf Skar

The Trump Administration is rife not only with high-profile climate deniers but also corporate polluters and industry lobbyists who are pushing policies that are actively taking a sledge hammer to environmental protections.

  • Willfully ignoring the lessons of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, Trump’s Interior Department has given oil drillers nearly 1,700 waivers to bypass safety rules. Most of the waivers let oil companies get around the stricter measures for blowout preventers, the equipment that failed to seal off BP’s well and resulted in more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dragging its feet on setting a limit on the amount of toxic chemicals allowed in our drinking water. The administration is leaving millions of Americans exposed to harmful chemicals by choosing a drawn-out process for setting an enforceable limit. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, immune problems, and other ailments, and court documents show that their manufacturers have known of the chemicals’ harms for decades. The EPA deputy in charge of research determining how the government regulates toxic chemicals in our drinking water is a former Koch Industries official—a prime example of Trump putting corporate polluters in charge and instituting pro-pollution policies for corporate profit regardless of the cost to public health and safety.
  • The coal industry spent millions of dollars working to undo Obama-era air pollution rules, and now its top lobbyist is the EPA administrator in charge of climate change, smog, and power plants’ mercury pollution. At the request of one of his major donors who is the CEO of a coal mining company, Trump urged that one of the aging coal power plants the donor supplies not be closed. The administration has also rolled back numerous environmental rules at his behest.
  • Trump has prioritized drilling, mining, and development of our national monuments with no regard for the massive damage it may cause. Our irreplaceable wildlands and American treasures have been handed over for corporate exploitation, our public lands sold off for private profits. In the biggest single rollback of land protections in U.S. history, Trump illegally stripped two million acres from Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.
  • Trump is opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, auctioning off millions of acres of our public lands for fossil fuel expansion, and pushing for offshore oil drilling in nearly all U.S. waters. And in a gift to the timber industry, Trump issued an executive order that expands logging on our public lands. It would translate into a 31 percent increase in forest service logging since 2017.

Our air, water, communities, and climate are under siege in this administration overrun with corporate polluters, but our resistance is undaunted. Greenpeace’s campaigning for a better future for our oceans, forests, and all of the environment is ever more energized and determined to obstruct, delay, and derail this administration’s disastrous plans.

Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt is a prime example of the corporate polluters and industry lobbyists filling the Trump Administration’s swamp. His fossil fuel lobbying conflicts of interest that would deny him consideration in any other administration are considered his highest credentials for this one. That is why all the Swamp Monsters came out for his recent hearing on Capitol Hill, to call out one of their own.

Rolf Skar

Greenpeace USA Forests Campaign Director

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© Marc Serota / Greenpeace

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Greenpeace’s “Pole to Pole” Expedition. Sailing the World for a Strong Global Oceans Treaty

By John Hocevar

We have just one year to secure a strong Global Ocean Treaty and the Esperanza is sailing from the Arctic to Antarctica to build enough support that we come out of these negotiations with an agreement that will not just protect but begin to restore the health of our oceans.

Along the way the ship’s crew and Greenpeace teams ashore will highlight ocean threats. In the Arctic we’re drawing attention to the impacts of climate change on our oceans and the issues exposed by the rapid ice melt, taking scientists to study this quickly changing environment.

From there the Esperanza is sailing to Iceland to lead public and political engagement events. Currently Iceland is one of the most problematic voices in the UN ocean negotiations, thanks to ingrained political influence from their fishing industry. But we see the recent election of an otherwise progressive government as an opportunity to change this position, and to build support for a conservation-led agreement.

Deep sea mining will be in the spotlight in the Lost City in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the world’s most important areas of scientific interest thought to be the possible source of life on Earth, the Lost City is a massive hydrothermal vent on the sea floor surrounded by a unique deep sea ecosystem that exists independent of the sun’s energy. Its importance was recognized when it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, this has not stopped the International Seabed Authority licensing the whole area for deep sea mining, something which would result in mass extinctions. Greenpeace will shine a light on this hypocrisy and mismanagement, while also pressing for a moratorium on deep sea mining.

In the Sargasso Sea we’ll explore the wonders of nature and highlight unique high seas biodiversity and what we stand to lose without proper ocean protection, with a focus on juvenile sea turtles. We will also document the extent and impact of plastic pollution in this sea, now sometimes referred to as the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, a massive vortex of floating debris estimated to be hundreds of miles across in size.

Along the Amazon Reef we’ll continue the study of the huge part of the Amazon Reef in northern Brazil and French Guiana that we discovered during previous Greenpeace expeditions. And we’ll build on the incredible work done by Greenpeace Amazon Reef Defenders worldwide who made history last year with the Brazilian government’s decision to deny the fossil fuel giant, Total, the license to drill for oil.

At Mount Vema and Cape Town our focus will be on seamount life and fisheries in addition to plastics, with fisheries again highlighted in the South Atlantic before sailing to Antarctica to round out this extraordinary “Pole to Pole” expedition. We’ll continue to build support for the creation of new Antarctic Ocean Sanctuaries. By the time we return, the industry agreement we secured from krill fishing fleets last year will be in force, and we will track and monitor whether any ships are breaking the terms of the agreement by fishing in important wildlife areas.

We will return to New York for the final round of UN negotiations, where we will escalate global pressure on decision-makers to do the right thing for our oceans and create a worldwide network of marine sanctuaries that will ensure healthy oceans full of life and able to help the planet maintain a stable, livable climate.

We want this ship tour be a globally engaging expedition that captivates people everywhere. We’re going to show the world Greenpeace at its bravest and most inspiring: scuba divers a hundred meters below the surface, bold activists challenging illegal fishing hundreds of miles off shore, and shining a global spotlight on the very frontiers of climate change at Earth’s poles.

This is our most ambitious global expedition since Greenpeace’s founding voyage in 1971 and our once-in-a-generation chance to protect vast oceans that lie beyond national borders. The stakes are high, but so are our spirits!

Follow the Esperanza on this exciting “Pole to Pole” ship tour at greenpeace.org/usa/pole-pole

John Hocevar

Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director

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© Blair Miltenberger / Greenpeace

The Green New Deal

By Janet Redman

Earlier this year Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) released a resolution for a Green New Deal that is inspiring, bold, and transformative. It is moving the national climate debate to places no one thought possible even a year ago.

We stand behind the effort to create millions of family-sustaining union jobs that protect our nation’s clean air, water, and communities while confronting systemic injustices head-on.

The fossil fuel industry will not transition willingly and on its own to life-sustaining, renewable practices, because it is determined to trash our planet for its profit no matter the cost. We must make every effort to phase out fossil fuels at the same time as we promote renewable energy if we’re going to make it.

In his State of the Union address Trump bragged about an all-time high in oil and gas production—willfully ignoring the global climate crisis and the inequality it exacerbates here in America. This kind of climate denial is exactly why a Green New Deal must include a just and managed phase-out of oil, gas, and coal, starting in the most overburdened communities.

Now is the best time to be bold and confront the industry at the dead center of the climate crisis and most in need of a managed transition. A hard stop on new fossil fuel expansion is the only way to get us to a future in which the most vulnerable are protected and global temperatures stop rising.

Leaders like Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez have helped change the political debate on climate change this year and opened new avenues to ambitious climate leadership from policy makers. But we have to continue radical encouragement of leaders at all levels of government to get us where we actually need to be if we’re serious about staving off the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Greenpeace is working to redefine what climate leadership means in the run-up to the 2020 elections. We’re making it a campaign issue for all candidates by capturing the zeitgeist and setting a new high bar on climate action.

The decades of congressional punting on global warming never changed the fact that the climate crisis is here, it is already impacting our lives, and it will only get worse. Heart-wrenching evidence emerges almost daily of the urgent need for climate solutions that meet the scale of
the crisis. Devastating fires in California, unstoppable hurricanes on our coasts, and historic flooding in the South are forever changing the lives of people across this country.

Now is this country’s best chance to break free of climate half-measures and adopt strong policies that will actually save lives. We need our leaders to say yes to a Green New Deal and no to fossil fuels. It’s time to fight like our survival depends on it—because it does.

Sign the petition and tell Congress to push for a Green New Deal by visiting greenpeace.org/usa/greennewdeal

Janet Redman

Greenpeace USA ClimateCampaign Director

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© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

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Clicking Clean Virginia: The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley

By Elizabeth Jardim

Have you ever wondered where Alexa, Siri, and other internet based tools live? While Silicon Valley might come to mind, chances are good that your searches and queries are being routed via “Data Center Alley.” Up to seventy percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through data centers housed in a single county in Virginia, earning Northern Virginia the nickname “Data Center Alley” and its spot as the largest data center hub in the world. Unfortunately, dirty energy still powers most of that traffic.

A new Greenpeace report, Clicking Clean Virginia—The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley, found that despite high profile commitments to power its data centers with 100 percent renewable energy, the expansion of Amazon Web Services and other cloud computing giants in Virginia’s “Data Center Alley” is further fueling climate change with new demand for dirty energy.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, has located the majority of its data centers in Virginia, making it one of the largest electricity customers in the state. Yet despite its commitment to be 100% renewably powered, we found evidence of a dramatic expansion in Virginia over the past two years without any additional supply of renewable energy, indicating AWS appears to have abandoned its commitment to renewable energy.

Even before Amazon announced Northern Virginia would be its HQ2, the company was already one of the largest electricity customers in the state. Without intervention from data center operators in Virginia like Amazon, the internet will continue to drive carbon emissions with every click, swipe, and share. Greenpeace is urging Jeff Bezos to think beyond profit and accept responsibility for Amazon’s impact on the global climate.

Other leading internet giants have made progress transitioning to renewables, even in places like Virginia, which currently only has 4% renewable electricity on its grid. Of the data center operators evaluated in Clicking Clean Virginia, Facebook has achieved 37 percent renewable in Virginia, Microsoft 34 percent, while Google and Digital Realty are at 4 percent renewable. Apple and Salesforce do not own data centers in Virginia but have offset 100 percent and 44 percent of their colocation leases with renewables, respectively. Amazon’s data centers in Virginia are powered by only 12 percent renewable energy.

Dominion Energy, the local utility for “Data Center Alley,” is using the rapid data center growth in Virginia from Amazon and other tech giants as an excuse to build more fossil fuel infrastructure like the $7 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Key analysis of the report includes:

  • Electricity demand from data centers in Virginia continues to grow at a dramatic rate, with the total power demand of existing data centers and those under development approaching 4.5 gigawatts, or roughly the same power output as nine large (500-megawatt) coal power plants.
  • Amazon Web Services has 1.7 gigawatts of power demand across 55 Virginia data centers operating or under construction, representing an increase of nearly 60 percent in the past two years alone. The energy required to power all of Amazon’s Virginia data centers at full capacity 24/7 for a year is equivalent to the electricity required to power 1.4 million U.S. homes annually, more than all the homes in Chicago.
  • The collective capacity of other Virginia data centers is also driving demand for fossil fuels. Facebook, Microsoft, and Google all operate or are building their own data centers in the Commonwealth and have not matched this demand with local renewables. Apple comes the closest in Virginia to reaching 100percent renewable, contracting enough local solar to cover its colocation load, though the company relies on AWS’s Virginia-based cloud platform for an unreported amount of services.

The energy footprint of the tech sector as a whole is currently estimated to consume approximately 7 percent of global electricity but could increase to as much as 20 percent by 2025. Greenpeace has regularly benchmarked the energy performance of leading tech companies since 2009 including our 2017 report, Clicking Clean: Who Is Winning the Race to Build a Green Internet?, which ranked companies leading the charge towards a renewably-powered Internet.

Following the release of the report, we had some fun in Crystal City, aka “National Landing,” Amazon’s new HQ2. In addition to giving the neighborhood a makeover with our banners and lamppost signs, we brought along a giant Amazon echo with a snarky Alexa personality.

Read the full Clicking Clean Virginia report at greenpeace.org/usa/reports/click-clean-virginia

Elizabeth Jardim

Greenpeace USA Senior Corporate Campaign

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© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

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Plastics Invade the “Center of the Center”

By Natalie Nava

In early March the iconic Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior sailed in the Philippines in a three-day “Ship it Back” tour to document plastic pollution in Verde Island Passage, which scientists have declared the world’s “center of the center” of global marine biodiversity.

Considered a diver’s paradise, this part of the Coral Triangle is home to the highest concentration of species, including fish, shrimp, crabs, sea turtles, and sea snakes—marine animals threatened by vast amounts of plastic trash.

The aim of our “Ship it Back” tour was to highlight the role corporations play as massive producers of single-use throwaway plastics. The ship’s crew sailed to Batangas and deployed rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) to capture images of branded plastic tucked in, stuck in between, swimming with, or wrapped around corals, fish, and other marine life.

A diver and a photographer filmed the ocean at varying depths, the deepest point at 80 feet. They took shots of a wrasse swimming by an empty toothpaste packet and coffee, food seasoning, and other branded food packaging trapped inside corals.

Branded packaging included products from Nestlé, Unilever, and Colgate Palmolive, as well as local brands Zagu milktea, Nutri-Asia, and Monde Nissin.

“This is undeniable proof of how irresponsible single-use plastic production by fast-moving consumer goods companies threatens our pristine environment,” said Abigail Aguilar, a campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines. “If big companies such as Nestlé and Unilever don’t respond to our calls for reduction in single-use plastic production, these places of ‘paradise’ like Verde Island Passage will be lost.

Sadly, Greenpeace’s documentation shows that even the amazing Verde Island Passage is not spared from the scourge of plastic pollution. All the more reason we must call out these corporations and urge them to change their business models, phasing out throwaway plastics, and moving to reusable and refillable products.

These companies have the resources and capacity to make their products sustainable. Pressure is the key word in moving them to take action to end plastic pollution.

This tiny crab trapped in a plastic cup made headlines around the world. Greenpeace’s Noel Guevara photographed it near Maricaban Island in the Philippines. “It’s as real as it gets and, sadly, not out of the ordinary,” he said.

Help add to the pressure—tell companies to end plastic pollution by going to greenpeace.org/usa/corporateplastic

Natalie Nava

Greenpeace USA Plastics Project Leader

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© Noel Guevara / Greenpeace

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More Than 100 Whales Jailed in Russia

By Anna Kosnikovskaya

Eleven Orcas and 90 Beluga whales were captured and are being held in small, overcrowded enclosures in what was immediately dubbed the “whale jail” in a bay near the city of Nakhodka in Russia’s Pacific Coast.

The whales were caught between July and October of 2018 in the Sea of Okhotsk, with the goal of selling them to Chinese theme parks. Given the worldwide moratorium on commercial whale hunting in 1982, companies claim to capture the whales for “educational and scientific purposes” but in reality it is all about commerce with enormous profits. Oceanariums say they pay as much as $6 million for an Orca.

It is torture for the whales to be kept in these conditions, in such tiny pens. At least 15 of the Belugas were calves younger than one year old—even though the capture of whale calves is categorically forbidden under Russian law. Most of the Orcas, possibly all, are the species listed as endangered in the Kamchatka region Red Book in April 2018.

Many of the whales are sick and independent experts are very concerned they will die if kept in these conditions much longer. “There [are] already one Orca and three Belugas [missing from the initial group], and the companies that conduct this dirty business said that the animals escaped [from their pens] but we don’t believe that,” Oganes Targulyan, head of Greenpeace Russia’s research unit, said. “These animals were ill, and we believe that they have died—so animals are already dying.”

Greenpeace launched a petition campaign to prevent the export of the 11 Orcas jailed in Srednyaya Bay and a second petition to prevent the planned Orca whaling in 2019. We called on authorities to list this population of Orcas as endangered and demanded that all of the Orcas and Beluga whales being held in such wretched captivity be set free.

Following our campaigning and months of public outrage, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered authorities to investigate the case and release the whales. Greenpeace Russia called for independent experts to provide treatment to the sick whales while expanding the current pens to create a less cramped environment while they recover and can then be released in the areas where they were captured.

Anna Kosnikovskaya

Greenpeace Russia Press Office Manager

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© Pavel Volkov / Greenpeace

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