Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

Archive for the ‘Greenpeace’ Category

History repeats itself because people do not listen

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Thanks to Greenpeace for the inspiration…

Industry has been manufacturing doubt regarding inconvenient science for decades. They have confused the public and paralysed our politicians. All we must do now is deal with the consequences.

Over to Greenpeace for the call to action:

Is this what it would take to get action from the government on climate change? http://bit.ly/1hg9TVM

With a climate change denying environment minister like Owen Paterson in charge, it may well be. But we don’t have to wait to see. Join the call to sack Paterson – and replace him with someone serious about climate change. http://bit.ly/1hg9TVM

What more can I say? 

Written by Martin Lack

13 February 2014 at 18:34

What a Year that was (for Greenpeace and the Planet)

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Most recent Email received from Greenpeace:

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Hi Martin,

2013 was undisputably the year of the Arctic, and if you skip to the end of this email, you’ll find a link to a film that relives some of the highlights.

But don’t go just yet, because I want to pass on an amazing victory that you have been instrumental in achieving, even if you didn’t realise it. It involves the world’s largest palm oil trader and an incredible new commitment that could mean the difference between saving or wiping out the last Sumatran tigers.

Making palm oil shouldn’t mean destroying Indonesia’s rainforests. But dangerous and greedy companies are trashing them to grow oil palms. It’s pushing orangutans and tigers ever closer to extinction.

My colleagues have spent months investigating the palm oil industry. Everywhere they went – whether investigating oil palm grown illegally inside a national park, speaking to families trying to protect their livelihood, or working with charities that rescue animals from palm oil companies’ bulldozers – they came across the same name.

That name was Wilmar International.

You probably haven’t heard of Wilmar, but you’ve almost certainly bought something containing its palm oil. Wilmar is a commodities trader and 45% of the world’s palm oil passes through its hands – some coming from a number of very unsavoury companies.

Our evidence linked Wilmar and its customers to the destruction of tiger and orangutan habitat, human rights abuses and conflict with forest communities.

And throughout the autumn, we exposed how Wilmar was laundering this dirty palm oil and selling it to major brands, like Gillette, Ferrero, Cadbury, L’Oreal and Clearasil. Our campaigners in Indonesia protested at Wilmar’s offices and rolled out massive banners in freshly-cleared forest, showing Wilmar’s customers just what they were buying.

Then something interesting happened.

First Ferrero announced a detailed, ambitious plan to only buy forest-friendly palm oil. Then Mondelez (which makes Cadbury) and L’Oreal made an initial commitment to no deforestation (although they’re still working out the details).

And when its customers started moving, Wilmar had no choice but to follow suit.

On 5 December, Wilmar announced it would stop clearing forests and buying oil from companies that it knew were engaged in forest destruction. “We know from our customers and other stakeholders that there is a strong and rapidly growing demand for traceable, deforestation-free palm oil,” said Wilmar’s CEO, Kuok Khoon Hong as he launched their new ‘no deforestation’ policy, “and we intend to meet it.”

Even though you won’t have sent an email to Cadbury or L’Oreal about their palm use, being part of Greenpeace meant that you didn’t need to. Just the possibility that you and millions of others around the world might take action was enough to persuade these companies to act now. That’s the kind of power you hold.

So thank you for helping to make such outstanding progress, and for everything else we’ve achieved together this year.

And now here’s that video!

Sini of the Arctic 30Happy new year,

[Greenpeace (and me)]

Written by Martin Lack

31 December 2013 at 00:02

Will Gazprom give the Russian Arctic an amnesty?

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This news just in from Greenpeace:
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Greenpeace

Dear supporter,

Prepare yourself for some great news:

The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty by the Russian parliament!!

This means the legal action by Russia against the Arctic 30 can come to an end and the 26 non-Russians will be free to return home to their families as soon as they are given exit visas by the Russian authorities.

While we’re breathing a huge sigh of relief, they still aren’t home yet. And Gazprom and Shell are still planning on drilling for oil in the Arctic. If you haven’t already sent a message to Shell’s new CEO, click here. 

I think the best thing to share with you about the amnesty decision is from one of the Arctic 30.

Peter WillcoxPeter Willcox, Captain of the Arctic Sunrise:

“I might soon be going home to my family, but I should never have been charged and jailed in the first place. We sailed north to bear witness to a profound environmental threat but our ship was stormed by masked men wielding knives and guns. Now it’s nearly over and we may soon be truly free, but there’s no amnesty for the Arctic. We may soon be home, but the Arctic remains a fragile global treasure under assault by oil companies and the rising temperatures they’re driving. We went there to protest against this madness. We were never the criminals here.”

It is not clear when the non-Russian crew among the Arctic 30 will be able to leave Russia. They don’t have the correct stamps in their passports because, well, they were brought to Russia by commandos after being illegally seized in international waters.

This fight continues. Accepting amnesty does not mean admitting guilt. It means we can focus on what this is really about: saving the Arctic.

You have stuck with this story since the beginning. The most important thing you can do now is to help everyone you know understand that this is still far from over. The Arctic 30 were in the Arctic to bring attention to the absurdity of Arctic oil drilling. Tell Shell’s new CEO to ditch the deal with Gazprom and leave Arctic oil in the ground.

Keep this fight alive.

Tell Shell: End Gazprom deal

Onward,

Ben Ayliffe
Arctic Campaigner
Greenpeace

P.S. If you’re on Facebook, share this post today. Let your friends and family know there is still no amnesty for the Arctic.

Written by Martin Lack

18 December 2013 at 17:41

Please remind Shell that Lloyds think Arctic drilling is bad

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Lloyds of London have warned that fossil fuel exploration of the Arctic will damage an important ecosystem. With that in mind, here is the latest email I have received from Greenpeace:

Image credit: Greenpeace/Denis Sinyakov

Dear supporter,

Any moment now, Gazprom will pump the first drops of oil from beneath the icy Arctic seas.

But Gazprom’s plans to open up huge areas of the Arctic to drilling depend on its powerful partner, Shell. This January, Shell has a new boss taking over. That means we have a major opportunity to stop both companies from destroying the pristine Arctic.

Tell Ben van Beurden, Shell’s new CEO, to scrap Arctic oil drilling and end the deal with Gazprom.

Why would he listen to us? Because Shell’s investors want to make money, not take risks. Shell’s board want the investors to be happy, and as a new CEO, he will want to start with a clean record.

More and more industry insiders are warning that Arctic drilling is a losing battle. Shell already suffered a massive PR fail and a criminal inquiry for its series of mishaps trying to drill in Alaska last year. And Gazprom, already infamous for a 2011 rig accident in which 53 people died, came under serious fire recently for its role in the imprisonment of the Arctic 30.

This might be the best chance we’ve ever had to protect the Arctic. If Shell scraps Arctic oil, Gazprom will be cut off from the resources it needs to expand oil drilling to grotesque proportions. And it will send a clear signal to other oil companies that Arctic oil just isn’t worth the risk.

Tell Shell’s new CEO to ditch the deal with Gazprom and leave Arctic oil in the ground.

Our movement to save the Arctic is incredibly strong. We sent 2.5 million messages to Russian embassies demanding freedom for the Arctic 30, who were finally released on bail last month. Nearly 5 million of us have added our voices to a call to create a global sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the North Pole, protected from oil drilling and destructive industry. We won’t stop growing, or fighting, until we win.

Thank you for everything,


Ben Ayliffe
Arctic Campaigner
Greenpeace

Written by Martin Lack

12 December 2013 at 16:05

Colin Russell is released on bail

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Latest email from Greenpeace
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Hi Martin,

Amazing news! Four minutes after I heard Colin’s appeal hearing had started, news came that he had been granted bail. I didn’t even have time to make myself a cup of tea.

The support team in St Petersburg are paying the bail money as soon as possible. Hopefully he’ll be out before the weekend.

Thanks to the 100,000-plus people who petitioned for Colin’s release, and sent messages of support to him and his wife Christine. She wanted to send this message in reply to you all:

“Thank you thank you thank you. As I am reading your beautiful words of love and support for Colin, [our daughter] Madeleine and myself I have tears running profusely. My heart is filled with your love. Colin will be so humbled by your messages of support when I see him and hug him he will feel and know your love and support. Love to you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

If you would like to leave a message for Colin, or any of the Arctic 30, you can do so via this website.

Despite today’s good news, this is not over yet. The Arctic 30 still stand accused of a crime they did not commit.

Twenty-eight activists took peaceful action on behalf of us all, and two journalists shone a spotlight on destructive Arctic oil drilling. The charge of hooliganism is both an insult and an outrage. Nobody will truly be celebrating until they’re home and the charges have been dropped.

————

pardonactivists

Written by Martin Lack

28 November 2013 at 14:45

Greenpeace petition to help get Colin Russell out of jail

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Dear Greenpeace member,

Collin Russell (Photo via Greenpeace)

I’ve never written to you before, but I really hope you can help me today.

My dear husband Colin Russell is one of the Arctic Sunrise crew members arrested at gunpoint for protesting Arctic oil drilling. Just this week his bail application was denied in a Russian court – even though every other crew member had their bail applications approved and all but one other have been released.

This could mean at least three more months alone in a prison cell during the icy winter in St Petersburg. This is difficult for me to take in. Col stays positive and strong in difficult circumstances. But with this latest news, I just know he’s being tested beyond his limits.

Greenpeace has launched a global petition demanding freedom for Col and all his Arctic Sunrise crewmates. Can you please help by adding your name today?

Col was so happy when we spoke on the phone over two months ago. I remember how upbeat he was, just so happy to be back on a ship he’s grown to love during 14 years of working as a radio operator for Greenpeace. We made plans to visit friends and family in Melbourne, maybe spend a week together on the coast over Christmas. But now, who knows when I’ll see him next?

I’ve hardly been able to speak to Col much since he went to prison. We had a short phone call, but that was over a month ago. Now it’s been 67 days of worry and anxiety for me and our 24-year-old daughter Maddie. All of this because Colin and 29 others were brave enough to tell oil companies like Shell and Gazprom to stop drilling in the Arctic.

The Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop spoke to Russian authorities about Col several weeks ago. But there’s more that she and our government can do to rescue these heroes and bring them home. Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, must call President Putin to ensure Colin is also granted bail.

It would really mean the world to Maddie and I to have your name on this petition.  Please click here to join us.

I can’t write down in words how frustrating it is not being able to speak to him right now. I just want to tell him that Maddie and I – together with millions of Greenpeace supporters in every corner of the world – are thinking of him today.

That old saying, that alone we are only one voice and together we are powerful, has a whole new meaning for me now.

Thank you for helping us out. It means so much to us having you on our side.

Chrissie Russell, on behalf of Greenpeace.

P.S.  It’s been over two months since the Russian coast guard illegally boarded the Arctic Sunrise ship and arrested my husband and 29 others at gunpoint — all for peacefully protesting against the terrible threat of an Arctic oil spill. Please make sure your name is on this petition today. Thank you.

Written by Martin Lack

25 November 2013 at 12:40

It’s official – Arctic 30 protestors are not pirates

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As Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace International has said, this is an historic event. The actions of the Russian government two months ago – and the continuing failure of the UNFCCC to agree action to mitigate climate change – do not give confidence that humanity will avert an environmental catastophe. However, it is good that it has at least been agreed that peaceful protestors abducted at gunpoint in International waters cannot be jailed for piracy and/or hooliganism.  Here is the email I received yesterday:

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Dear supporter,

Today is a historic day – a day when the fundamental rights of the Arctic 30 have been upheld by an international court of law.

As you may recall, there was a hearing on November 6 at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea. The Netherlands brought the case seeking the release of the Arctic Sunrise and its crew.

Today, just moments ago, the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea ordered the Russian Federation in a binding ruling to release the Arctic Sunrise and the 28 activists and two freelance journalists who were on board upon payment of a EUR 3.6 million bond.

ITLOS orders Russia to release Arctic 30
The Arctic 30 were detained only because they stood up and courageously took peaceful action against Arctic oil drilling and to halt the devastating impacts of climate change.

I have just come from the UN climate talks in Warsaw where governments again have failed to take action against climate change. The Arctic 30 took action and it is time that governments acted with them. It is time for the Arctic 30 to come home to their loved ones. It is time for the Arctic to be protected. 

Russia is now under an obligation to comply with the order: the Russian Constitution itself states that international law forms an integral part of the Russian legal system and Russian courts are under an obligation to implement this order. Greenpeace therefore expects Russia to respect International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, as it has done in the past.

As we keep saying, it is still not over for the Arctic 30. So this is also not over for you or me. We must continue to stand firm until all charges against the Arctic 30 are officially dropped. Thirty people stood up for 7 billion people. We must stand with them. 

Here are 30 things you can do to help us continue to make the case for the Arctic 30 and against drilling in the Arctic.

In solidarity,


Kumi Naidoo
International Executive Director
Greenpeace International

Written by Martin Lack

23 November 2013 at 11:05

How many more must die because of climate change denial?

with 8 comments

Warmer oceans cause more evaporation; leading to more moisture in the atmosphere more of the time.  This results in more frequent storms of greater intensity than before.  This email from Greenpeace therefore needs no further introduction from me:

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Dear supporter,

These are extremely tough times for the people of the Philippines. Unfortunately, this disaster is not over yet and recovering from it will take a lot of time and resources. Nothing will make up for the lost lives though.

I often say this and unfortunately it is true on this occasion as well. It is those who are the least responsible for climate change who are getting hit the hardest by its impacts.

I received the email below from the Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Von Hernandez. It was such a powerful reminder of why we do what we do that I asked if I could share it with you. He agreed.

Please continue to show solidarity with our colleagues, their families and the Filipino people and remind our governments that every fresh investment in a fossil fuel project is a bet against our children and children’s future on this planet, as Von put it himself.

In solidarity,

Kumi Naidoo
International Executive Director
Greenpeace International
———-

Dear friends,

It is impossible to put into words the despair that millions of Filipinos are going through right now.

Days after Haiyan (Yolanda) sliced through the central islands of the Philippines, it has become horrifyingly clear that the damage wrought by the super typhoon has been colossal, the devastation absolute.

As of this writing, almost a thousand people have been officially confirmed to have lost their lives. The number of dead, however, is expected to exceed 10,000 — as more reports continue to filter in from other cities, islands and villages that were flattened by the apocalyptic winds and enormous walls of sea water that came rushing ashore.

More than 10 million people are estimated to have been displaced by this single event. Hunger, sickness and despair now stalk the most hard hit of areas, even as aid from both local and international sources started to trickle in. The President has already declared a state of national calamity.

It will probably take a few more days, maybe weeks before the total extent of this disaster can be confirmed. But for sure, this is now considered the worst natural calamity that the country has ever experienced. 

While storms and typhoons are indeed natural occurrences, the ferocious strength and destructive power delivered by this typhoon have been characterized as off the charts and beyond normal.

This is also not the first time. 

Last year, there was Bopha, which resulted in more than 600 fatalities, and before that a number of other weather aberrations too freakish even for a nation that has grown accustomed to getting more than 20 of these howlers in any given year. As if on cue, and following the template of Bopha in Doha, Haiyan also came at a time when the climate COP is taking place, this time in Warsaw.

Some of you would have already heard about the emotional opening speech delivered by the head of the Philippine delegation at the climate summit, bewailing the absence of responsible climate action at the global level and refusing to accept that the fate of Filipinos may now be irretrievably linked to a future where people are served super typhoons for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Once again, a disaster such as this one, underscores the urgency of the work we do as a global organization on climate change. 

It is in fearful anticipation of tragic scenarios such as these why our staff and activists go through great lengths, putting their life and liberty at risk, to take action at the frontlines of climate destruction — whether that’s in the forests of Sumatra or the hostile waters of the Arctic.

I would like to believe this is part of the larger narrative why 30 of our colleagues remain in detention in Russia. And it is our hope that they find courage and inspiration to endure the injustice they are going through, moving the planet away from the clear and present danger posed by runaway climate change.

We thank you all for the messages of solidarity and support you have sent our way at this time.

More importantly, I would urge you to use this moment to remind your governments that every investment in fossil fuels is an investment in death and destruction. 

The impact of new coal plants being built or new oil fields being developed — do not remain in their immediate vicinities — they translate into epic humanitarian disasters and tragedies, as we continue to witness in the Philippines.

Regards,

Von Hernandez
Executive Director
Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Written by Martin Lack

15 November 2013 at 16:30

It is not a crime to care too much – Free the Arctic 30 now!

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Here is an email I have received from freelance photographer Nick Cobbing:

Hi Martin,

I was shocked to see pictures of Denis behind bars in the Russian courtroom on Thursday. I’m a freelance photographer too and I was about to replace him when the ship reached the next port. But now Denis is being held in jail for another 2 months, without charge.

Yesterday, a further eight Arctic activists appeared before a court in Murmansk, Russia. No charges were laid, but now all 30 are being detained for two months as Russian authorities pursue an investigation around piracy charges. Today, Greenpeace lawyers have launched an appeal against these detentions.

The Russian authorities are punishing those who have risked their liberty to highlight the madness of Arctic oil, while protecting the fossil fuel industry. It should be the other way around.

Join me in central London or at a venue near you, on October 5, as part of worldwide event to free the Arctic 30. Sign up to get an SMS or email with more details about events at various locations around the country.

I am relieved to see people all around the world speaking out in support my friends. Russian newspapers are blanking out images on their webpages to draw attention to it. Together we’ve sent over 660,000 messages to Russian embassies worldwide. We’ve made global headlines. Now we need to show our determination on the street.

On Friday, I went to the Russian embassy in London with my young son (pictured). I met his mother onboard the Arctic Sunrise four years ago. We all visited the ship again just a few months back. Some of the crew are like part of our family now: people like Haussy (the ship’s electrician from New Zealand), ‘Big John’ (outboard mechanic from Tonga), and Paul (first mate from Canada). It’s upsetting to think I was saying goodbye to them on the quayside in Norway only last month. Now they are facing up to two months in a Russian jail without charge.

nick cobbing at protest

I could have been behind bars in that courtroom yesterday. But instead I can stand with my brave colleagues and show them that they’re not alone. Join me in standing up for the Arctic 30 on October 5. We must show the world that blatant intimidation will not succeed.

I’ll do anything I can to get these guys home as soon as possible. Thanks for being there with me.

Nick Cobbing
Freelance Photographer and part of the Greenpeace community

Written by Martin Lack

1 October 2013 at 15:13

Confusion is understandable but ideological blindness is unforgivable

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Greenland was never called Iceland – even though it is largely surrounded by the ice cap and covered in glaciers.  Iceland, which often has brilliantly green places, is also in the Arctic Circle.  But Iceland is not connected to the rest of the Arctic sea ice.

The Arctic can be confusing. But it’s needs protection.  If you have not already done so, please sign up to save the Arctic, before big oil risks it all for profit, by visiting: www.savethearctic.org.

For the avoidance of any doubt:
According to the 12th Century oral history “Landnámabók”, Iceland got its modern name from the Norwegian Viking Flóki Vilgerðarson when he saw a distant fjord full of sea-ice from a tall mountain.

In the “Icelandic Sagas”, Erik the Red, a Norwegian-born Icelander was exiled for murder. He sailed away to Greenland and supposedly gave it a pleasant name to attract more settlers.

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Confusion may be understandable but ideological blindness is unforgivable. Increasingly obvious climate disruption will not stop until we make serious attempts to stop causing it. Effectively irreversible, it will soon be unstoppable. End of story (in more ways than one).

Written by Martin Lack

2 September 2013 at 12:30

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