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Listening for Justice in Davos

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:41:00 Z

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing” - Arundhati RoyI can hear her too. I have spent my working life trying to help others hear her. I wonder, when attending the annual World Economic Forum meeting this week, in the cold mountain air of Davos, if I will still be able to hear her? Statue of Justice Activity in Davos, 18 Jan 2018Seven women will chair this year’s Davos, but I still wonder if lady justice will rise above the chorus of backroom deals and rhetoric about co-creating a better future. I wonder if we will be able to find the empathy and connectivity to not only debate the most pressing challenges facing the world today, but to also seize the opportunities they present to build a more sustainable and equitable future together.  The time for simply tinkering with the existing system to preserve the status quo is long gone.Of course I will be reaching out in Davos with special attention on gender equality and justice as vital drivers of the changes we need to see in the world. I will appeal to all those I speak with to look inside themselves and ask how they feel about what is happening in the world. I will ask them to identify what they can do and simply implore them to get it done.Each year just ahead of the Davos meeting, the WEF publish a Global Risks Report. Over the last few years, we at Greenpeace, and the broader environmental and social justice movements, have made many of the same points about risks, urgency and solutions The very systems from which corporations and politicians draw their power and profit are breaking down and creating the fractured world we now live in.Extreme weather events (and make no mistake they are more extreme due to climate change) are once again for the second year running, what political and business leaders themselves say is the world’s biggest threat.  They are also ranked close to weapons of mass destruction in terms of potential impact. We have clearly entered the era of alternative WMD – Weather of Mass Destruction.What more relevant place, therefore, than to have this conversation at Davos, where many of the individuals who can ensure we turn the ship in time before hitting the iceberg, are present?Of course we have to appeal to those in power as human beings, as citizens, as parents and grandparents. We must not forget to appeal to their humanity. At the same time they have specific power and responsibility.I will also be promoting a new Greenpeace report “Justice for People and Planet.” It calls on governments to impose effective and binding rules on corporate behavior, to make them accountable toward people and the planet. It shows how, rather than imposing these rules, governments have willingly, or unwillingly, become enablers of corporate impunity. The report’s analysis of 20 specific cases shows how corporations have exploited corporate law, tax and investment treaties, regulatory capture and a series of barriers to justice to profit at the expense of human rights and the environment.The report documents, among others, how differences in legal standards saw VW fined billions in the US for the dieselgate scandal, but escape unpunished in Europe; how Resolute Forest Products and Energy Transfer Partners have used SLAPP suits in an attempt to silence critics; how Glencore pollutes the environment and climate and uses private arbitration courts to pressurize governments; and how Spanish ACS group became an accomplice to an environmental and social catastrophe when it joined the construction of the Renace hydroelectric power project in Guatemala. In response we outline common sense Corporate Accountability Principles that include ‘Holding corporations and those individuals who direct them liable for environmental and human rights violations committed domestically or abroad by companies under their control.’ and ‘Promoting a race to the top by prohibiting corporations from carrying out activities abroad which are banned in their home state for reasons of risks to environme[...]



Which is the Antarctic's top penguin?

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 09:12:00 Z

Not every penguin is up to the challenge of living in the Antarctic, but those that do are a special sort of awesome. Remember, they don’t have the luxury of being able to fly away again if the weather turns bad.In honour of Penguin Awareness Day today and while we’re in the Antarctic campaigning to protect their home*, here’s our countdown of the most flippering fantastic Antarctic penguins.Prepare to be impressed.*And you can join the movement to create the world’s largest protected area and a safe haven for penguins - an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.5. GentooGentoo penguin in the Antarctic, 17 Jan 2018Gentoo penguins are easy to identify by the natty white triangular patch above their eyes, which stretches across the top of their heads. They prefer ice free areas, so they stick to the coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula and offshore islands.Gentoos have sticky-out brush-like tails, and can throw their heads back to make a very loud trumpeting noise, a honk that sounds much more impressive than their 75cm stature would suggest.Plucky little gentoos can make hundreds of dives every day while foraging for fish, krill and small squid, and are thought to be the fastest swimming penguin underwater, reaching speeds up to 36km per hour. 4. MacaroniMacaroni penguins, Macquarie Island, 1 Feb 1990No, it’s not just a type of pasta, it’s also a species of penguin, close cousin to the better-known Rockhopper. The monogamous Macaroni is the most southerly of the crested penguins, doesn’t seem to venture much beyond Antarctic waters, and nests on the Antarctic Peninsula as well as nearby islands. With a splendid yellow mop of a crest, these krill-munching bumbling blond bombshells might seem more suited to political office... 3. ChinstrapChinstrap penguin in the Antarctic, 17 Jan 2018These are the penguins that look like they should be wearing a helmet. Chinstraps can look squat and serious, and that’s fair enough, as their lot is no laughing matter.Monogamous, they return to the same partner and busy breeding site every year, often choosing hard-to-reach rocky islands to keep themselves and their chicks safe – but that safety comes at a cost as they have to navigate perilous rocky cliffs, and stormy Antarctic seas to be able to feed their mate and their young. A helmet might not be a bad idea after all, guys…2. EmperorEmperor Penguin in the Antarctic, 1 Jan 1989Narrowly missing out on the top spot is the daddy of them all – the Emperor penguin. The biggest living penguin species, they can reach a whopping 1.3 metres tall, and weigh up to 40kgs, about the same as a 12 year old child. Not only are they the biggest, but they also dive the deepest, down at least 550m into the icy Antarctic ocean to catch fish and squid.Scientists have recently discovered that emperor penguins are especially well adapted to life underwater thanks to bubbles making them as streamlined and hydrodynamic than any Olympic swimmer. Emperor penguins are proper hardcore - not only do they survive the harsh winter on the continent of Antarctica, but they also breed and raise their fluffy chicks in the middle of it.Massive huddles of stay-at-home dads continuously shuffle around to stay warm and protect their eggs and newly-hatched chicks, whilst the females go off hunting to bring back food. They are undoubtedly the most Antarctic of all the penguins, and definitely win a ‘best dad’ award too.But since you missed out on the prize by a beak, sashay away Emperors!1. AdelieAdélie penguin colony in Antarctica, 17 Jan 2018Top of the pile, is the Antarctic’s very own rockstar penguin – the cute, cuddly, and utterly badass Adelies. Growing to no more than 70cm, these pocket rockets might seem ill-equipped when waddling on land, but are top krill-catching torpedoes in the water.These little penguins are ridiculously adorable, and probably the most penguiny of all penguins, but behind those cute and cuddly looks lies a tough Antarctic specialist. Found all around the Antarctic coast, they breed nowher[...]



We can’t just recycle our way out of the plastic pollution crisis

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:34:00 Z

Plastics are in the air. Not only literally. Everyone's talking about plastic pollution and the need to take action.You don’t need to be conducting a scientific research to see that plastic waste is invading our environment, specially our oceans. With up to 12 million tons of plastic entering the oceans every year it is not surprising that we find plastic everywhere, not only polluting the water and severely impacting marine species, but also accumulating in the food chain.Plastic-Spitting Dragon Protests at Our Oceans Conference in Malta. 5 Oct. 2017.And so people all over the world are building up a movement to transition to a society free of single-use plastic and the throw-away culture it entails. Whether it be by individual action and changing everyday habits, by signing petitions or by creating change in their communities and local businesses. The movement to #BreakFreeFromPlastic is on the rise and there’s no stopping it!But where are we on policy? This week, the European Commission has released the European Plastics Strategy. A document that reflects the vision and the objectives of the Commission on this issue and that will be translated into measures and actions.The European Union (together with countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement) is the second largest producer of plastic after China.In the EU, 25.8 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year, 70% of which is incinerated or dumped in landfill. In the EU, 150,000 - 500,000 tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year.It is estimated that between 75,000 and 300,000 tons of microplastics are released to the environment each year from EU countries. We need to change these numbers. It seems like this new EU strategy echoes this urgency and is certainly something worth praising. But once we get to the details, it seems to go down the usual path.There’s certainly some good ideas, like treating microplastic ingredients (including cosmetic microbeads) as toxic pollution using the EU chemical regulation.  And it sets a target that by 2030, 100% of plastic packaging in the EU market will be reusable or recyclable, with a first legislative proposal in 2018 to tackle some single use items. Promising!But again we find a text too focused on recycling. It’s all over the place. While reduction and reuse is hardly mentioned. Their target won’t be achieved without reducing the production and consumption of plastic packaging and single-use items, much of which are unnecessary in the first place and have already existing alternatives waiting to be scaled up.Deposit return schemes are increasingly being implemented. Bulk stores are blooming in many places, water fountains are coming back to cities and public places, and reusable items are coming into fashion. But alternatives need to be backed up by bold and ambitious political measures.So if you are a European citizen, watch out for changes in our legislations and be ready to ask your national government to ensure single-use plastic item bans are fast tracked as the crisis is urgent and the EU process can take years. It’s a real opportunity for change and we mustn’t let it slip!And even if you’re not in Europe, we still need your support. In a globalised world, whatever happens in the European region will have impact in other regions, through companies headquartered in the EU, trade or by simply, and most importantly, setting an example for others to follow that ambitious measures can be taken to phase-out single-use plastic.While we wait for the next political move, you can still do your part. Whether it be refusing straws, bags, using refillable bottles or taking community action. Every step counts, no matter how big or small. Pick yours and start today to join the movement! We can all #BreakFreeFromPlastic!Elvira Jiménez is EU Plastics Project leader with Greenpeace Spain[...]



How do we make corporations more accountable?

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:31:00 Z

Greenpeace is famous for campaigning against corporations.We made “Choke” out of Coca-Cola's logo to draw attention to the massive plastic pollution impact they have around the world. Polar bear hijacks Coke’s holiday advertising in London. 5 Dec, 2017We stand in the way of imports of dirty cars and expose corporate misbehaviour wherever we encounter it.The public image of Greenpeace is often one of "corporate bashers". We can indeed be pretty harsh and irreverent when calling attention to corporate misdeeds, like in this satire video.  src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CvsNE-DxckE" width="600" height="315">Of course, we don't believe that everyone in a corporation thinks like the man in the video. There are many in business - and many businesses - that want to do the right thing for people and planet. We applaud them.Greenpeace never says no without offering an alternative. We are so committed to getting the solutions our world needs adopted fast, that we are, at times, willing to praise corporations that are still part of the problem.We'll say “well done” to Coca Cola for eliminating climate damaging refrigerants from their cooling equipment because it benefits our climate and future generations. But we do so in the context of us demanding more fundamental change.  And we do so at the very same time as we campaign against them on plastic pollution.We have “no permanent friends or enemies”. That's part of our core values - and it works to achieve change. The work with Coca-Cola to eliminate climate damaging gases, for example, also started as a brand jam when they were providing the “green Sydney Olympics” with cooling equipment that destroyed our climate.Campaign against the use of HFCs in fridges by the Sydney Olympics sponsor, Coca-Cola. 14 Jun, 2000It’s a fact, though, that corporations who misbehave are too rarely punished - and too often have captured our political leaders. The public good - our planet, our future - is the loser.You can see that clearly in our new report Justice for People and Planet, which showcases 20 case studies of corporate capture, collusion and impunity. The report describes how some corporations have abused and violated human and environmental rights around the world. The examples are as shocking as they are diverse, ranging from deforestation, water and air pollution, plastic pollution, or waste dumping, to chemical spills, nuclear disaster, violations of Indigenous rights and more.The report argues that it is the rules that govern our global economy (and lack thereof) that are the real reason behind such corporate misdeeds. Economic globalisation has created significant governance gaps. There are no enforceable social and environmental global rules governing global economic players.That we lack these rules to deliver a sustainable and fair economy worldwide is the result of specific political choices by our leaders. The cases presented in our report show that corporate impunity for environmental destruction and human rights violations is a result of the current economic and legal systems.The failure to protect human rights and the environment is often caused by state institutions and decision-makers being captured by specific corporate interests. This all too often leads to politicians failing to pass binding laws and failing to ensure corporations are held to account.There is a different way. Effective state action could end corporate capture and close the governance gap. Global regulations with teeth are clearly possible – they exist! The World Trade Organisation, for example, can sanction countries that break its rules.We need similarly strong roles for the environment and human rights. That’s why we're putting forward 10 Principles for Corporate Accountability:People and the environment, not corporations, must be at the heart of governance and public life.Public participation should be inherent to all policy making.States should abandon po[...]



Setting sail to protect the Antarctic

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 08:57:57 Z

As I write this, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, is sailing South. For the next three months, the crew will be working alongside a team of campaigners, photographers, film-makers, scientists and journalists from across the globe to build the case for the world’s largest protected area: an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.Weathered Iceberg in the Antarctic Ocean, 2008The Antarctic is home to an abundance of wildlife. Whales, penguins and colossal squid are just a few of the many animals who call it home. And it’s not just important to animals - the health of our oceans sustains our planet, and provides billions of people with their livelihoods. But threats from overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change mean we urgently need a network of sanctuaries across the world to restore our oceans’ health.And this year, we have the chance to create the world’s largest protected area. Which is why we’re taking to the seas.From exploring previously unseen parts of the seabed, to documenting the impact of climate change and the fishing industry on penguin colonies, this promises to be a journey like no other.  We’ll be bringing the charismatic wildlife of the Antarctic closer to you than ever before and introducing you to the passionate scientists who have devoted their lives to protect it. Because we need you to join them.Time is ticking to protect the AntarcticI think it’s fair to say most of us work well to a deadline. Something about having a due date helps focus the mind and gets the creative juices going. Well, we have a new deadline: October 2018.  In just over nine months’ time the Antarctic Ocean Commission meets to discuss whether or not to make history and create the world’s largest protected area. We have until then to convince the members of this Commission to put aside their differences and create a safe haven for emperor penguins, blue whales, colossal squid and all the other Antarctic animals.Adeli Penguins in the Antarctic Ocean, 2008We now have nine months to show leaders across the world how important it is to protect the ocean at a larger scale than ever before – for the wildlife that calls it home, for the sake of preventing the worst impacts of climate change and for the livelihoods of more than half the people who live on the planet, who depend on the ocean for their food.  The case for protecting our oceans has never been stronger, with new science emerging every day about how healthy oceans are vital for our future.There are leaders representing 24 countries and the EU meeting to make this decision. So in the coming months we’ll be sending them a message: the journey to protect our blue planet begins in the Antarctic.Help make historyWhile there’s only a few of us in the team headed south, you can make it a team of millions. You can help persuade politicians across the globe to work together for the oceans.Crew on board the Arctic Sunrise before it leaves for the Antarctic, 2018As we work with scientists to discover new habitats on the Antarctic seabed, as we bear witness to the fishing boats competing against penguins and whales to find the krill they feed on – it’s your support that’s going to make politicians listen.As the Arctic Sunrise sets sail today, I’ll be the first to admit it is a little daunting – not just the prospect of three months sailing in one of the wildest parts of the planet, but also the challenge of getting so many governments to agree with each other!  We’re aiming high because we have to. From the smallest creatures on earth to the largest, we need healthy oceans for the future of life on earth. Right now we have the opportunity to protect an area of the Antarctic Ocean that is six times the size of Italy. We need to do everything we can to seize it.Get started by adding your voice here.Already signed the petition? Share it with your friendsWill McCallum is an Oceans Campaigner with Greenpeace UK[...]



March of the penguins

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 08:58:00 Z

This morning, people around the world are waking up to pictures of penguin sightings across the globe. The penguins have been spotted travelling on trains, arriving at international airports and at iconic landmarks. From Sydney to Buenos Aires and from London to Johannesburg, the question on everybody’s mind - what are they here for?The penguins are part of a new Greenpeace campaign calling for the creation of the largest protected area on earth: a 1.8 million square kilometre ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic. An Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary that would form a safe haven for penguins, whales and seals. A Sanctuary that keeps away industrial fishing vessels sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill, that Antarctic life relies on. An Antarctic Sanctuary that limits the impact of climate change. A Sanctuary that would help secure the health of our oceans.This Sanctuary will only happen if we demand that our leaders protect our shared oceans. This year we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make it happen - the Antarctic Ocean Commission meets to discuss the proposal in October.We need to stand with the penguins and make world leaders listen to us, all of us! Join the movement to protect the Antarctic www.protecttheantarctic.orgAnd share the pictures below if you enjoy them as much as I did.Seeing the sites in Barcelona before hitting the Spanish coast with snorkel and fins.Arriving in Sydney, wasting no time in seeing the iconic Sydney Opera House after the flight.Grabbing some cool shade in Argentina’s Buenos Aires while waiting for a bus. Riding around in a London cab and getting a good look at the beautiful Tower Bridge. Wandering around looking for Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa.Feeling upside down on the other side of the world stopping off in wintry cold Stockholm en-route to the Arctic.Taking in the amazing Gwanghwamun Gate and Gwanghwamun Square in South Korea. Tourist mode on.Ticking off one of the world’s greatest cities, Berlin, to grab another all important suitcase travel sticker.Tagging along on a guided tour of Berlin by the The Brandenburg Gate.Spotted in Hamburg causing a flap amongst the local seagulls.Posing for travellers at Washington National Airport in the United States.Arriving at sunset to Han river, which divides Seoul from east to west.Getting directions to Hamburg’s famous Miniatur Wunderland from a passer by in the hauptbahnhof.Literally hanging out at Caminito street museum in La Boca, Buenos Aires.Akshey Kalra is a campaigner with Greenpeace UK.[...]



A Brief History of Environmentalism

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:32:00 Z

"The goal of life is living in agreement with nature."— Zeno ~ 450 BC (from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers)Homo sapiens roamed the Earth. We can only speculate about how these early humans reacted, but migrating to new habitats appears to be a common response.Jasper National Park in Canada, 2017Ecological awareness first appears in the human record at least 5,000 years ago. Vedic sages praised the wild forests in their hymns, Taoists urged that human life should reflect nature's patterns and the Buddha taught compassion for all sentient beings.In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, we see apprehension about forest destruction and drying marshes. When Gilgamesh cuts down sacred trees, the deities curse Sumer with drought, and Ishtar (mother of the Earth goddess) sends the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh.In ancient Greek mythology, when the hunter Orion vows to kill all the animals, Gaia objects and creates a great scorpion to kill Orion. When the scorpion fails, Artemis, goddess of the forests and mistress of animals, shoots Orion with an arrow.In North America, Pawnee Eagle Chief, Letakots-Lesa, told anthropologist Natalie Curtis that "Tirawa, the one Above, did not speak directly to humans... he showed himself through the beasts, and from them and from the stars, the sun, and the moon should humans learn."Some of the earliest human stories contain lessons about the sacredness of wilderness, the importance of restraining our power, and our obligation to care for the natural world.   Early environmental responseFive thousand years ago, the Indus civilisation of Mohenjo Darro (an ancient city in modern-day Pakistan), were already recognising the effects of pollution on human health and practiced waste management and sanitation. In Greece, as deforestation led to soil erosion, the philosopher Plato lamented, "All the richer and softer parts have fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land remains." Communities in China, India, and Peru understood the impact of soil erosion and prevented it by creating terraces, crop rotation, and nutrient recycling.The Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen began to observe environmental health problems such as acid contamination in copper miners. Hippocrates' book, De aëre, aquis et locis (Air, Waters, and Places), is the earliest surviving European work on human ecology.Advancing agriculture boosted human populations but also caused soil erosion and attracted insect infestations that led to severe famines between 200 and 1200 CE.In 1306, the English king Edward I limited coal burning in London due to smog. In the 17th century, the naturalist and gardener John Evelyn wrote that London resembled "the suburbs of Hell." These events inspired the first ‘renewable’ energy boom in Europe, as governments started to subsidise water and wind power.In the 16th century, the Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted scenes of raw sewage and other pollution emptying into rivers, and Dutch lawyer Hugo Grotius wrote The Free Sea, claiming that pollution and war violate natural law.Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) - Pieter Bruegel the Elder. If you look closely at the mid-ground to the right, you can see a wealthy man dumping money into the sewage. Environmental rightsPerhaps the first real environmental activists were the Bishnoi Hindus of Khejarli, who were slaughtered by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1720 for attempting to protect the forest that he felled to build himself a palace.The 18th century witnessed the dawn of modern environmental rights. After a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin petitioned to manage waste and to remove tanneries for clean air as a public "right" (albeit, on land stolen from Indigenous nations). Later, American artist George Catlin proposed that Indigenous land be protected as a "natural right".At the same time in Britain, Jeremy Benthu, wrote [...]



Is Japan re-thinking its love of coal?

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 15:09:07 Z

Could cracks be appearing for the first time in Japan’s commitment to coal fired power?Greenpeace activists outside the Isogo coal power plant and the Minami-Yokohama gas power plant during the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) meeting in 2014.The environment minister Masaharu Nakagawa has told a news conference in Tokyo that the export of coal-fired power should be controlled because of the threat of climate change caused by CO2 emissions.“There is no doubt that the world is shifting to reducing CO2.  As the Ministry of the Environment, we want to think negatively [about exporting coal power plant to Asia],” he said."There is no doubt that coal-fired power generation is state-of-the-art technology, but the amount of carbon dioxide emissions is about twice that of natural gas, and the world is in the process of suppressing it.”Japan is a major funder of so-called “clean coal” technology in Southeast Asia. Minister Nakagawa said that his department did not support this.“The Environment Ministry is obliged to comply with the government’s overall judgement,” Mr Nakagawa said. “But we do not actively promote [the export of coal-fired power] as the Ministry of the Environment.”Japan has been turning to fossil fuels since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and expects coal to provide a quarter of its electricity by 2030, throwing into doubt the country’s emission reductions as part of the Paris Agreement.  Domestically, Japan plans to build as many as 40 new coal fired power plants. As much as 18 GW of coal is due to come on line between now and 2040, if all permits for new plants are approved. Some independent analysts believe coal could account for as much as 38 percent of electricity by 2030.  The foreign minister Taro Kono has also raised questions about Japan’s commitment to coal. He was speaking after the One Planet summit in Paris, where he met former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who warned the Japanese against relying on fossil fuels for their future energy needs.Mr Kono said Japan could not abandon fossil fuels entirely.  But he acknowledged the potential for renewable energy in Japan, particularly given the plummeting prices and the rapid technological improvements around the world.  “We have to fairly evaluate renewable energy,” he said. Japan stands alone as an OECD country with its bullish promotion of coal-fired power. Internationally, it is ranked as the second biggest public financier of coal fired power plants overseas, pouring as much as 10 billion USD into coal projects through infrastructure and development funds.  All of these projects undermine the stated goal of the Paris Agreement to keep average global temperature rise to well below 2C and strive for 1.5C.The latest report looking at the biggest lenders for coal-fired power plants around the world shows Japanese banks Mizuho and MUFG  are among the top 10 of coal lenders.  The growing international criticism of promoting coal-fired power has so far fallen on deaf ears in the Japanese government. Its official development agency, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), insists that funding and facilitating high-efficiency technology in infrastructure projects overseas is part of Japan’s international commitments to addressing climate change.  But the environment minister has now publicly admitted that even the best of the high-efficiency, low-emission plants emit twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as gas-fired power.The public statements from both ministers are a welcome break from the long-held government ideology that high-efficiency low-emission coal is good for the climate.  It appears that pressure from civil society and world leaders is finally forcing a re-think in the Japanese government.Marina Lou is[...]



2017: Looking back

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 16:01:00 Z

2017 has been a tough year. We’ve witnessed increased anti-immigration sentiment, a shift toward populism, the rise of far right movements and burgeoning inequality.But we also saw people standing up in solidarity with others for justice and peace. There was extreme weather that we’ve never seen before: wildfires ravaged southern Europe, hurricanes battered the Americas, and droughts spread around the world.Civil society groups and non governmental organisations saw the biggest crackdown on human rights and civil liberties in a generation.Despite the grim realities on the ground and in cyberspace, Greenpeace staff and supporters continued to find moments to speak truth to power.We continued to fight for a future that is fair, sustainable and benefits everyone, not just a few.We look to the new year with humility but confidence, resilience and hope.These victories are made possible with the help of our supporters, volunteers, staff and communities around the globe. Our wins demonstrate the power of collaboration. They show that we are stronger together and together we can continue to grow the movement for a just, peaceful and sustainable future. Here is what we all achieved in 2017:JanuaryOn Trump’s fifth day in office, Greenpeace US deployed a 70ft banner on a construction crane near the White House that read "RESIST" calling for those who want to resist Trump’s attacks on environmental, social, economic and educational justice to contribute to a better America. This one act received great media coverage and created momentum in the RESIST movement.FebruaryThe government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced it would cancel two illegal logging licenses following an investigation by Greenpeace Africa. The forest team probe exposed two logging licences that were given illegally to influential persons. They did this despite a direct threat to their lives.March Greenpeace Southeast Asia revealed HSBC - one of the biggest banks in the world - was funding destructive palm oil companies. We put pressure on HSBC to stop funding deforestation and contributing to human rights violations in Indonesia for palm oil. In March HSBC published a new “no deforestation” policy in a first step toward sustainable palm oil finance and saving the world’s tropical rainforests. HSBC revised its Agricultural Commodities Policy to include “No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation” (NDPE) commitments in its financing of palm oil firms.In Poland, after a more than 2-year campaign run by GP Poland/Central and Eastern Europe and the local community, the regional environmental authority RDOS issued a formal decision to not grant the environmental permit for the Ościsłowo open cast lignite mine (central Poland) planned by the lignite utility PAK. GP Poland was a formal party to the procedure and provided legal coordination, commissioned and coordinated expert input and ran the grassroots, media and political campaign. Though they won the fight, they expect an appeal.AprilWith more than 170 peaceful protests, marches and festivals in more than 60 countries around the world, the growing movement to Break Free from fossil fuels showed it was tireless, unified and unstoppable. The demonstrations took place over three weeks, with more than 200 civil society groups, communities and more than 61,000 people calling for an end to fossil fuels. They called to limit global warming to 1.5°C and they demanded an immediate and just transition to renewable energy.Greenpeace East Asia launched a campaign to extend the microplastic ban to all cosmetics and personal care products. 759 stores announced an immediate ban on all products containing microplastic.MayIn the Philippines, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) took on the scaling up work of the climate resiliency project which was piloted by Greenpea[...]



2018: Tomorrow we rise

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 15:49:00 Z

What do you do when you’re confronted with the darkness of powerful, but single-minded and ignorant institutions which continue to destroy our planet with impunity?You shine a light so strong it cuts through the grey clamour of that greedy power and reveals a single word:We've all been reading the headlines. The onslaught of news stories; lamely quitting globally accepted climate agreements, the banging of war drums for cash, the accusations of sexual misconduct, the corporate bullying, the wanton exploitation of our precious planet – it has all been disheartening and exhausting.Yet, we did not back down. We did not succumb to disillusionment and apathy.We have been equal to each and every challenge that has been set against us. Each and every wilful misrepresentation of what we stand for, each and every attempt to ignore the fierce fires and storm warnings of a planet under siege and the myriad of cynical incentives to consume, consume, consume. These false narratives and attempts to hijack our future have not deterred us. Instead, they have galvanised us and drawn us closer together in a common acknowledgement of what we all need to do:Resist and rise.  Part of effective resistance is to look ahead. Look at the possibilities that have opened up in front of us because of the challenges we all face. Movements, like #metoo, have reminded us how a single act of courage can be contagious and can lead to much bigger changes in society. Rising up means moving quickly to spot opportunities and embrace and encourage solutions. The rapid pace at which wind and solar energy is marginalising those who once tried to marginalise us for daring to dream of a healthier world is an opportunity we all must seize. Rising is about making sure we keep this momentum going as much as it means innovating new ways to make sure our demands are met.Training young Syrians and Palestinians in solar energy technologyWhen politicians want to act against climate change, they can leap over the fossil fuel puppets standing in their way. We’ve learned how to encourage and empower real leaders. At home, we’re learning the backstory of the food that ends up on our plates and how that story is either saturated with the chemicals of agribusiness, or infused with the healthy nourishment of sustainable, healthy eco-agriculture. Yes, we can feed the planet in a more healthy and ecologically-friendly way.We also have learned that in resistance, all acts of courage are equal. One man taking a knee during the anthem of an American football game is just as courageous as collecting the waste on a beach in the Philippines. People of all ages putting their bodies in front of logging machinery in an ancient Polish forest is as powerful as a 12 year-old girl in Canada who asked us, “How do I begin making the world right?” Kids for forest protestCourage begins by questioning a contrived and imposed reality. The struggle for that 12 year-old’s future is as much about challenging what we’ve been hard-wired to believe about ourselves – that we need to buy things to feel good, that we are powerless against massive institutions – as it is taking an unequivocal stand against the seemingly powerful entities that want to rip this one and only planet apart to fill their wallets and cling to power.These, after all, are the very same few people whose falsities we’ve refused to accept as the norm. These are the people trying to convince us that we are powerless. It is their barometer we’re using to measure our self-worth. We know who they are now, so tomorrow we know how to resist them.Activists conduct a beach clean up and brand audit in the PhillippinesTomorrow we will continue to reclaim that barometer as we learn to regain trust and love in ourselves and every other living thing. This is how ye[...]