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Latest news from Greenpeace
letzte Aktualisierung: 30.04.2017 22:36:37
  • Major palm oil company promises to protect forests

    There's been a major development in our campaign to protect Indonesia's forests.

    IOI, one of the largest palm oil traders in the world, has just made a significant commitment to protect rainforests. If put into practice, this would address the problems on the company's own plantations and set new standards for the whole industry. 

    This result comes after many years of campaigning by Greenpeace supporters, who persuaded big brands to stop buying palm oil from IOI until it showed it was serious about safeguarding forests. Pressure from people around the world was instrumental in pushing IOI towards these new commitments that go well beyond what other traders have agreed to. All eyes are now on them to follow IOI's lead.

    IOI has not yet addressed the environmental and social impacts of its palm oil, but it has published an action plan and agreed to independent third-party verification of its progress in one year’s time. Greenpeace expects IOI to follow through on these commitments and will be watching it closely.

    A Greenpeace investigator documents the devastation of a company-identified 'No Go' area of peatland in the PT Bumi Sawit Sejahtera (IOI) oil palm concession in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. This area of the concession suffered extensive fires in 2015.A Greenpeace investigator documents the devastation of a company-identified 'No Go' area of peatland in the PT Bumi Sawit Sejahtera (IOI) oil palm concession in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. This area of the concession suffered extensive fires in 2015.

    Losing customers

    IOI is the third-largest palm oil trader in the world, buying and selling from hundreds of other companies. It has its own landbanks in Indonesia and Malaysia where it had been replacing forests with plantations and coming into conflict with local communities.

    Since 2008, we have been exposing how IOI has been linked to the destruction of valuable forest and peatland areas, exploitation of plantation workers including reports of child labour, and extensive fires on its land contributing to the thick pollution that often swathes large parts of Southeast Asia. And because IOI buys so much palm oil from hundreds of other growers and traders, it was linked to environmental and social problems happening on land controlled by those companies. 

    Over the years, IOI has produced a string of commitments about ending the destruction, but none of them were properly implemented and failed to make a difference on the ground. Then in March 2016, IOI was suspended by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) following a complaint by environmental organisation Aidenvironment, which meant it could no longer call any of its palm oil 'sustainable'. IOI even sued the RSPO about the suspension, although later dropped the case.

    The Greenpeace thermal airship A.E. Bates flies over the San Francisco Bay area near a facility where palm oil trader IOI imports its palm oil in the San Francisco Bay area. The Greenpeace thermal airship A.E. Bates flies over the San Francisco Bay area near a facility where palm oil trader IOI imports its palm oil in the San Francisco Bay area, in October 2016. 

    Many of its major customers, such as Unilever and Nestlé, stopped buying from IOI and refused to go back even when the RSPO suspension was lifted a few months later. Some companies needed more persuading - General Mills, makers of Betty Crocker cake mixes, were happy to continue trading with IOI until thousands of Greenpeace supporters emailed the CEO to point out how irresponsible this was.

    When activists blockaded IOI's refinery in Rotterdam, it was to remind the big brand companies that it was still a palm oil provider they should avoid. And delivering 300,000 signatures from around the world to their head offices in Kuala Lumpur took the campaign right to the company's front door.

    Greenpeace activists close off access for all imports and exports from palm oil trader IOI in the harbour of Rotterdam, palm oil’s gateway into Europe.Greenpeace activists close off access for all imports and exports from palm oil trader IOI in the harbour of Rotterdam, palm oil’s gateway into Europe, in September 2016.

    Wider impacts

    Losing such big customers put IOI under enormous pressure and was instrumental in bringing about this change in direction. But if so many previous commitments have not been fulfilled, why should this time be any different?

    Today's announcement goes much further than anything IOI has promised before. It has said it will commission independent verification of how well forests and the rights of workers and communities are being protected on its own land. IOI has also committed to resolve long-standing conflicts with local communities and respect the rights of plantation workers.

    One of the most important points is that IOI will be actively monitoring its suppliers to ensure they too are safeguarding forests and people. Any company selling palm oil to IOI will need to prove it is protecting forests, so the impacts should spread far beyond IOI's own operations.

    The big prize here is that IOI will be able to put pressure on the other big palm oil traders - Wilmar, Musim Mas, Golden Agri Resources and others - to step up their efforts. The traders sell palm oil to each other and other traders will need to interrogate their own suppliers to ensure IOI does not receive dirty palm oil.

    Deforestation is still a huge problem for the palm oil industry and the traders need to act immediately to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. They need to publish their own rigorous plans showing how they will screen their suppliers and cut off those that are continuing to destroy forests.

    The proof, as always, is in how well these promises are put into practice. There is still a lot of work to do before IOI is completely free from deforestation. We will be monitoring progress closely and won’t hesitate to challenge IOI if we think it’s not keeping its word.

    Right now, enormous thanks must go to everyone around the world who helped achieve this important breakthrough and brought an end to deforestation in Indonesia that little bit closer. 

    Annisa Rahmawati is a Senior Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia

  • Can you imagine a world without bees?

    I can’t imagine a world without bees. These fantastic little insects are not only a vital part of natural ecosystems, they also play a crucial role in food production.

    Close up of bumblebee on Phacelia flowers, bee friendly plant and used as green manure. 22 Jul, 2013 © Axel Kirchhof / Greenpeace

    Worldwide, three out of four of our food crops depend on pollinators like bees, butterflies and other small creatures. In Europe, 84% of all cultivated plants are pollinated by insects - primarily bees.

    Three quarters of our food depend on bees and other pollinators - graphic

    Bees and other pollinators have a huge part to play in our food supply and the global economy. Pollination affects both the quantity and quality of crops. Unsurprisingly, inadequate pollination of certain crops results in lower yields. The contribution of bees in global crop pollination is estimated at €265 billion.

    But industrial agriculture threatens bees by depriving them of valuable food sources and exposing them to toxic chemicals. As a result, bees and other pollinators are under serious threat. This puts our food supply and ecological balance at risk.

    We have a unique opportunity to change this. In March, the European Commission proposed an almost complete ban on three bee-harming pesticides. Our governments are voting on a full ban of harmful pesticides as soon as May. We need to make sure that all these bee-harming pesticides are banned, now. And we want all other chemical pesticides to be properly tested for their impact on bees, before they’re put into industrial use.

    Politicians need to hear our buzz and act. They can’t play with our food any longer. Please act now to save the bees and other pollinators.

    Tell our politicians to ban all bee-harming pesticides.

    Luís Ferreirim is the ecological farming campaigner at Greenpeace Spain

  • I saw the plunder of our oceans with my own eyes

    Four days, four cases of illegal fishing in Sierra Leone

    It was just before lunchtime on the Esperanza when a dot appeared unexpectedly on our radar. The onboard team had been discussing the four kilograms of shark fins we had found on the Italian flagged ship the F/V Eighteen a few hours earlier. But this interruption seemed worth pursuing.

    Normally a fishing vessel would have its Automatic Identification System (AIS) turned on, and we would be able to tell immediately what sort of boat it is. This boat did not. We would have to get closer to find out what it was and what it was doing.

    As we approached, the silhouette of a small fishing vessel gradually entered our line of sight. As we got closer we saw its rusty sides and messy deck. We also spotted that it was obscuring the name of the boat with a piece of an old net, illegal under almost all fishing regulations.

    GP0STQP23Inspection of Korean Fishing Vessel in Sierra LeoneKorean fishing boat CONA is placed under arrest after a high sea control by Sierra Leone fishery inspectors where illegal fishing gear was found on board. In the picture CONA's name is hidden behind fishing net in an attempt to hide the vessel's identity.  © Pierre Gleizes / Greenpeace
    The Cona, a piece of old fishing net hiding the boat name. 15 April, 2017

    The boat’s first reaction to our approach was to try to escape. Realising, however, that this was clearly impossible, the crew accepted our request to board with Sierra Leone fishery authority officials.

    As we readied to board the vessel, its crew started to clean up their boat. They began by removing the grimy net which covered the boat’s name. Four letters emerged from underneath - Cona. The Cona.

    Our team back on the Esperanza’s bridge looked up the details. A Korean vessel - not so common in these areas. The captain was Chinese, the chief mate Korean and the rest of the staff local West Africans. Thankfully we had Chinese staff with us who could communicate with the captain.

    Despite their clean up, the ship was in an appalling state. Nets, rubbish and dead fish were strewn over the rusty deck. We found out that the tiny, 21m long boat was home to at least 20 workers, living in incredibly cramped and unhygenic conditions.

    Inspection of Korean Fishing Vessel in Sierra LeoneKorean fishing boat CONA is placed under arrest after a high sea control by Sierra Leone fishery inspectors where illegal fishing gear was found on board. In the picture the inspector checks the mesh size of a hidden net found on top of the wheelhouse, captain is on the left.  © Pierre Gleizes / Greenpeace
    The crew look on as an inspector measures the Cona’s net. 15 April, 2017

    The inspection team requested to measure the boat’s nets. Under Sierra Leonean law, the mesh for the nets for this type of boat must measure at least 60mm, or else they will be catching fish they are not licensed to catch. The Cona’s nets measured just 53mm, significantly smaller.

    It was a clear case of illegal fishing, and the inspectors from the Sierra Leone fishery authorities confiscated the captain and crew’s passports and ordered them back to port. The boat will face fines.

    Two days later we came across two Chinese vessels, the Fu Hai Yu 1111 and the Fu Hai Yu 2222. We had been monitoring them all night and discovered that they were drifting in waters far deeper than they would be able to fish in.

    We launched Daisy, the Esperanza’s ‘rib’ - one of the speedy inflatable boats - in the morning and began our approach to the vessel.

    As soon as we boarded the 1111, the captain began acting suspiciously. He presented us with a brand new net - more suspicion-raising than proof of innocence. When the inspector saw it, he knew immediately that this net had never been used and began searching for the nets the vessel was actually using.

    After some further searching we found two other nets, this time clearly well-used. One was hidden in a locked cabinet, the other hidden in the boat’s freezer room. Their mesh size was 51mm - another clear infraction.

    Inspection of Chinese Fishing Vessel in Sierra LeoneHigh sea control of Chinese fishing trawler FU HAI YU 1111 by Sierra Leone fishery inspectors. The boat has been arrested and sent to Freetown after illegal fishing gear was discovered on board. In the picture, local crew pulls out on deck an illegal net which was hidden in one the fish hold.  © Pierre Gleizes / GreenpeaceCrew aboard the Fu Hai Yu 1111 pull out one of the hidden nets. 17 April, 2017

    The freezer room of the 1111 also contained a mountain of 70 bags of shark carcasses, not illegal if caught as bycatch, but a horrifying reminder of the destruction industrial fishing leaves in its wake.

    The 2222 were more honest with us, but we found similar results. In addition to the net size infringement, both vessels were lacking a proper logbook and both claimed that they had been offloading catch in Liberian waters, despite not having the correct license to do so on board.

    The two boats were ordered back to port and will also face fines.

    Inspection of Chinese Fishing Vessel in Sierra LeoneHigh sea control of Chinese fishing trawler FU HAI YU 2222 by Sierra Leone fishery inspectors. The boat has been arrested and sent to Freetown after illegal fishing gear was discovered on board during a joint operation with Greenpeace. The Esperanza is in the background.  © Pierre Gleizes / GreenpeaceThe Fu Hai Yu 2222, with the Esperanza in the background. 17 April, 2017

    It wasn’t just Chinese and Korean vessels we found in the seas of Sierra Leone. There was also the Italian-flagged vessel which had four kilograms of shark fins onboard. Unfortunately this is not yet illegal in Sierra Leone - if it had been they too would have been sent straight back to port. This is, however, a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. Greenpeace will report these breaches to the relevant EU and Italian authorities.

    Inspection of Italian Fishing Vessel in Sierra LeoneBag of shark fins found on board, illegal bycatch under European laws, during a high sea control by fishery inspector on the EIGHTEEN PA 1345 ITA 25454, Spanish trawler fishing boat.  © Pierre Gleizes / GreenpeaceShark fins found on board the F/V Eighteen, an Italian-flagged boat. 15 April, 2017

    It was the plight of our precious oceans that compelled me to join Greenpeace. Sadly, in the six years I have been working on this issue, many of the problems still exist.

    I have seen fishing boats in flagrant disregard of the law. I have seen crew applaud their boat’s arrest, knowing the wrongs of their captain’s orders. And I have heard people on land across West Africa speak about their suffering.

    It is time to act. We must get the message across that West African governments need to cooperate to manage these oceans, for the oceans and for the people.

    Ahmed Diame, oceans campaigner with Greenpeace Africa

  • Chernobyl: lessons not learned

    A greyish brick building with a bust of Lenin in front of it. A school in Stariye Bobovichi in the Bryansk region of Russia. There could be something nostalgic about this picture, were it not for the feeling of danger it gives. When Greenpeace Russia took soil samples near the school and local club there was clear evidence of radioactive waste.

    GP0STPPBOStatue at a School in Bryansk Region in RussiaA school in Starye Bobovichi, Russia, known in the region for academic excellence, still contains areas of elevated radioactive contamination 30 years after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  © Greg McNevin / GreenpeaceStatue at a School in Bryansk Region in Russia. 2 March 2016

    Activists from 50 towns and villages took the results to Russia’s Supreme court last June, but the court sided with the government. There was hope that the authorities would at least quarantine the area near the school where children walk and play. But they did nothing.

    Measuring Radiation in Village Affected by Chernobyl DisasterIn the beginning of 2016 these new trees have been planted near the village hall. Greenpeace campaigner shows Natalia Kundik, a member of a district council from Starye Bobovichi village, that the radiation level near small trees is almost 10 times higher than normal.   On the eve of Chernobyl 30th anniversary, Greenpeace arranged a tour for international media to witness the ongoing consequences of the disaster in the settlements of Bryansk region heavily affected with radiation.  © Greenpeace / Liza UdilovaMeasuring Radiation in Village Affected by Chernobyl Disaster. 8 April 2016

    Stariye Bobovichi is one of thousands of communities in Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus officially declared contaminated by Chernobyl. Recently, however, the Russian government upgraded the status of this village, claiming it had improved. This claim deprived the residents of this village of the appropriate medical, social insurance and compensation they would get as victims of the disaster.

    Council Member from Village Affected by Chernobyl DisasterNatalia Kundik, member of a district council from Starye Bobovichi village, tells how she applied to a Russian Supreme Court against decision to exclude her settlement from evacuation zone.  On the eve of Chernobyl 30th anniversary, Greenpeace arranged a tour for international media to witness the ongoing consequences of the disaster in the settlements of Bryansk region heavily affected with radiation.  © Greenpeace / Liza UdilovaCouncil Member from Village Affected by Chernobyl Disaster. 8 April, 2016

    Where responsibilities shrivel, irresponsibility grows. And the State that united its nuclear facilities into the mighty Rosatom corporation is further developing its risky business both at home and abroad.

    In the centre of St. Petersburg, a floating nuclear power plant (NPP) is under construction. Its two reactors will be soon fuelled and activated. Any nuclear accident in this city would have tragic consequences for its five million inhabitants.

    Floating NPP in St. PetersburgA floating NPP (burgundy red vessel with yellow stripes) moored in the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg.  In the centre of St.Petersburg, Russia’s second biggest city, Rosatom is building a floating NPP “Akademik Lomonosov”. Rostechnadzor, Russia’s nuclear regulator, has confirmed that the reactor will be fuelled and started at the Baltic Shipyard. Greenpeace demands from the city governor to immediately call off his permission for these operations and stop the dangerous experiment. The FNPP is planned to be towed to Chukotka in the Far East and installed off the town of Pevek.  © Dmitri Sharomov / GreenpeaceFloating NPP in St. Petersburg. 21 March, 2017

    The country’s nuclear regulator, recently told Greenpeace that this is “beyond its responsibility”. This is frightening, given that, after Chernobyl, no nuclear power could be built closer than 100 km to a city with more than two million inhabitants. In 2014 this ban was lifted. Greenpeace has been working alongside the people responsible for dealing with the catastrophe, like the Chernobyl Union.

    “We are absolutely against the floating NPP,” said Vasily Nayda, head of St. Petersburg’s branch of the Chernobyl Union. “The Leningrad NPP near the city, which has the same type of reactors as Chernobyl, is enough for us, we don’t want another one.”

    The head of a local group of the St. Petersburg Chernobyl Union, Evgeny Frolov, points out that — unlike 1986, when, for 25 years after, the people responsible for dealing with the catastrophe were forbidden by the State to disclose their data — they now feel that they can no longer hide the truth.  

    Floating NPP in St. PetersburgA floating NPP (burgundy red vessel with yellow stripes) moored in the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg.  In the centre of St.Petersburg, Russia’s second biggest city, Rosatom is building a floating NPP “Akademik Lomonosov”. Rostechnadzor, Russia’s nuclear regulator, has confirmed that the reactor will be fuelled and started at the Baltic Shipyard. Greenpeace demands from the city governor to immediately call off his permission for these operations and stop the dangerous experiment. The FNPP is planned to be towed to Chukotka in the Far East and installed off the town of Pevek.  © Dmitri Sharomov / GreenpeaceFloating NPP in St. Petersburg. 24 March, 2017

    The floating nuclear power plant is only one of many dangerous schemes Rosatom is undertaking across the globe. They are speeding up their international projects in more countries, promising financial benefits, incentives, advanced technologies and ‘guaranteed safety’. But an in-depth analysis of the risks of Rosatom’s international projects paints a very different picture.

    Rosatom’s profit-driven conceit ignores past disasters while not taking enough care to prevent future ones. They have forgotten about Chernobyl’s lessons. But, we have learned from Chernobyl and we will resist this dangerous irresponsibility and say no to the nuclear industry.

    Please share this blog to expose and stop the new dangerous plans.


    Rashid Alimov is a nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace Russia

  • Priorities? Global military spending just hit US$1.6 trillion

    Military spending worldwide is going up.

    2016 has seen governments around the world spend US$1.686 trillion on their militaries according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Spending has grown in the USA and Europe.   

    This is an increase of 0.4% compared to 2015, but is also the beginning of a dangerous upward trend. Increases are expected to continue over the coming years. US President Trump already announced a 9% increase for the 2018 US military budget. China has also announced a 7% increase in 2017. European countries budgets are already increasing and are set to go even further in the coming years. 

    Some politicians and those who are in the business of war (manufacturing and selling weapons) say this is necessary. After all, look at the world we live in! It’s a dangerous world out there, they say. And to be sure, global instability is on the rise, nuclear war has become thinkable again, and millions still suffer the burden of war and conflict on a daily basis.  

    But to suggest increasing what we spend on weapons has anything to do with making us safe is wrong and misleading on many levels.

    It is hardly the lack of military hardware that is making our world a dangerous place - quite the contrary. Military spending worldwide is already huge, especially when compared with other forms of government spending. The US spends more than three times as much on weapons than China, which is the second biggest spender. This  massive spending has not led to peace.

    Peace Fleet protest against the presence of the nuclear warship USS MIDWAY in Yokosuka, Japan, in 1991.Peace Fleet protest in 1991 against the presence of the nuclear warship USS MIDWAY in Yokosuka, Japan.

    Real security does not come from tanks and bombs. Real security is human security. Improving quality of life, lifting people out of poverty, investing in health and education and crucially, protecting the environment that sustains us - those are the policies that deliver security. It's widely acknowledged, including by militaries around the world, that climate change already impacts millions around the world and poses an increased risk to global security –  even creating an environment where terrorism can thrive according to a new report

    And yet the amounts spent on supporting human security is ridiculously low when compared with the amount spent on waging wars. The average taxpayer in the United States paid US$14,051 in federal income taxes in 2016. Of that US$3,290.02 went to the military.  An average taxpayer paid US$91 per year for nuclear weapons, US$170 to Lockheed Martin and only US$10 for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    Surely, it’s time for new priorities.

    Greenpeace activists from Belgium climb over the perimeter fence of the air force base in Kleine Brogel to protest against the presence of US nuclear weapons stored at the site.

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children” -  President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Politicians worldwide have been ramping up military rhetoric. They think war, or the threat of one, can help them in the polls. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book which both dictators and democratically elected leaders use to sway public opinion.

    It's happening now. “We got to start winning wars again,” said President Trump about his drive to increase the US’s military budget. But there are no winners in war, only losers. And they come at a huge cost: financial, but more crucially, human lives, broken societies and economies, and wrecked environments. The only winners are those who are in the business of war. If you’re a military contractor, war means business, and right now, business is good.

    It is time to #Movethemoney away from warplanes, guns and bombs. #Movethemoney to education, healthcare and the exponentially growing renewable energy sector which provides energy, jobs and peace. #Movethemoney to diplomacy and development, rather than the current action-reaction cycle approach to foreign policy.

    Instead of ‘winning wars’, we must start building peace. It's time we get our priorities right.

    Check out and follow the Global Campaign on Military Spending for more.

    Jen Maman is the Senior Peace Advisor with Greenpeace International

  • We can change the world with a fashion revolution

    100 billion garments are manufactured every year. Fast fashion companies like H&M, Zara, Primark and Uniqlo have helped double worldwide clothing production in the last 15 years. New collections hit stores every week. We’re wearing clothes for half the time we used to and throw them away much faster, adding to the billions of waste clothes that already rot in landfills.  

    The consequence: we don’t value our clothes anymore. As prices plummet, more of us can afford to buy new clothes without a second thought. Even though many people admit that they already own too much, we also confess that we keep buying new clothes, according to surveys conducted in Europe and Asia.

    Clothes shopping is no longer something that we really need to do. Instead, it’s a way we deal with stress, gain confidence and find self worth, connection and happiness — however short-lived. This is the dangerous addiction of fast-fashion.

    Loved clothes last

    We can break this spiral of over-consumption if we rethink our relationships to the clothes we already own. Happiness and confidence doesn’t have to come from buying more and more. We can enjoy finding new creative and stylish ways to dress ourselves — and actually have more fun with it when we don’t support a system that is exploiting people and nature. We can rediscover the true nature of fashion.

    Fashion Revolution

    This week, people around the globe are showcasing practical ways how we can create a more sustainable fashion future. As part of the Fashion Revolution, some are teaching sewing and  upcycling; others will help you repair and mend your clothes, or swap old outfits for new with people from your community. Fashion lovers are sharing how they buy and sell their clothes at flea-markets and secondhand stores.

    These are the Haulternatives we can all choose from right now. Check out the event schedule and see what’s going on near you — or organise your own.

    Join the Haulternative challenge

    If you are a fashion lover, take part in the Haulternative challenge to try out ways to make the most of what we already have. Or use the alternative fashion map to flag and find second-hand and vintage shops, DIY and craft spaces, repair shops, flea markets and clothes swapping parties near you.

    You can also share a love story of your favourite clothing piece with the world to inspire others to love their own clothes longer.

    Fashion Revolution Infographic

    When you keep your clothes longer, doubling their life from one to two years, you reduce their carbon emissions by 24%. By being more conscious about our clothes, we can save not just money, but precious water and raw materials. We can help keep chemicals and pesticides from harming rivers, soil and wildlife, and cut our use of fossil fuels. Together we can reduce the textile industry’s burden on the planet.  

    Join the Fashion Revolution!

     

    Lu Yen Roloff leads communications for the global Detox My Fashion campaign at Greenpeace Germany.

  • Piece by piece, Brazil is tearing up protections for the Amazon

    From the rotten meat scandal, to the ongoing corruption investigations, it’s hard to find any uplifting news from Brazil. The country is not only going through an economic crisis, but also a political one that’s shaking the foundation of its democracy.

    Meanwhile, the Amazon rainforest is being torn apart. Last week, politicians with deep ties to agribusiness pushed through two proposals that would reduce the protection of 1.1 million hectares of the Amazon — an area bigger than all of Jamaica. By recategorizing these areas (known as Conservation Units), agribusiness, mining and energy industries would be more able to destroy the forest, as some levels of protections are less restricted to economical activities than others.

    Manicoré district, Amazonas state. Recent deforestation in Santo Antonio de Matupi district, next to the Aripuanã National Forest and the Area of Environmental Protection of Manicoré Fields. 19 Feb, 2017  © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

    These proposals are not alone. They are part of what is being called “the package of evil” in Brazil — a set of bills aiming to slash social rights and environmental policies across the whole country. This package also includes an attack on other Amazon protected areas — a proposal that would completely remove one Conservation Unit from the Amazon and reduce four others by 40% only in the state of Amazonas. These changes would benefit landowners and corporations — not the Brazilian public.

    Unfortunately, amidst political turbulence in the country — including the most recent corruption scandal involving almost one third of the Senate, ministers and 39 members of Congress — these latest attacks on the Amazon rainforest have barely made the news.

    This is a crucial moment in history. We are already facing catastrophic climate disruption, and deforestation is the Amazon is on the rise again. By trying to strip the Amazon of vital protections, Brazil is both harming the forest and the communities who live there, and impacting our chance to create a stable climate.

    Aripuanã National Forest, Novo Aripuanã Amazonas state in the Brazilian Amazon. Recent deforestation. 19 Feb, 2017  © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

    Share this story and shine a light on this greedy political maneuver. Now is the time for Brazil to act in defense of the forest and the climate — not assist in their destruction.

    Diego Gonzaga is a Content Editor at Greenpeace USA.

  • Why are women more impacted by climate change?

    Women are more likely to feel the impacts of climate change. This is a fact.

    As a woman and environmental activist living in the Arab World, I often find myself focused on peace building, development, corruption and human security. I’ve realised that we won't succeed in making a positive change on any of these issues if we don’t prioritise women. 

    Ghalia Fayad, Arab World Programme Leader Greenpeace Mediterranean, aboard the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, during The Sun Unites Us tour promoting solar power in the Arab world.  © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / GreenpeaceGhalia Fayad, speaking on board the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. 4 November, 2016

    In my work, I’ve seen how women in developing countries are treated differently. We face huge inequality when it comes to job opportunities and education, as well as facing socio-cultural difficulties with basic things, like travelling alone and legal custody over our children.

    A recent study revealed that by 2050 the number of people fleeing the impacts of climate change could reach 150 million. 80% of these climate refugees will be women and children. Women who live in rural areas and in the global South - places like Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as the Arab region - will be the hardest hit by drought, famine and extreme weather.

    Here are some of the reasons behind this disparity:

    1. Women in developing countries tend to spend more time on domestic labour, giving them less time for schooling or paid work. This means that they have less access than men to the land, money, and technology that would improve their chances to adapt to climate change.

    2. Five times more women die from natural disasters than men. Cultural constraints on women’s mobility hurt their ability to escape in time. Their lack of assets puts women at a financial disadvantage and make them more vulnerable to disasters. In the aftermath, women are placed in unsafe, crowded shelters, where they face sexual harassment, mental torture, verbal abuse, and domestic violence.

    3. Increased droughts and desertification are at the heart of the food security challenge due to reduced harvests and the loss of income this brings. While this affects entire communities, women in rural areas represent 45-80% of the agricultural workforce and are worse off when droughts strike.

    As the energy ministers of the powerful G7 club of industrialised countries gather, Greenpeace Italy activists greet them with a giant thermometer, urging them to further speed up the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and to reject the US administration’s attempted roll back on climate action.  © Francesco Alesi / Greenpeace
    Activist protests at G7 meeting in Rome. 10 April, 2017

    While it might sound like women are victims in this crisis, around the world, women are becoming positive agents of change too.

    Despite the fact that we are often underrepresented in drafting policy and strategies to tackle the causes and impacts of climate change, many women are taking action to protect the environment, their families and livelihoods. Women are often most connected to their communities and family and have a huge, unique potential to contribute to create real and lasting change, even on a small scale.  

    On International Women’s Day this year, we helped a hard-working women’s co-operative to shift to solar energy. They freed themselves from relying on expensive, dirty energy and the chronic electricity shortages that came from their old diesel generator. The benefits of solar energy meant they increased their business’s productivity, allowing them to think about expanding further and setting up new food production outlets.

    Most importantly for these women, steady productivity now means increased family time, and that has no price.

    Thanks to the incredible efforts of a local women’s club, the remote village of Irig N'Tahala, in Morocco's southern Tiznit province, now has a decentralised intelligent solar energy network with digital distribution. It has given Tahala’s residents a surge in power and confidence by providing them with clean, free energy.

    Documentation of a solar energy project in the remote southern village of Tahala, Souss-Massa-Drâa region, Morocco.  © Zakaria Wakrim / GreenpeaceInstalled solar panels on roof in Irig N'Tahala. 11 November, 2016

    Every woman has a role in helping the world Break Free from fossil fuels and shift to a renewable energy future. By supporting local activism and sharing women's stories, wherever we are, we can help put pressure on governments to support developing nations and grassroots organisations with climate mitigation. We can help the women most at risk to adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change. Because we must.


    Ghalia Fayad is the Greenpeace Mediterranean Arab World Programme Leader. This blog post is adapted from a talk given at the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) that was held in London on March 22nd

  • Pesticides are not needed to feed the world, UN says

    “Pesticides, which have been aggressively promoted, are a global human rights concern, and their use can have very detrimental consequences on the enjoyment of the right to food.”

    This is the catchy introduction of the new report published recently by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver.

    As of End-2017, 3 Agro-companies Will Dominate the Global Agro-system. 21 Feb, 2017 © Mitja Kobal / Greenpeace

    Further shocking details are revealed throughout the report. Examples such as “pesticides are responsible for an estimated 200.000 acute poisoning deaths each year, 99% of which occur in developing countries”. As the report also states, this has to do with double standards, because many of the hazardous pesticides banned in Western countries are still allowed to be used in other parts of the world. If a pesticide is considered toxic, it should be considered toxic everywhere, regardless of country or continent. Due to these double standards, corporations benefit from the different legislations because if their products are banned in one country, they can continue to sell them in other markets.

    Systemic denial and unethical marketing tactics

    The report also strongly criticises large corporations in the sector, accusing them of "systematic denial [...] of the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals, and aggressive, unethical marketing tactics remain unchallenged.”

    “The pesticide industry’s efforts to influence policymakers and regulators have obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions globally.”

    “Industry has also sought to dissuade Governments from restricting pesticide use to save pollinators.”

    This demonstrates the lengths to which corporations are willing to go to ensure business. Drawing conclusions from this report illustrates that business as usual is not an option and the influence corporations have over governments has to end immediately.

    More and More Glyphosate is Being Deployed in Austria. 21 Feb 2017. © Mitja Kobal / Greenpeace

    The neverending PR myth of “we need pesticides to feed the world”

    The current system of industrial agriculture is supported by  numerous myths and they are debunked in this UN report. One of the fundamental myth is that pesticides are needed to feed the world, which was created with the ”Green Revolution” that  empowered and enriched a handful of  corporations in the world. This system was able to increase yields but at least one third of all food produced  in the world, goes straight to waste, while 800 million people are still hungry. This system cannot guarantee food security in the long run as it doesn't rest on sound, ecological, sustainable, farming practices. Industrial agriculture is  one of the root causes of climate change, biodiversity loss, water pollution, inequality, injustice and depopulation of  rural environments.

    Agroecology as the only solution

    There is however, good news. Solutions already exist and are emerging strongly in every corner of the planet. One solution the report concludes is agroecology, but also other world experts in agrosystems, food security and nutrition.

    We now have enough evidence about the damages industrial agriculture does to the environment, our health and to human rights. The report from the Special Rapporteur ends with 25 clear recommendations, to create a better future and abandon the path that is leading us to a dead end. At a global level it recommends to develop a “comprehensive, binding treaty to regulate hazardous pesticides throughout their life cycle” where the promotion of agroecology must be one of the priorities. At a national level it recommends to “initiate binding and measurable reduction targets with time limits” and it concludes  with a clear recommendation to civil society: “Civil society should inform the general public about adverse impact of pesticides on human health and environmental damage, as well as organizing training programmes on agroecology”.

    Politicians must act now and it’s up to all of us to hold them accountable to ensure they take responsibility.

    Luís Ferreirim is an ecological farming campaigner at Greenpeace Spain

     

     

  • Hungary and the freedom I stand for

    In the winter of 2017, I received a call from a colleague about a small community in the Hungarian countryside, far from the busy streets of Budapest, that needed help. A Lutheran organisation had just launched a project with disabled adults, providing employment for a group of people who have very few opportunities in Hungary. We decided to join forces.

    70,000 people took to the streets in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, to protest against new laws targeting independent academia and civil society organisations. April 9, 2017  © Bence Jardany / GreenpeaceProtest against new laws targeting academia and NGOs. April 9, 2017

    Together with Greenpeace Hungary, the group is now planning an accessible ecological garden in the grounds of the centre, and starting to connect with the amazing network of organic farmers we’ve built across the country. Our supporters will help provide organic plants and materials needed to make the garden thrive. Soon there will be more than 100 people with disabilities working at the centre, growing organic food, and spreading the word about sustainable agriculture all around the countryside.

    This is the Hungary that I love and I am proud of — ambitious and inclusive. I want all children to grow up in a society where they have the courage to take action and speak out for what they believe in. This is what I strive for. Every day, civil society organisations large and small work hard to make this country a safer, cleaner, more economically vibrant place. But all this is in danger, if the current government has its way.

    70,000 people took to the streets in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, to protest against new laws targeting independent academia and civil society organisations. April 9, 2017  © Dorgo Zsuzsi / Greenpeace70,000 people march in Budapest, Hungary. April 9, 2017

    A new law has been introduced in Parliament that threatens to discredit, intimidate and undermine non-governmental organisations’ (NGOs) ability to speak up for our rights and the air, water, food and nature we depend on. The law would label any group receiving a certain amount of funding from people outside of Hungary as a ‘foreign agent’ and potentially link them to money launderers — or terrorists.

    This attempt to stigmatise NGOs would come with additional and entirely unnecessary administrative burdens: we are already fully transparent with our finances and their sources. But such a stigmatising law could silence hundreds of credible organisations and mislead hundreds of thousands of people we serve.

    70,000 people took to the streets in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, to protest against new laws targeting independent academia and civil society organisations. April 9, 2017  © Bence Jardany / GreenpeaceProtestors in Budapest. April 9, 2017

    If you’re a Greenpeace supporter, you know we’re willing to challenge governments or corporations when they endanger our air, water and soil. Speaking out on things that matter is a vital part of living in a free society. Standing up for the environment and for vulnerable people is a big part of what we bring to the communities we work with around the world, and a big reason that millions of people support our work financially. But the Hungarian government is signaling that it wants to weaken certain civil society organisations who work for the well-being of people and the planet.

    Katalin Rodics, a lifelong campaigner and grandmother of five, speaks at a protest against new laws targeting independent academia and civil society organisations. Budapest, Hungary, April 9, 2017 © László Mudra / GreenpeaceKatalin Rodics addresses the crowd. Budapest, April 9, 2017

    Today, more than seventy thousand people are gathered in front of the Parliament to defend our right to speak and think freely, and to support our communities without fear, intimidation, or suspicion. Among us are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, students, teachers, activists — a diverse group, from all walks of life.

    As I’m invited on stage to speak, I feel humbled, and more determined than ever: we will never back down from defending our universities, our organisations, and our free society. Together we stand for a greener, more peaceful world. And around the world, people stand with us.

    70,000 people took to the streets in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, to protest against new laws targeting independent academia and civil society organisations. April 9, 2017  © Dorgo Zsuzsi / GreenpeaceBudapest, Hungary. April 9, 2017 

    Katalin Rodics is an agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace Hungary. A mother of three and grandmother of five, she has worked more than 40 years for a clean healthy planet where all children can grow up safely.