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Winter 2019

Jane Fonda's Fire Drill Fridays Fight for Our Climate

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From the Executive Director

Photo of Annie Leonard, Executive Director

On Friday September 20th, in the biggest mass mobilization for the climate that the world has ever seen occurred; millions of people around the world went on strike from school or work in the youth-led global movement to demand urgent measures to stop the climate crisis.

Unfortunately, when the United Nations Climate Action Summit convened the following Monday, this call went largely unheeded. The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters—the United States, China, and India—failed to deliver aggressive climate action plans, while the leaders of more than 75 countries with much smaller economies pledged to eliminate their carbon emissions by 2050.

Our pressure on governments and corporations must be greater, and toward that end, Greenpeace and hundreds of environmental and human rights leaders are pledging to take on the climate emergency together. We agree that people’s fundamental rights must be at the center of climate solutions, and we are assembling the strongest, most diverse movement possible to amass the unprecedented people power necessary to get governments and corporations to act with the scale, scope, and urgency necessary for a climate-safe, livable future.

It is more urgent than ever that we work together to protect the communities and individuals on the frontlines of the climate struggle. The People’s Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival on September 18th and 19th was just the beginning of our collaborative work to demand immediate and ambitious climate action to protect communities and safeguard present and future generations, and we are united going forward to demand climate justice.

Because we desperately need true climate leadership in the United States, Greenpeace has been working hard to make the climate emergency a central election issue.

I hope you will be gratified to see in these pages the many different ways that Greenpeace’s campaigns intersect and how all of our work to protect our oceans and forests also helps save our climate. Your support is integral to these efforts, and we are deeply grateful. 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 to learn more about Greenpeace, Inc., and 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 / Daniel Beltrá

Jane Fonda Launches Fire Drill Fridays

By Madeline Carretero

At the end of August, actor and activist Jane Fonda reached out to Greenpeace with an idea. With the U.S. government’s lack of action on the climate emergency, she felt she needed to do something “extreme.” We were excited to work with her over the next few weeks to help shape her idea and turn it into something that we felt would make a real impact.

Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the youth climate strikes as well as Reverend Barber’s Moral Mondays and Randall Robinson’s often daily anti-apartheid protests, Jane moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to the epicenter of the fight for our climate.

“This is a crisis. We must act as if our house is on fire … because it is,” Greta has said. In that spirit, Jane is calling her weekly actions on Capitol Hill “Fire Drill Fridays.” Every Friday, through January, Jane is leading demonstrations to demand that our political leaders take action to address the climate emergency we are in. “We’re going to engage in civil disobedience and we’re going to get arrested every Friday,” Jane said.

Because the climate crisis is not an isolated issue and involves every part of our economy and society, each Fire Drill is focusing on a different topic as it relates to the climate. On Thursday evenings, Jane hosts a live stream “Teach-In” at Greenpeace’s office with a panel of experts who thoroughly explain the topic for that week and the role it plays in our climate fight.

On each Fire Drill Friday, Jane and a group of speakers engage in civil disobedience, rain or shine. Greenpeace is working with her to ensure that every Fire Drill includes experts and the people who are deeply involved in this fight—scientists, movement leaders, representation from frontline communities, Indigenous speakers, activists, and youth.

The first Fire Drill Friday on October 11th was a major success. Jane was joined on stage by author and social activist Naomi Klein, and was arrested together with her granddaughter Vasser Turner Seydell, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard, myself, and 12 other protesters.

The first demonstration garnered significant media attention from major news outlets and social shares by influencers, and we’re working with Jane to keep that spotlight shining brightly.

A Sample of Thursday Teach-ins

October 24thA Green New Deal—with host Jane Fonda, actor Sam Waterston, and Joanna Zhu from Sunrise Movement.

October 24th Oceans—with host Jane Fonda, actor, producer, director, and activist Ted Danson, and Greenpeace USA Oceans Director John Hocevar.

October 31st Women—with host Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler, American playwright, performer, feminist, and activist, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues.

November 7th War and the Military—with host Jane Fonda, Phyllis Bennis of the New Internationalism Project at IPS, Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s, and Michael Mann, one of the most recognized climate scientists in the world.

November 14th Environmental Justice—with host Jane Fonda and social justice advocate Kerene N. Tayloe, artist, activist, and BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, and actor June Diane Raphael.

For a listing of more Thursday Teach-Ins, see

You can join the livestream for Jane’s Thursday Teach-Ins at Greenpeace by following Fire Drill Friday on Facebook and Instagram. It begins at 7:00 p.m. EST and ends at 8:00 p.m. EST. You can submit questions via FB and IG live, too, so maybe one of yours will be selected and asked!



If you’re in Washington, DC, join us for Fire Drill Fridays!

When? 11:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.

Where? On the southeast lawn of the Capitol Building, across from the Library of Congress and near the intersection of 1st St & Independence Ave SE.

Madeline Carretero

Supporter Engagement and Key Influencer Collaborations

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© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

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Greenpeace’s Study of Microplastics in the Sargasso Sea

By Arlo Hemphill

In the heart of the Bermuda Triangle, there is a place of wonder and mystery—the Sargasso Sea. This vast oceanic ecosystem harbors abundant life. Its iconic floating forests of a gold seaweed called Sargassum are home to creatures found nowhere else on the planet and are a critical safe haven for baby sea turtles and other marine life vulnerable to predators.

But the Sargasso Sea is facing many threats, including plastic pollution. Strong ocean currents bring plastic debris that gets caught in the Sargassum and eaten by animals. Turtles and whales choke on it and fish consume it, passing plastic toxins through the food web.

We conducted research on the impact of plastic pollution on this ecosystem and its wildlife, and what we found was disturbing. A team of Greenpeace scientists discovered extreme concentrations of microplastic pollution. In one sample, the team found 1,298 fragments of microplastic, which is higher than the levels found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, now estimated to be twice the size of France. Infrared analysis done on board the Esperanza showed the pollution originates from single-use plastic bottles and plastic packaging.

The samples we gathered provide vital data on the density of plastic on the surface of the Sargasso Sea. Greenpeace is conducting this and other valuable research during our historic “Pole to Pole” expedition aimed at highlighting the many threats to the ocean—from the Arctic to Antarctic—and the need to protect the high seas under a new Global Ocean Treaty.

Without a new ocean treaty there is simply no way to protect special ocean places like the Sargasso Sea that lie mostly in international waters. In addition to the threat of plastic pollution, shipping freighters break up vast carpets of Sargassum, destroying habitats in their wake. And overfishing depletes eel and bluefin tuna populations. A healthy Sargasso Sea is better able to withstand threats like plastic pollution and rising sea temperatures.

A strong Global Ocean Treaty would allow us to set places like this aside as fully protected ocean sanctuaries, giving them time to recover from threats like overfishing and the impact of vessel traffic so they are better able to cope with the plastics crisis.

Tell the United Nations we need a strong Global Ocean Treaty to protect unique areas like the Sargasso Sea at

Global Ocean Treaty Negotiations Fall Short

In August, more than 190 countries came together at the United Nations to negotiate a historic Global Ocean Treaty that could help protect at least 30% of our seas by 2030. As the third round of UN negotiations drew to a close without serious commitment from most countries, it was very disappointing to see that the pace and ambition in this meeting didn’t match the level of urgency required to save our oceans and protect our planet against the climate emergency and massive biodiversity loss we are facing.

The lack of political will for a progressive outcome of these negotiations is alarming, as some countries clearly still favor exploitation over protection. Keeping things as they are is not going to save our oceans or, ultimately, humankind.

That’s why it’s so frustrating to see UN members like the European Union proposing insufficient solutions that don’t represent a real change for our oceans. In addition, we expect more ambition from China, the host of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), to be at the forefront of biodiversity protection. We also expect maritime nations like Norway and the U.S. to take leadership in this process, and are disappointed to see them push for a treaty that manages our global oceans in the same way which has brought them to the brink of collapse.

Now the stakes are even higher for the final stage of the negotiations. In 2020, world leaders need to deliver a Global Ocean Treaty that allows the creation of fully protected ocean sanctuaries in international waters. In order to seize this historic opportunity to safeguard our oceans for future generations, Greenpeace is urging heads of states and ministers to commit to a strong Global Ocean Treaty—so that delegates in the negotiating room have a clear mandate to advocate progress instead of just managing defeat.

The solution is right in front of us. Now all we are missing is the political will to give a chance to our oceans and to the people who rely on it to survive.

In August, Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem was in Times Square to demand a “GLOBAL OCEAN TREATY NOW” as an electronic billboard displayed threatened marine life.

Supporters can help move the U.S. towards a stronger position on the treaty by signing our petition at

Learn more about you can help save our oceans at

Arlo Hemphill

Greenpeace USA Senior Oceans Campaigner

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© Shane Gross / Greenpeace

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Shailene Woodley Joins Greenpeace’s Expedition to the Sargasso Sea

By Madeline Carretero

Actor and advocate Shailene Woodley boarded the Esperanza in Bermuda to join Greenpeace as we sailed to the Sargasso Sea this summer. It was the third leg of our unprecedented “Pole to Pole” expedition crisscrossing the oceans from the Arctic to the Antarctic to highlight their beauty and document the threats they face.

The sea was something she wanted to learn more about and immerse herself in. She was excited to spend a week in the middle of the ocean with scientists and campaigners, and was curious about the technology used to detect microplastics and learn more about this ecosystem.

An ocean lover all of her life, Shailene considers the platform she has to be a gift in her life and she hopes to use it to share information, knowledge, and wisdom. “I hope I’m able to be a bridge between the scientists on board the @greenpeaceusa ship I’ll be on, and those of you at home,” she posted on Instagram.

After we gathered microplastics with a research manta trawl net that skims the surface of the sea, we were stunned by how much of it we found. Shailene helped count it, using tweezers to place each piece on a sheet of graph paper, teeny tiny pieces of plastic less than 5mm in size. The fact that we had collected more than a thousand pieces in less than an hour hit her hard—both what all this plastic is doing to our oceans and wildlife, and also how pervasive plastic is in all of the products we use.

“I learned so much being out on the Sargasso,” Shailene said in a video she posted after the trip. “We found a piece of microplastic once every three seconds. And this is just skimming the surface of the water, so if you consider that we had about five miles of depth below us … it challenged me to look at things in a new way. What are the questions I’m not asking? What are the solutions I’m not seeking?”

“You don’t have to be on a Greenpeace boat to make a huge difference for this planet. The power really does lie in our own hands, and it lies in holding corporations and our government accountable for the change that we want to make within our communities,” she said.

Read more from Shailene at

Madeline Carretero

Supporter Engagement and Key Influencer Collaborations

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© Shane Gross / Greenpeace

Precious, Irreplaceable Rainforests on Fire

By Diana Ruiz

During the month of August, forest fires began ravaging the Brazilian Amazon region. Fires have always been a threat to the Amazon, but the number of fire outbreaks in 2019 is one of the largest in recent years.

The Amazon fires are no accident. Close to 2.5 million hectares of land were burned in the Brazilian Amazon during August. Fires were deliberately started by farmers and land grabbers, encouraged by President Jair Bolsonaro’s calls to open the Amazon to agriculture. The number of fires in the Amazon increased by 111% since the start of Bolsonaro’s presidency.

Home to many Indigenous Peoples and traditional local communities, the world’s largest rainforest is vital for the whole world. But with the industrial exploitation of the Amazon backed by the Government and fueled by agribusiness, these forest fires continue to ravage the region.

Protecting forests is crucial to solving the climate crisis. That’s exactly what Indigenous and local communities are doing. Activists from Greenpeace Brazil and change makers across the country are fighting with them for a better future for Brazil and for the entire planet.

At the same time Brazil’s rainforests were burning, deliberately set forest fires also raged in Indonesia, covering at least 8 provinces and affecting the livelihood and health of 33.6 million people. Forests are being fragmented and cleared, and peatlands are being drained to make way for large scale plantations, mainly for palm oil or pulp wood.

Peatland destruction is a particularly important factor in the fires, because they store huge amounts of carbon, and thus when burnt they contribute to massive carbon emissions that drive global warming, and to particle emissions, creating unbearable smog over vast areas. The haze from the fires not only affected the people of Indonesia but also spread to Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

In the aftermath of the catastrophic forest fires of 2015, Greenpeace Indonesia formed a Forest Fires Prevention Team that consists of volunteer firefighters and survivors of the 2015 fires. These young volunteers have been trained by Greenpeace Russia firefighters and are well prepared to suppress fires and support communities and local authorities. The team deployed in the first week of August to work with communities impacted by the fires.

Sign Greenpeace’s petition to save the Amazon Rainforest at

Diana Ruiz

Greenpeace USA Senior Palm Oil Campaigner

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© Martin Katz / Greenpeace

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Trump Attempts to Gut the Endangered Species Act

By Rolf Skar

In August the Trump administration moved to make major changes to one of America’s bedrock conservation laws. Threatened species at risk of becoming endangered are stripped of blanket protections, and our ability to protect wildlife from climate change is undercut. For the first time, the economic costs of protecting at-risk wildlife are now allowed to supercede the actual survival of the species. And industry will be welcome to bulldoze, mine, and drill in the critical habitats of protected species.

The Endangered Species Act is the world’s strongest law of its kind, protecting more than 1,600 plants and animals. Since it was passed in 1973, the law has not only kept more than 99 percent of species from going extinct, it has also helped hundreds to recover. Bald eagles, grizzly bears, humpback whales, gray wolves, California condors, and many other species are better off because of it.

At a time when the world’s leading scientists warn we’re facing an extinction crisis and we could lose one million species forever, this is the exact opposite of what needs to be done to protect life on Earth. In concert with allies, Greenpeace waged an urgent petition campaign, collecting 151,589 signatures calling on Congress to use their authority under the Congressional Review Act to nullify these radically regressive new rules. On September 23rd we delivered the petitions en masse to get all those names entered into the record.

With your support, we will continue to fight the “Extinction Administration’s” attempts to put short term profits over long-term survival. Remembering that extinction is forever, we won’t back down. In addition to Greenpeace’s petition campaign, many groups and state attorney generals are suing the Trump administration to challenge these changes.

EPA Permits Broader Use of Bee-killing Pesticides

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency approved the broader use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide that reduces bees’ ability to reproduce, according to a study in the journal Nature. The EPA’s decision not only removed previous restrictions, it also adds new uses for the toxic bee-killing insecticide. And at the same time, this science-denying administration pulled the plug on the Department of Agriculture’s study of bee populations, which beekeepers use to monitor bee colony decline. As with Trump’s gutting of the Endangered Species Act, groups are taking legal action against his administration.

Progress for a Greener and More Peaceful Future

  • Industry giants Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and SC Johnson ditching pro-plastics lobbying association
    Following our sustained campaigning and mounting pressure on corporations to transition away from single-use plastics, the two beverage behemoths and the manufacturer of household cleaning products informed Greenpeace USA that they plan to end their memberships with the Plastics Industry Association, which has advocated against plastic bans nationwide and worked to undermine statewide progress on plastic pollution.
  • Rare trees gain protection
    In August of 2019, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) designated the Mukula tree on its list of protected species. Greenpeace Africa documented massive illegal logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which played a major part in subsequent trade restrictions on the rare hardwood, in an effort to ensure its survival. Mukula is a rare, slow-growing timber species endemic to the Miombo Woodlands, a unique ecosystem of scrub and savanna south of the Congo Basin. It is known to play an important role for a variety of species including bees, primates, and elephants and is vital to soil preservation and other ecosystem services.
  • Sainsbury’s commits to cut its plastic footprint by 50%
    The second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom pledged to halve the amount of plastic used in its stores by 2025. Sainsbury’s said it is rolling out some measures immediately, like removing all plastic bags from the produce section and selling reusable bags for fruit and vegetables.
  • 50 million hectares of Russia’s wild forests retain protected status
    After intensive campaigning by Greenpeace Russia activists and a groundswell of public support with more than 200,000 petition signatures, the Russian Ministry of Nature Resources issued an official instruction to leave forests along spawning rivers and lakes under protection. These are forests of high biodiversity value and of key importance to protect the climate. Greenpeace Russia is now working to ensure that all official instructions and commitments are followed.

Stay up-to-date at!

Rolf Skar

Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director

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© Dmitry Sharomov / Greenpeace

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The People’s Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival

By Janet Redman

The People’s Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival—the first-ever global summit on human rights and climate change—was convened by Greenpeace and leading civil society groups and the UN Human Rights Office in New York on September 18th and 19th. The People’s Summit aims to galvanize the human rights community to urgently scale-up its efforts on climate justice, creating the most diverse movement ever assembled to tackle the climate crisis.

In an unprecedented move, more than 200 representatives of Indigenous Peoples, workers, academia, environmental, and human rights groups adopted a landmark declaration calling on governments and corporations to urgently tackle the climate emergency in order to ensure the survival of humanity.

Our goal is to unleash new power, energy, and resources to supercharge a connected, diverse, and action-oriented mass movement to overcome the climate crisis, by putting people and human rights at the core of its solutions.

We sought to put pressure on governments and corporations to ramp up climate commitments. Among other initiatives, we plan to pursue more concerted climate litigation efforts, target the financial sector’s funding of fossil fuels, make more effective use of human rights accountability mechanisms, and coordinate more mass mobilization campaigns at national and regional levels. We also expect to agree on the implementation of a set of related action plans in the following months.

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director at Greenpeace International, said:

“The climate crisis is a human rights crisis. The human consequences of extreme weather disasters can be staggering, as we can see by the profound devastation and destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

This declaration marks a new era of climate activism. Led by the youth and together with our allies, we will all take action and confront those responsible. Weak governments and toxic corporate power will have nowhere to hide as we put people at the center of our demands, and seek climate justice for the communities least responsible but most vulnerable to this climate emergency.”

Learn more at

Janet Redman

Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director

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© Tracie Williams / Greenpeace

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Trump Tries to Axe 84 Environmental Regulations

July was the hottest month on record for the planet since record keeping began in 1880, yet in August the Trump administration acted to remove restrictions on the emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. While methane dissipates faster than carbon dioxide, it has 80 times more heat-trapping power over 20 years in the atmosphere.

That makes 84 environmental regulations he’s now tried to rescind, including major rules aimed at curtailing climate change, anti-pollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, and the Clean Power Plan. He’s removed protections from National Monuments to open them up to drilling, and greenlit oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He moved to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all U.S. waters, and repealed the stronger offshore drilling safety measures put in place after the Deepwater Horizon blowout disaster resulted in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

And even before Trump went after the Endangered Species Act (see the article on page 15), he rolled back protections on sage grouse habitat to open up nine million acres of the American West to drillers, miners, and developers.

Greenpeace and other organizations are legally challenging many of these attempts to nullify all of the progress we’ve made for clean air and water, wildlife conservation, and the health and safety of our communities and climate.

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© Les Stone / Greenpeace

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September 2019: An Exciting Month of Global Climate Action

September was action-packed with pivotal moments in our effort to take on the climate emergency.

  • September 3—Greenpeace launched a new global petition—an open letter calling on politicians, businesses, and financiers to recognize that we’re in a climate emergency and to act like it.From the fossil fuel companies to the forest destroyers to all those who bankroll them—and to the politicians who are failing to act—we are holding the industries responsible for the climate crisis to account. The message: act now or stand down.
  • September 9, 10, and 11—The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior sailed into the Gdansk port in Poland and dropped anchor at the coal terminal, stopping the arrival of a coal shipment. Greenpeace Poland activists in rigid-hulled inflatable boats painted the words “Stop Coal” on the side of the coal vessel and displayed banners saying “No Future in Coal.”Polish authorities responded with excessive force during a late-night raid. Officers wearing masks and armed with automatic weapons smashed the windows of the Rainbow Warrior with sledgehammers and detained the ship’s captain and an activist.
  • September 12—As the sun came up in Baytown, Texas, 22 Greenpeace USA climbers formed an aerial blockade from the Fred Hartman Bridge, shutting down the largest fossil fuel thoroughfare in the United States ahead of the third Democratic primary debate in nearby Houston. The climbers intended to remain secured in place for 24 hours, preventing the transport of all oil and gas through the channel. The climbers began being arrested about an hour before the debate.Greenpeace takes safety very seriously and these activists have the skills and experience necessary to peacefully protest safely. The most dangerous thing about the shipping channel wasn’t the Greenpeace climbers, it continues to be fossil fuel executives’ reckless plans to push us further towards climate chaos.
  • September 10 to 14—Industry players at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, the largest car show in the world, were met by thousands of protesters from all over, cycling, walking, and demonstrating for a climate-friendly future and calling for the industry to embrace a climate-friendly future and reimagined clean energy transport systems.
  • September 18 and 19—The first-ever Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival convened in New York to bring the environmental and human rights communities together to build a strong, collective movement to address the climate emergency and fight for climate justice.
  • September 20—Greenpeace Philippines activists blockaded the entrance to the refinery of fossil fuel giant Shell in Batangas, south of Manila, to sound the alarm for the climate emergency. The blockade consisted of eight activists who climbed on top of one of the facility’s silos and unfurled a banner with the words “Shell, stop burning our future.”
  • September 20 and 27—Two student-led strikes and mass mobilizations were held on either side of the September 23 UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit to demand world leaders stand up and raise their national climate action plans in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • September 23—After Greta Thunberg’s raw and unvarnished opening plea to leaders at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said, “There is no longer anywhere for leaders to hide, we the people are watching you.” Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro opened the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with a misleading speech contradicting media reports and scientific data released by his own government about the devastating fires in the Amazon. The evening before the UNGA and the morning of, Greenpeace USA activists joined a coalition of environmental and human rights groups to protest Trump and Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental agenda. Protests at Bryant Park unveiled a giant puppet of Bolsonaro and a digital billboard truck that featured a satirical response to the Brazilian Government’s propaganda.That same day, Greenpeace UK climbers unfurled two giant banners from Burger King’s iconic restaurant in London’s Leicester Square to denounce the fast-food giant’s links to Amazon fires and deforestation. Two 10 by 6 meter banners reading “Fast Food Fries Forests” and “Burger King Flame Grilling the Amazon” covered the whole facade of the building. The Greenpeace protest took place on the fifth anniversary of the New York declaration on forests—an agreement to end deforestation signed by dozens of governments and corporations in 2014.

Sign on and join the movement to combat the climate crisis at

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© Tracie Williams / Greenpeace

New Firsts and Discoveries in the Amazon Reef

By John Hocevar

As part of one of the biggest maritime expeditions in Greenpeace’s history, in September the Esperanza sailed off the coast of French Guiana in order to learn more about the exceptional wealth of marine biodiversity and to highlight the threats of oil production for the Amazon Reef, which was recently revealed to the world and is not well known yet.

Working in partnership with CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) scientists, Greenpeace carried out research to document the animals found there and study the Amazon Reef. With this vital information, Greenpeace is demonstrating that it is urgent to protect this unique ecosystem and its exceptional diversity of life, and add strength to the case for the United Nations to agree on a Global Ocean Treaty that will lead to covering the planet—and places like the Amazon Reef—with fully protected ocean sanctuaries.

For the first time, scientists confirmed that the region is more than a migratory route for humpback whales and tropical whales, it’s also a breeding ground. We observed humpback whales with their calves and other marine wildlife including sailfishes, spotted dolphins, false killer whales, pygmy killer whales, and marine birds such as the Audubon’s petrel. Also for the first time, the Bryde’s Rorquals (a type of whale), silky sharks, and Melon Head dolphins have been filmed and photographed in their natural environment in French Guiana.

Six professional deep divers successfully completed the first ever dives to document the recently revealed Amazon Reef through high resolution images, while collecting biological samples in order to better understand the threatened ecosystem off the coast of French Guiana.

Alexis Rosenfeld, one of the deep divers and a photographer, described the experience. “These dives are particularly challenging: the water is loaded with sediments from the Amazon river, currents are very strong and we have no visibility when we start descending,” he said. “But it’s totally worth it when the halo of my light beams reveals the Amazon Reef. This is a haven of life, a treasure of biodiversity explored for the first time by humans and whose mystery is only just being revealed.”

And unconscionably, the Amazon Reef region is also a target area for oil companies like BP, which since 2016 has been trying to open this new oil frontier in Brazil. If this is allowed to happen it could be devastating for a huge area well beyond Brazil, from French Guiana into international waters, for the oceans, and for the climate alike.

An oil spill could reach far beyond borders, to critical ecosystems like one of the biggest mangroves in the world, and would be terrible news for the Amazon Reef and vulnerable species such as whales and turtles that live and migrate through there. And, of course, drilling for oil we can’t afford to burn is madness in the unfolding climate emergency.

The Climate Crisis is an Oceans Crisis

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is finalizing its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, a stark warning on the state of the world’s oceans. The report, based on analysis of climate data by hundreds of leading international scientists, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the current and future impacts of climate change on our oceans and cryosphere (areas of frozen water and land in the icy polar or high-mountain regions).

Greenpeace International scientist Melissa Wang said:

“We expect the IPCC report to confirm our worst fear—the climate crisis is an oceans crisis. Some of the impacts of climate change on our oceans are now irreversible and others are looking increasingly inevitable.

At current emissions rates, we are effectively dumping one million tons of CO2 into the oceans every hour. Unless we accelerate efforts to curb carbon emissions and take greater steps to protect our oceans, there will be devastating human, environmental, and economic consequences.”

Right now, governments have a historic opportunity to agree to a global treaty to protect the oceans. This is a huge moment for world leaders to do the right thing—approve a strong Global Ocean Treaty to protect the oceans, to halt the catastrophic loss of marine wildlife, and to help tackle the climate emergency.

To learn more, visit

John Hocevar

Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director

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© Pierre Baelen / Greenpeace

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New Greenpeace Report Exposes How Corporations Are Pretending to Solve the Plastics Crisis

By Ivy Schlegel

In our new report, Throwing Away the Future: How Companies Still Have It Wrong on Plastic Pollution “Solutions,” Greenpeace warns consumers to be skeptical of the so-called solutions announced by multinational corporations to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. These false solutions, such as switching to paper or “bioplastics,” or embracing chemical recycling, are failing to move us away from single-use packaging and divert attention away from beneficial systems that prioritize refill and reuse.

Despite the increasing scientific understanding of the irreversible damage plastic can cause to our environment and communities, plastic production is projected to dramatically increase in the coming years. Multinational consumer goods companies continue to promote so-called sustainable alternatives that would put unacceptable pressures on natural resources such as forests and agricultural land, which have already been overexploited. To solve the plastic pollution crisis, companies need to rethink how products are delivered to consumers and invest significantly in reusable and refillable delivery systems.

Many of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including Nestlé, Unilever, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble, have signaled their intent to make plastic packaging more recyclable, reusable, compostable, or from recycled content. Meanwhile, they are aiming to continue, and even increase, the manufacturing of products wrapped in single-use plastic or disposable packaging made from other materials.

Our report exposes that companies are investing in risky emerging chemical conversion “recycling” technologies, which offer false hope and lock in demand for plastic packaging. Companies have obscured the true impacts of packaging behind confusing marketing terms, sustainability language, and industry alliances, hoping that consumers will continue to believe the false promise that plastic can be improved. These misleading claims that a product is compostable, biodegradable, or made from plants, does not mean that product is good for the environment or will reduce plastic pollution.

By the end of 2019, globally, plastic production and burning will emit the carbon equivalent of 189 coal-fired power plants. And it is estimated that by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste in natural environments. As companies recognize the threat of plastics, Greenpeace is demanding that they not simply embrace a quick fix that harms the planet elsewhere.

Read the report at

Demand that corporations take action to end the plastic pollution crisis by signing Greenpeace’s petition at

Ivy Schlegel

Greenpeace USA Senior Research Specialist

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© Greenpeace

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Looking for the best way to take action against the injustices on Earth? This year, give the gift of stock or a gift directly from your IRA and see how you can create a greener planet, and a smarter donation!

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Were you born before 1949? If you answered “yes,” and you have a traditional IRA, you are eligible to make a tax-free donation from your IRA directly to Greenpeace Fund. Calculate how much you need to take out of your IRA this year, and see how that amount can create a peaceful, green future!

Visit to give your smartest donation today!

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 your estate plans, please contact Corrine Barr:

1 (800) 328-0678 [email protected]

© Bernd Roemmelt / Greenpeace

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Executive Director

Annie Leonard

Editorial Staff

Editor in Chief

Sara Rycroft

Development Editors

Corrine Barr

Elizabeth Bennett

Allison Gates

Rogelio Ocampo

Editorial Staff

Campaigns Editor

Rebecca Pons

Photo Editor

Tim Aubry

Legal Editor

Deepa Padmanabha


Jacob Hardbower
Blair Miltenberger

Visuals Intern

MaryFrances Vorbach

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We can’t win protections for the marine sanctuaries that will safeguard 30% of our oceans without your help! Please, rush a monthly gift right now to power Greenpeace USA’s fight for our planet’s oceans.