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Latest news from Greenpeace
letzte Aktualisierung: 25.05.2016 01:19:38
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action

    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.

    In places like the Philippines, Germany and Indonesia, thousands of people gathered together to take action. They occupied mines, blocked rail lines, linked arms, paddled in kayaks and held community meetings in 13 countries.

    Break Free Action in Jakarta: Thousands of people have taken to the streets in a carnival atmosphere to urge the government to end Indonesia’s addiction to coal. 11 May, 2016  © Afriadi Hikmal / Greenpeace

    The wave of activity is stemming from a growing global awareness that the impacts of climate change are real and increasing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that April 2016 marked the 12th consecutive month of record warmth for the globe. Research released by Greenpeace India reveals that in India coal is the largest overlooked source of air pollution and identifies air pollution emission hotspots in India visibly linked to thermal power plants in the area. Whether it be local air pollution or climate impacts, the impacts of fossil fuel on people is clear.

    A global wave of peaceful direct action

    Communities on the front lines of climate change aren’t waiting for governments or corporations to act. They are taking bold action to defend their communities, and the world needs to listen.

    Activists march to the Holiday Inn to disrupt a U.S. Bureau of Land Management sale of mineral leases on public land in Colorado. 12 May, 2016  © Robert Meyers / Greenpeace

    Communities like those in Colorado who told the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to “keep it in the ground” when the BLM were holding an auction to sell off fossil fuels on public lands. Or those who took over a fracking site near a school.

    In the UK, hundreds of climate protesters took control of the largest opencast coal mine to shut it down for a day. In South Africa, hundreds stood up to South Africa’s most powerful family with a march that delivered coal to their front door, despite their attempts to silence civil society by pressuring police to revoke permits for a march.

    In Aliaga, Turkey 2,000 people marched to the gates of the Izmir region’s largest coal dump, and surrounded it with a giant red line, as a call to end plans for the massive expansion of coal in the country. In Germany, 3,500 people shut down one of Europe’s biggest carbon polluters, occupying a lignite mine and nearby power station for over 48 hours, reducing the plant’s capacity by 80 percent.

    In the Batangas, the Philippines, 10,000 marched against a proposed coal plant. There were many more and the numbers just kept growing.

    Each case was its own success, and together, they demonstrate a growing global climate movement.

    Where to from here?

    People are demanding elected officials and multinational corporations end destructive investments and be held accountable if they do not #BreakFree from their dependency on fossil fuels.

    We need to continue to unmask and hold accountable elected officials and the corporations behind the tax breaks, lax regulations and back door deals that trample human rights, cause insufferable poverty and deplete our natural resources. 

    In addition to breaking free from fossil fuels, people’s demand for alternative energy options is growing louder. Communities are demanding investment in ambitious renewable energy projects. They want renewables and sustainable solutions that move us away from toxic air pollution, rivers of sewage, polluted oceans and deforested lands and provide them with clean energy. With the falling costs of renewables, and the ability to install solar in small villages, people can #BreakFree to a healthier way of living.

    Raising a Wind Turbine in Durban: Greenpeace and Tcktcktck volunteers raise a wind turbine on the beach at dawn in Durban, South Africa. 26 Nov, 2011  © Shayne Robinson / Greenpeace

    We need to continue to use peaceful direct action as one of the key tools we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

    We must take a stand to protect our climate and the health and welfare of people and communities. Doing nothing is not an option.

    #BreakFree2016 was just the beginning – not the end – of the people’s fight against dangerous fossil fuel projects. We ask you to join in the fight for climate justice and for a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy, keeping oil, coal and gas in the ground.

    Jennifer Morgan is an Executive Director at Greenpeace International.

  • Why there's no place I'd rather be than on a Greenpeace ship in the North Sea

    Everything is different on a ship. Walls are bulkheads, ceilings are deckheads, floors are decks, right is starboard, left is port, back is stern and front is bow. At sea, the ground wobbles beneath our feet, rocking us to sleep in our bunks, knocking us around the mess, which is a dining room, the galley, which is a kitchen, or the lower hold, which is a storeroom. I've been working as a volunteer deckhand on the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, for just over a week.

    Paloma sends a message to 'keep the North Sea alive'. Greenpeace is calling on governments to take action to to stop the dumping of discarded fishing gear that is endangering whales and other marine life. © Bente Stachowske / Greenpeace

    We're sailing in the Sylt Outer Reef, off the coast of Germany. Thilo Maack, our German deep-sea diving campaigner onboard, explained that this area is actually a marine sanctuary, where dumping and drilling are banned in an effort to set limits on the relentless exploitation of our world’s oceans. The problem is, industrial fishing has not been banned. Bottom trawlers continue to gouge the seabed, giant walls of net catching brown shrimp and everything else in their path, including endangered harbor porpoises. Unbelievably wasteful, up to 80% of the catch in this industry is "bycatch", the innocent bystanders of the ocean, thrown back dead and dying into the sea. And that’s just one of the many fishing industries still allowed to operate in a "sanctuary" where already a third of species are at risk. 

    Disappearing worlds

    It was nearly six years ago that it really sunk in for me what we humans were doing to the sea. I was working for Greenpeace on the Frontline team as a canvasser, stopping people in the streets of Los Angeles to tell them about the campaigns and sign them up as members of the organization. I remember being blown away when I learned that 90% of big fish are already gone, eaten by us in the last 60 years alone. Since then I've learned about what’s so incredible about our seas and worth protecting. Through reading books, watching documentaries and finally, this year getting my Open Water certification for scuba diving, I've fallen in love with life under the sea in all it's strangeness, vivid colors, and alien intelligence.

    Over lunch, I asked Thilo about his favorite North Sea creatures. His eyes lit up as he told me about the spiny dogfish, a kind of shark that lives up to 70 years, rears only three offspring, and is commonly killed for a small piece of it's belly. Like many places in the world, whole populations have been eradicated from the North Sea, like the incredible bluefin tuna, with unparalleled swimming abilities, able to go 100 kilometres an hour and turn on a dime, unmatched by any human construct. They're all gone, taken for granted and literally chopped up for pet food.

    Greenpeace activists and divers from the Dutch organisation Ghost Fishing recovering lost fishing nets (ghostnets) in the North Sea Sanctuary (Sylter Aussenriff) off Sylt. Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Thilo Maack. © Bente Stachowske / Greenpeace

    Things add up

    Being on a Greenpeace ship is not all high-speed boat chases and confrontational direct actions. Whether you're volunteering to make calls at a phone bank to organize your community to go to a rally or cooking a vegan meal for a group of activists, whether you're standing bundled in the streets of Chicago in the winter, canvassing to raise money and get petitions signed, or scrubbing the toilets with vinegar on the lower deck of a protest ship, it's the little mundane tasks that add up, collect, and finally tip the balance of power in favor of, to paraphrase Irving Stowe at the first Greenpeace benefit concert, a culture of life.

    As I tie my bowline knots, mop the decks, or inventory gear lockers, I think, this is what activism looks like. I may not always know what I'm doing, I'm still learning a lot about life on a ship, but I do know exactly why I'm doing it.

    Greenpeace activists and divers from the Dutch organisation Ghost Fishing recovering lost fishing nets (ghostnets) in the North Sea Sanctuary (Sylter Aussenriff) off Sylt. © Bente Stachowske / Greenpeace

    The sun sparkles over the undulating fabric of the North Sea as our green rainbow flag flies on the mast. I think of the Phyllis Cormack and the Vega, the first Greenpeace protest boats that sailed into nuclear test zones and kickstarted a global organization, and wonder what beautiful things will spiral out of our actions today, your actions today.

    Paloma Henriques, 28, from Los Angeles, California, USA, is a Volunteer Deckhand onboard the Arctic Sunrise.

  • The battle against destructive fishing goes from sea to shelf

    One of the defining symbols of Greenpeace is our ships. The ability to reach areas of the world that are inaccessible to others is what allows this global movement to tackle environmental malfeasance head-on, wherever it takes place.

    That’s why, for the past few weeks, the Esperanza has hunted reckless fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean, going straight to the heart of where the industry doesn’t want us to – and where many can’t reach. In that time, we’ve hauled dozens of FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) from the sea, sparing countless sharks and other bycatch from death in the nets of some of the fishing vessels supplying Thai Union. We’ve sent a message to their headquarters that people won’t stand for it.

    MY Esperanza in the Indian Ocean, 28 Apr, 2016,  © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    It’s not just the ability to sail the seas that enables us to do this. The Indian Ocean stretches for over 10,000 km from East to West, covering well over 70 million sq km and more than one fifth of the world’s ocean area. (Short version: it’s big.) Scouring an area this size for the visible beacons (about the size of a shoebox) can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack – or it would be if you didn’t have the right tools.

    Greenpeace Esperanza crew member looks through binoculars, 2 May, 2016,  © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    Fortunately, the Esperanza is also equipped with cutting-edge surveillance technology. On board there are solar-powered UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) with a range of 100 km and the ability to photograph a 10 sq km area, an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for monitoring and some of the most powerful and sophisticated marine binoculars out there. With these tools we’re making it harder and harder for unscrupulous fishing vessels supplying Thai Union to hide their destructive practices.

    ROV to inspect a FAD in the Indian Ocean, 29 Apr, 2016, © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    Meanwhile, with the ship’s crew locating and retrieving FADs by the bucketload every day, storage and upcycling are also vital. The buoys and nets are – as the fish stocks of these industrially plundered seas should be – returned to artisanal local fishermen in coastal communities. The remaining components in the beacons are repurposed by tinkering crew members as solar-powered lamps and phone chargers.

    Esperanza Crew Creates Lamp from Reconstructed FAD Beacon, 3 May, 2016, © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    If that all sounds impressive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. As if challenging Thai Union’s reckless practices at sea wasn’t enough, the company has more problems waiting for it on land. Where Thai Union FADs hide under the surface, we’re ramping up the hunt. Where Thai Union’s destructive supply chain goes from sea to shelf, we’ll be waiting.

    The wave against Thai Union is rumbling out at sea and it’s about to crash onto land. Join it. 

    Tom Lowe is Multimedia Editor at Greenpeace International, on board the Esperanza.

  • Break Free: An unprecedented wave of people power is keeping fossil fuels in the ground

    Break Free 2016. New Castle, Australia

    Break Free was an unprecedented wave of people power.

    Over twelve days, on six continents, in countries all around the world people acted. Individuals, communities, local and international groups all came together to Break Free from fossil fuels.

    In Germany, thousands with Ende Gelände shut down Europe's largest coal plant — occupying it for over 48 hours and reducing the plant's capacity by 80 percent.

    Hundreds stood up to South Africa's most powerful family with a march that delivered coal to their front door.

    Break Free action in Johannesburg, South Africa: 350.org deliver coffin full of coal to Gupta's House. Shayne Robinson | Mutiny Media Image credit: Shayne Robinson | Mutiny Media

    10,000 people marched against a proposed coal plant in Batangas, the Philippines.

    3,000 people sent an ear-splitting message to Indonesia's president with a whistle demonstration against coal in Jakarta. A few days later, twelve activists climbed the cranes supplying coal for the Cirebon Coal Power Plant, dropping banners to Quit Coal and for Clean Energy, Clean Air.

    Greenpeace Indonesia activists unfurled a banner saying 'Quit Coal' from the cranes as they blocking the loading of coal for the the Cirebon Coal Power Plant, Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia, May 15, 2016. © Afriadi Hikmal / Greenpeace

    In Australia, an armada of kayakers blocked the Newcastle harbour entrance while 70 people blocked a critical rail crossing preventing any coal from getting to the port for over six hours.

    In Ecuador, people from across the country gathered to peacefully protest fossil fuel extraction at a oil refinery. They also planned to plant gardens at the site to feed those affected by the recent earthquake that rattled the country, but they were forced to leave the site before they could finish.

    ECUADOR- This action targeted the construction of a Refinery on the pacific coast. Community members from all over Ecuador are demanding that oil is kept in the ground. 14 May, 2016.

    In Aliaga, Turkey 2,000 people marched to the gates of the Izmir region's largest coal dump and surrounded it with a giant red line, as a call to end plans for the massive expansion of coal in the country.

    Break Free action in Aliağa, Turkey, May 15th, 2016. Community leaders led a Break Free mass action at a coal waste site near Izmir calling for a stop to four fossil fuel plant projects in the surrounding area.

    Dozens of people occupied train tracks overnight in Albany, New York in the United States to stop oil-filled 'bomb trains' from rolling through communities — including less than 100 feet from low-income public housing.

    And on unceded Coast Salish Territories outside of Vancouver over 800 people surrounded Kinder Morgan's pipeline terminal by land and by sea preventing anything from coming in or out for the entire day.

    Burnaby, BC, Canada - Break Free 2016, Photo By: Marlin Olynyk | Survival Media AgencyImage credit: Marlin Olynyk | Survival Media Agency

    That's just to name a few.

    In total tens of thousands took to the streets, occupied mines, blocked rail lines, linked arms, paddled in kayaks and raised their voices, pushing the boundaries of conventional protest to find new ways to keep coal, oil, gas and tar sands in the ground.

    Thousands, worldwide risked arrest — many for the first time — to say that it's time to Break Free from the current energy paradigm that is locking the planet into a future of catastrophic climate change and to speed the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy future.

    Driving this unprecedented wave of demonstrations is the sudden and dramatic acceleration in the warming of the planet. April shattered all temperature records — becoming the seventh straight month to do so. Fires, fueled by record dry temperatures, are raging across North America and Russia. Just this week, it was reported that five Solomon Islands have been swallowed by the rising seas.

    Combined with the growing number of planetary warning signs is the growing gap between world governments' stated climate ambitions and their demonstrated actions in approving new fossil fuel projects. Break Free was about starting to close that gap.

    I'm not sure if world leaders follow hashtags, but I hope that for a short time they followed #breakfree2016. I hope they saw the amazing stories of courageous people pouring in from countries around the world. Stories of people standing up, of people taking the actions we need to take, and pushing us all to break free from fossil fuels and speed the move to a 100% renewable energy future.

    Break Free shows that all around the world, people are ready to act. And if leaders are ready to move on climate change, then we will be there to support them.

    But we aren't waiting. The clock is ticking, and we don't have any time to waste. It's time to restore the balance.

    Mike Hudema is a Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada.

    A version of this blog was originally posted on Greenpeace Canada.

  • Disruption, change and the growing wave against Thai Union tuna

    The waves are surging higher around the Esperanza today. We're headed north towards busier fishing areas, the horizon line heaving up and down as the ship barrels every which way amid the rolling, white-peaked swell.

    Waves crash against the Esperanza bow. 12 May 2016. © Will Rose / GreenpeaceWaves crash against the Esperanza bow. 12 May 2016. © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    For the past few weeks, we've been hunting reckless fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean that supply Thai Union, the mega-company responsible for producing much of the tinned seafood on supermarket shelves across the globe.

    We've been collecting these unscrupulous vessels' fish aggregating devices (FADs), which enable them to scoop up huge volumes of any and all kinds of sea life, pick out the marketable tuna and dump everything else – the 'bycatch' – back in the sea, dead.

    Greenpeace crew members on the Esperanza pull in a FAD (fish aggregating device) for inspection. 17 April 2016. © Will Rose / GreenpeaceGreenpeace crew members on the Esperanza pull in a FAD (fish aggregating device) for inspection. 17 April 2016. © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    Spending a couple of days at port in northern Madagascar, witnessing sustainable local fishers catch fish to feed their families and communities, stiffened the determination of this ship's crew to go out and stop Thai Union suppliers from pillaging our seas.

    Here in the Indian Ocean, fishing using FADs scoops up over four times as much bycatch as free school fishing. That means needlessly killing a lot more species – some of them, like the silky shark, of which between 480,000 and 960,000 are killed by FADs each year in the Indian Ocean alone, are near threatened species.

    Silky Sharks near a FAD in the Indian Ocean. 26 April 2016 © Will Rose / GreenpeaceSilky Sharks near a FAD in the Indian Ocean. 26 April 2016 © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    If you don't think that's acceptable, you're not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people who passionately feel the same have shown they stand against it – and now it's time to turn up the heat.

    What starts out here in the ocean ends up on our supermarket shelves – from John West in the Netherlands and UK, to Petit Navire in France and Mareblu in Italy – so in the coming days, we'll be ratcheting up the pressure on Thai Union to clean up their act. For every FAD deployed in their name, we'll hunt another down; for every needless bycatch, we'll be standing in the way.

    John West tuna cans in FAD net. 27 April 2016 © Will Rose / GreenpeaceJohn West tuna cans in FAD net. 27 April 2016 © Will Rose / Greenpeace

    The people on board the Esperanza are people just like you: they're from the Philippines, from Spain, from Russia and Australia. They're French, Korean, South African and Chilean. They're from Italy, Indonesia, Germany and also from close to where this destruction is taking place: Madagascar and Réunion Island. And they're all out here in the middle of the Indian Ocean to disrupt Thai Union's destructive supply chain.

    But you are the one with the power to turn the tide on Thai Union and make them change. Show them you mean business.

    Their reckless fishing is emptying our oceans to fill their tins. And if they think they can get away with it, they've got another thing coming.

    Tom Lowe is Multimedia Editor at Greenpeace International, on board the Esperanza.

  • Greedy coal company is forcing farmers to crawl to get to their land

    In Batang Regency, on the north coast of Central Java, one of Indonesia's largest coal companies have made themselves at home… right in the middle of land owned by local farmers. How are they able to get away with this?

    Batang residents hold a protest in their rice farm that is under threat of development by a massive coal-fired power plant project.Batang residents hold a protest in their rice farm that is under threat of development by a massive coal-fired power plant project.

    "Batang united! Reject the coal power plant!"

    My body shivers from head to toe hearing the furious roar of the villagers. For five days in April the people of Batang have been working together, using "art as protest" and erecting large banners, signs painted with death skulls, and hand-drawn portraits of farmers with a clear message about the injustice they have had to endure.

    "Coal plants take away land and livelihood!" says one large, yellow sign.

    Art as protest. The banner in the background reads 'Coal plants take away land and livelihood!' The farmers' land has been fenced off since March 2016.Art as protest. The banner in the background reads "Coal plants take away land and livelihood!" The farmers' land has been fenced off since March 2016.

    Back in March 2016, the Batang farmers suddenly discovered that their farming land, which has been their source of income for generations, was bordered off by a five-kilometre wide aluminium fence.

    For the past five years, a mega power plant project has been slowly developing in Batang, touted to be the largest in Southeast Asia. The company behind the project, Bhimasena Power Indonesia (BPI) - a consortium group consisting of two Japanese companies, J-Power and Itochu; and Indonesian coal mining company Adaro – has come under much controversy due to continual delays and disagreements over land compensation with local residents. Land acquisition is required to continue with the project and dozens of landowners are still refusing to sell. But this has not stopped BPI.

    "Whether you're from the police or from the army, open the fence!" screams one farmer as she looks across to security guards standing by.

    "Do I have to fly to get to my own farm?" shouts another as she waves around her sickle.

    In this video the farmers talk about the anger and frustration they feel about the situation. Farmers, landowners and others who reject the coal power plant often receive threatening text messages. In other cases, paid thugs have visited residents' houses, intimidating them to sell their land.

    For farmers like Pak Cahyadi, access means crawling through gaps in the fence or wading through sewage to reach the plants they've tendered and cared for. But after BPI caught on, they blocked these spaces even though harvest season is due to arrive.

    Cahyadi even tried to sneak in late at night, hoping the cover of the black night sky would obscure him. But when he tried to reach his cassava field, simply to pick a few for his family to eat, he returned not with a hand-full of cassavas but a heart-full of fear. BPI hired security guards to patrol the area to scare and intimidate the farmers from entering their own farms. Pak Cahyadi has no other source of income. Usually, while he waits for his cassavas to ripe, he sells jasmine flowers plucked from his other field. But the jasmines aren't in bloom, and the opportunity to harvest his cassavas is now under BPI's control.

    Pak Cahyadi has been active in campaigning against the Batang coal power plant. In June 2015 he addressed the protest crowd in front of the Indonesian presidential palace in Jakarta to call on President Joko Widodo to listen to the people and not the polluters.Pak Cahyadi has been active in campaigning against the Batang coal power plant. In June 2015 he addressed the protest crowd in front of the Indonesian presidential palace in Jakarta to call on President Joko Widodo to listen to the people and not the polluters.

    BPI's greed to take control of the land, despite not being granted the land license, is both relentless and strategic. Batang is located on the north coast of Central Java. Coal power plants require easy access to coal, and the simplest route is via the ocean. Additionally coal power plants need a huge volume of water to generate steam so it can power up the turbines. During this process, millions of litres of hot water are dumped into the ocean, seriously affecting the ecosystem. Meanwhile, the smog emitting through the chimneys contain lead and high levels of toxic chemicals. From air to water, Batang's environment will be impacted. Fish, prawns, squids, octopi and shellfish will no longer be available for fishers to catch.

    Furthermore, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has already "officiated" the construction of the Batang plant, giving way to BPI to "legitimately" fence off the land.

    An aerial view of the protest carried out by Batang residents and the 5km fence that has blocked off their farm. The banner reads "Illegal".An aerial view of the protest carried out by Batang residents and the 5km fence that has blocked off their farm. The banner reads "Illegal".

    But like the Batang farmers who refuse to be backed down by intimidation and are dedicated to fighting for their family, health and land, thousands of people in Indonesia are standing in solidarity. During the world-wide Break Free actions taking place this month, thousands took to the streets to urge the government to end the country's addiction to coal.

    Thousands took to the streets in Jarkarta as part of the global Break Free protests. The marchers carried banners calling for Indonesia to reject coal in favour of clean renewable energy, and to honour the commitment made in the Paris Agreement last year to reduce the country's carbon emissions.Thousands took to the streets in Jarkarta as part of the global Break Free protests. The marchers carried banners calling for Indonesia to reject coal in favour of clean renewable energy, and to honour the commitment made in the Paris Agreement last year to reduce the country's carbon emissions.

    According to research by Harvard University and Greenpeace Southeast Asia, existing coal plants in Indonesia cause an estimated 7,100 premature deaths every year. This number could climb to over 28,000 per year if the Indonesian government continues to stick with dirty energy, rather than switch on renewables.

    Greenpeace demands the government to not jeopardize the livelihoods and health of hundreds of thousands citizens by developing this dirty mega-project. It's time for President Widodo to lead the energy revolution by choosing a safer and more sustainable source.

    Let's unite with Batang. Reject coal power plants! Switch on renewables!

    Aghnia Fasza or Tides is Digital Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia.

  • 6 things you need to know about the TTIP

    Earlier this month, Greenpeace Netherlands released secret documents from the TTIP negotiations – the controversial trade deal between the United States and Europe that has big implications for the environment and more than 800 million citizens. Missed it? Wondering how it affects you? Then keep reading.

    Greenpeace activists project texts of leaked TTIP documents on the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Leaked TTIP documents confirm major risks for climate, environment and consumer safety.Greenpeace activists project texts of leaked TTIP documents on the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Leaked TTIP documents confirm major risks for climate, environment and consumer safety.

    1. What is the TTIP?

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade deal between the EU and the US economies. The negotiation has been kept under wraps for years and the implications are massive. It would account for about half of the entire world's GDP, nearly a third of world trade flows, and would affect pretty much every sector of the economy – from farming to textiles, and IT to cars.

    Hundreds of Greenpeace activists participate in a mass demonstration targeted towards US President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel. On the huge banner it reads : "Yes we can stop TTIP".Hundreds of Greenpeace activists participate in a mass demonstration targeted towards US President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel. On the huge banner it reads: "Yes we can stop TTIP".

    2. What will the TTIP actually do?

    The aim is to remove so-called trade 'barriers' that could boost trade. Some of these barriers could include health and safety standards, labelling laws, or insisting on eco-friendly production processes which protect consumers. But TTIP could alter or remove these.

    IMAGE GP0STPSW8 – After the leaks, Greenpeace set up a TTIP Documents Transparent Public Reading Room in Berlin where concerned citizens were able to read the documents.After the leaks, Greenpeace set up a TTIP Documents Transparent Public Reading Room in Berlin where concerned citizens were able to read the documents.

    3. But cheaper is better right?

    In some ways, yes. But you get what you pay for.

    For example, the EU does not allow imports of US meat from animals that have been treated with growth hormones, because this practice has been linked to cancer and other health concerns. But the US agriculture industry see these standards as obstacles to trade. This means that the TTIP could potentially allow a lot more GM food into Europe, and citizens could soon be eating fruit and vegetables with much higher pesticide residues, meat from pigs and cattle treated with growth hormones, or chicken treated with chlorine. Meanwhile, European producers lose out to cheaper imports.

    4. What's wrong with rinsing chickens in a water and chlorine bath?

    Apart from the fact that these are chemicals that are normally used to clean toilets, it poses a serious health risk – chlorine is a known carcinogen. In the US meat is also often treated with antibacterial substances, which have other health and environmental impacts.

    Greenpeace reveals 248 pages of the top secret TTIP documents at the re.publica TEN conference in Berlin.Greenpeace reveals 248 pages of the top secret TTIP documents at the re.publica TEN conference in Berlin.

    5. Wow, that's pretty worrying. What else should I be concerned about?

    From an environmental and consumer protection point of view, four aspects are of serious concern.

    i. Profit before planet

    None of the TTIP papers that Greenpeace Netherlands leaked reference long-standing environmental protections, like the "General Exceptions" rule – a nearly 70-year-old rule that allows nations to regulate trade "to protect human, animal and plant life or health". The omission of this suggests what both sides are really in favour of: profit at the expense of our health and the environment.

    ii. Climate protection will be harder under TTIP

    Remember how in Paris last year world leaders recognised the need to keep temperature increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius? Well, trade should not be excluded from climate action. But nothing indicating support for climate protection can be found in the texts Greenpeace Netherlands released. As an example, trade proposals would rule out regulating the import of carbon-intensive fuels such as oil from the tar sands.

    Two pages of the secret TTIP documents.Two pages of the secret TTIP documents.

    iii. Risk management instead of risk avoidance

    It's better to avoid a risk than manage it right? In 2000, the European Commission adopted the "precautionary principle", which forces a manufacturer to prove that a product is safe. But in the TTIP papers there is no mention of the "precautionary principle", only of the U.S. demand for a ‘risk-based' approach. So if EU regulators have issues, say, with controversial pesticides and want to take preventive measures, this can be undermined because the precautionary principle is no longer there.

    iv. Big business wants what big business gets

    What if you're concerned about the impacts TTIP has on environmental and consumer protection and want to do something about it? Well that would be hard because corporations would be granted a privileged voice. The leaked papers repeatedly talk about the need for further consultations with industry. In this way the EU is granting the private sector great influence, while the public is kept out by keeping the negotiations secret.

    Greenpeace activists block EU and US negotiators from TTIP Talks in Brussels. The protesters warn that the TTIP is a threat for democracy, environmental protection, health standards and working conditions.Greenpeace activists block EU and US negotiators from TTIP Talks in Brussels. The protesters warn that the TTIP is a threat for democracy, environmental protection, health standards and working conditions.

    6. Hmmm, I don't like the sound of this. Is there an alternative to the TTIP?

    Yes. Basically, the problem with the TTIP is that it makes trade liberal, almost too liberal, deregulating controversial and risky products like GMOs, chemicals and hormone-treated meat. What we need instead is sustainable development. We need international rules for better trade that promote environmental, social and human well-being. Trade rules should be democratic and inclusive. They should not grant privileged treatment for multinationals, but guarantee accountability through the enforceable protection of human and social rights, and the environment. Sounds like a better trade deal, don't you think?

    There are many more implications and problems associated with the TTIP. Read more about it here.

    Susan Cohen Jehoram is the TTIP international project lead at Greenpeace Netherlands.

  • Crisis in Chiloé, Chile as thousands of marine life wash ashore

    Chiloé Island in Chile is currently facing a crisis and one of the stranger environmental disasters Chile has seen in the past few years. In the last month alone, thousands of marine animals including birds, crabs and seals have washed ashore, dead, on Chiloé’s beaches along  a phenomenon known as ‘red tide’, or toxic algal blooms.

    Activists and researchers from Greenpeace Chile have traveled to the island to document the social and environmental crisis caused by this mass mortality of marine life. In solidarity with the fishermen and affected communities, they are calling for an investigation and demanding transparency for those affected in the region.

    This comes after 5 tons of rotting salmon were thrown out from the farming centers in the Los Lagos region only 75 nautical miles away from Ancud city, (on the largest island of the Chiloé Archipelago).

    Chiloé Island, Chile,  © Alejandro Olivares / Greenpeace

    Fishermen on the island are protesting the lack of information and lack of assistance from the government amidst this crisis. Chiloé has been blocked from the mainland by the fishermen who are demanding compensation for losing their livelihood. Andrés, a local shellfisherman explained, “right now, we feel many mixed feelings—sadness, bitterness, helplessness [...] Here, tons of salmon were dumped, on top of chemicals that were used to get rid of the smell. Tell me, does this not cause harm?”

    There is evidence of the negative effects caused by the salmon farming industry (such as the high presence of antibiotics and chemicals, discharge of waste in the sea).

    The current scenario has hugely impacted all aspects of life for the local community and the environment, and nobody has been identified as responsible so far.

    The local community and Greenpeace Chile are still waiting for an official response against the crisis and a long term plan.

    Share this story to prevent something like this from happening again.

  • The overfishing denier

    A Greenpeace investigation shows that a prominent American fisheries scientist took millions of dollars in funding from fishing industry groups without publicly disclosing it.

    Warming and acidifying waters. Massive bleaching of corals. Collapsing fisheries. Pollution from oil, chemicals, plastics, and human waste. The oceans and ocean life are in trouble, and most scientists in the field agree. To begin to turn it around, civilization needs to look at the state of the oceans with sober and clear eyes. Now a Greenpeace investigation shows that a prominent scientist — one who has presented a rosier picture of the oceans than most of his peers — has accepted millions in research funding and additional consultancy payments from fishing industry groups without disclosing it to the public or the venues that publish his work.

    Dr. Ray Hilborn has made a career refuting the scientific consensus that points to declining fisheries worldwide. Now, documents recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that Dr. Hilborn has received more than $3 million from commercial fishing and seafood interests. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.Dr. Ray Hilborn, a professor at University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences has made a career of contradicting the science that shows increasingly declining fish stocks across the globe. His maverick position has earned him a unique status within ocean science. And, unsurprisingly, it has won him many fans within industry. Dr. Hilborn's work has often been promoted when the industrial fishing industry has sought to defend its worst practices, including bottom trawling. And as someone often cited in industry-funded public relations efforts, he has become the go-to scientist for contrarian opinions on fishing impacts.

    Dr. Hilborn's extensive catalog of publications has propelled him to wide recognition. They also seem to have insulated him from criticism. The results of Greenpeace's recent Public Records Act requests to Hilborn's employer the University of Washington will undoubtedly force the science community to reassess the latitude they have shown the professor for years. Records show that Dr. Hilborn has taken more than $3.5 million in corporate funding for research. He has also received an untold sum from a long career as a consultant to industry. And while some of his peers suspected, few if any of them knew for sure.

    While inquiries into Dr. Hilborn's conduct are still ongoing, a number of ethical concerns have been brought to light. Dr. Hilborn's failure to disclose funding sources violates the policies of many of the journals in which he has published — the journals that have effectively made his career. Failure to disclose that funding is also a violation of the ethical standards of academic science, as it creates an inaccurate perception among scientific peers and the public that Dr. Hilborn's research has no potential financial bias.

    Documents show that between 2003 and 2015, Dr. Hilborn received $3.56 million from 69 distinct fishing or seafood companies and corporate interests, including Trident, the South African Deep Sea Trawling Association, and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, which, despite its name, is the trade association for the industrial tuna fleet. Documents also show that in the same period, Dr. Hilborn received payments as a consultant from a number of industry groups, including FishAmerica Foundation, the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, At-Sea Processors Association, the BC Underwater Harvesters Association, and ExxonMobil

    Dr. Hilborn has earned a reputation — and a lot of money — as a critic of the widely held views that unsustainable fishing is harming our ecosystems. He has also been a vocal critic of efforts to strengthen regulations. By presenting himself as a scientist without conflicts of interest, rather than a well-paid advocate for the fishing industry, he has hindered effective policy discussions and delayed urgently needed reforms. Among some of the most egregious public examples include:

    • In a 2014 Op-Ed in the New York Times titled “Let Us Eat Fish,” Hilborn called scientific data on overfishing “exaggerated.” The piece advocates for revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, an effective piece of legislation that has helped rebuild American fish stocks from New England to California. Dr. Hilborn calls for turning over a greater share of management to fisheries councils, which are overwhelmingly populated by representatives of industry. Dr. Hilborn's byline states that he is a professor at University of Washington but makes no mention of his ties to industry.
    • In 2010, Dr. Hilborn co-wrote correspondence in the esteemed journal Nature, in which he advocated for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). In 2012, he co-authored a paper in the highly-regarded PLOS One saying that the MSC “accurately identifies healthy fish stocks and conveys reliable information on stock status to seafood consumers.” In previous years, Dr. Hilborn received outside income from TAVEL Certification Inc. and Scientific Certification Systems, both certification companies employed by the MSC. In neither cases were his ties to MSC-related companies revealed, clear violations of both journals' policies — and the standards of academic science.
    • A 2013 piece in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) makes the case that dams are not a cause of Chinook salmon decline in the Columbia River. Dr. Hilborn disclosed no conflict of interest, despite having received income as a consultant for the San Luis Delta Mendota Water District, a powerful water agency representing agribusiness downstream of the Columbia that benefited from those very dams. Again, neither Dr. Hilborn nor the article disclosed this conflict of interest.
    • Dr. Hilborn has repeatedly been a detractor of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the widely held belief that global overfishing is devastating fish populations worldwide. In articles in PNAS and Science on the respective issues, Dr. Hilborn does not disclose any conflict of interest. However, Dr. Hilborn received income as a contractor from private industry groups to “evaluate alternative designs for marine protected areas,” and has, as mentioned, been the recipient of much funding from fishing industry groups. In the case of the article in Science, extensive acknowledgments of foundation and public funding were made, yet there was no mention of Dr. Hilborn's industry ties.

    Dr. Hilborn has argued that protecting places like this, the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge established in 2009, would do more environmental harm than good. Photo by Jim Maragos / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    There are many more examples of failures to disclose conflicts that we know about, and our researchers are continuing to investigate. Additionally, Dr. Hilborn's violations may extend past his own science to compromise his extensive work as a reviewer and editor for scientific journals. As gatekeeper of knowledge and scientific understanding, we believe conflicts of interest such as the ones documented should be automatic grounds for disqualification. Dr. Hilborn served as a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science for ne