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Latest news from Greenpeace
letzte Aktualisierung: 09.12.2016 01:20:43
  • Ladies and gentlemen, meet The Great Northern Forest

    The Great Northern Forest has many names.

    Scientists see The Great Northern Forest as the boreal forest ecosystem - the global coniferous forest blanketing the northern hemisphere. The Russians traditionally call it “Taiga”. If you could look at the planet from above, it is the green crown circling the Arctic, the enormous green belt that keeps the earth breathing.

    The Great Northern Forest, the boreal forest ecosystem circling the Earth © GreenpeaceThe Great Northern Forest, the boreal forest ecosystem circling the Earth

    Right now, in December, the forest is covered with snow and it will melt sometime in March or April, in the most northern parts even in May.

    In January, in the Russian Siberian region of Yakutsk, the average high temperature is 35 degrees below zero Celsius! Around Helsinki, Finland, it’s a bit milder with an average temperature of six degrees below freezing in January.

    Maybe you didn’t know that in July a swimming suit comes handy in Siberia when the average high temperature in Yakutsk is almost the same as on the northern shores of the Mediterranean: 25.5 degrees.

    Great gray owl in the snow.  © Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

    Animals have tricks for surviving the dramatic temperature changes. Many animals in the Great Northern Forest change colour based on the seasons: the Snowshoe Hare and Mountain Hare for instance are white during winter months and brown in the summer. Also the Least Weasel and even the Peary Caribou turn white in winter. The Siberian Salamander can survive temperatures of -35 degrees. It does this by replacing its water with natural ‘antifreeze’ chemicals. Not recommended for humans though, and alcohol won’t help.

    Many humans would also be happy to be bear-like during the dark winter months. It hibernates underground nearly half its lifetime. It even gives birth underground during the long winter months. When it wakes up in the spring this top predator starts to eat, but not only meat. It also enjoys nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and rootseats.

    Siberian Tiger in Siberia.  © Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

    The Great Northern Forest is full of surprises. Snow and tigers usually don’t associate well, but the largest cat in the world, the Siberian Tiger, lives in the boreal forest and hunts moose and wild boars.

    There is no forest without trees. The conifers - mostly pine and spruce - have adapted well to survive the long winters and short summers. Their needles contain very little sap, which helps prevent freezing. Their dark colour and triangle-shaped sides help them catch and absorb as much sunlight as possible.

    FinlandNordic forest in the middle of Finland. Firs in the snow.  © Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

    Beneath the trees carbon stored in the soil - a lot of it, even more than in tropical forests. We need to protect the home of the Siberian Tiger and the bear and the salamander and countless other species. But the amount of carbon stored in The Great Northern Forest is the key reason to save the bald trees used to snowy winter months.

    These trees standing tall for centuries are saving us and all the other species from a catastrophic climate change. Together we can keep these trees standing, join us.

    Juha Aromaa
    is the Communication lead for The Great Northern Forest campaign with Greenpeace Nordic

  • Protecting what protects us

    Sunrise Over Reef in Komodo National Park 17 May, 2014  © Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

    The diversity of nature is essential to ensure our planet remains habitable. That is why we need to stand up to all those who endanger the global web of life – those who plunder the Commons for private gain.

    Back in 1992, governments agreed to conserve and fairly share the global biodiversity we all depend on. Since then, 196 countries have signed on to the Convention on Biological Diversity (the United States being the most prominent exception). This year, from December 4 to 17, governments from all over the world will meet for the biannual “Summit for Life on Earth” in Cancún, Mexico.

    They have work to do. Biodiversity is falling at an alarming rate, with a two-thirds decline in animal species forecast for 2020 (compared to 1970).

    Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), also known as long-nosed monkeys, in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan. Proboscis monkeys are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. 10 Sep, 2013  © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

    When governments met in 2010, they said that they would act. World leaders, for example, committed to protect at least ten percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. But today, with only four years to go, just three percent of the world’s oceans are protected and only one percent are strongly protected (the level of protection necessary to give oceans a real chance to recover.) The numbers are shockingly low despite some amazing new oceans sanctuaries that have been declared recently, like the world's largest marine protected area off Antarctica.

    Governments must deliver on their 2010 promises. They need to protect more of the ocean, better – and now. That’s what people around the world are calling for. Watch our video about why people love the ocean and want it protected. And add your voice here to remind governments that it’s our ocean – a common treasure that they need to protect for all of us.

    Six years ago, governments also pledged to act against forest degradation and deforestation. They said that by 2020 all forests should be managed “sustainably”. Last year, governments added that deforestation should end by 2020. But reality is different. Even some of the most precious forests we have are still being degraded and destroyed.

    The Great Northern Forest, for example, is under threat from out-of-control logging, forest fires and our warming climate. The Great Northern Forest covers a vast area stretching from the Pacific coast of Russia, through the Far East and Siberia, over the Ural Mountains to Scandinavia, and again from the east coast of Canada to Alaska.

    Map of the Great Northern Forest

    Though separated by oceans, this huge area of forest is a single ecosystem, it is our planet’s evergreen crown. It is home to millions of Indigenous and local communities whose livelihoods depend on it as well as countless endemic plant and animal species. It is also the largest terrestrial carbon store – which means that it helps us in the fight to prevent dangerous climate change – if we protect it.

    Clear-cut area and new road in Arkhangelsk region of Russia. 8 Sep, 2016  © Greenpeace

    At their meeting in Cancun, governments must be honest and admit that they have not done enough to meet the targets they have set for themselves. They need to take bold new steps and announce that they will protect globally significant natural gems like the Great Northern Forest or the Arctic Ocean. We need a step-change in the scale of protection – on land and in the ocean.

    Ultimately, if biodiversity loss is not halted, it will not just be animals and plants that go extinct, it will be us. So join us to defend our common heritage. The world’s resources can provide a decent life for all if we share them fairly. That’s the potential promise of the Convention of Biological Diversity. We must ensure governments deliver on it. Nature and people both will be winners if governments act

    Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International

    This blog was originally posted on Huffington Post

  • What will it take to protect the world’s fish and oceans for future generations?

    I don’t speak tuna. And I fear my ability to sign in shark could be fatally misconstrued.

    But next week when people from all around the Pacific and beyond meet in Fiji to discuss the future of fisheries in the region, our finned (and feathered and flippered) friends of the oceans desperately need a voice.

    The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is responsible for managing the tuna, shark, and billfish fisheries that operate here – to make sure that there are fish and healthy oceans for future generations. But WCPFC is failing to meet the requirements of its own Convention – the goals and rules it took its members 10 years to agree on. Falling so short of the mark, a more apt name for the commission would be, We Create Pacific Fisheries Crises.

    A silky shark and other marine life in the Pacific OceanWill the WCPFC give our ocean friends need a healthy future?

    The cost of failure

    We’ve lost over 97% of the Pacific bluefin, but the management measures put in place to reverse their decline might, if we are very lucky, allow the stock to recover from the remaining 2.6% to about 6.4% in 10 years. Not very ambitious. The problem is with such a small population, it’s tougher for the bluefin to cope with things like disease, and the changes our oceans are already facing with climate change, like warming waters and changing chemistry. The fishery should be closed to give bluefin a fighting chance to recover. If you think you’ve heard this all before, you have – the same thing happened to Atlantic and Southern Ocean bluefin tunas. It seems some humans are not great at learning from mistakes. I imagine that the bluefin have something pretty serious to say about this!

    And then there’s the bigeye, a close relative of bluefin and also much loved for expensive sashimi platters. We’ve fished out 84% of the region’s bigeye, both by taking out the big fish for the sashimi market, and by catching huge numbers of juveniles while hunting skipjack with Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs. The baby bigeye have the potential to grow into spectacular two-metre long fish that could feed half a suburban street, but they end up being thrown away, or squished into cans alongside baby yellowfin and skipjack.

    A blue fin tuna hoisted off a Taiwanese longliner at the Dong Gang fishing port outside Koahsiung.A blue fin tuna hoisted off a Taiwanese longliner at the Dong Gang fishing port outside Koahsiung (2011).

    The list goes on – striped marlin has been in a dire state since 1977 and there is still no management in place to allow the population to recover from the remaining 12%. Oceanic whitetip shark and silky shark populations have been devastated, and not enough data is available to assess other key shark species caught intentionally or by accident, by vessels hunting tuna and billfish. And with best-practice bycatch reduction measures still not in place, threatened albatrosses, petrels, and sea turtles continue to be caught and killed on longlines. Imagine the racket if we could hear all those animals complaining?

    It’s not just marine life that is suffering. Too many vessels are allowed to offload their catches onto other carrier vessels at sea instead of returning to port. This transhipping facilitates human rights and labour abuses by allowing vessels to remain at sea for long periods with little or no oversight or ability for crew to report concerns. It’s an issue receiving increasing public scrutiny, but one WCPFC has not yet addressed.

    A marlin hauled on board illegal fishing vessel Shuen De Ching No.888. A marlin hauled on board illegal fishing vessel Shuen De Ching No.888.

    Similarly, the independent observers, tasked with verifying catches and fishing operations on board vessels, face considerable health and safety issues. WCPFC has addressed some concerns, but without the tools for observers to increase their safety (like a personal alarm and an independent device for communication), clear rules on who is responsible for observer safety, and transparency in reporting and dealing with incidents of bribery, harassment, and violence, there remain considerable risks to observers and this compromises the quality of data gathered by the observer programme. Observers might have a voice, but sometimes if they speak up too much, they risk being silenced themselves.

    Getting back to basics

    A longline fishing vessel passes through choppy waters in the Pacific Ocean.A longline fishing vessel passes through choppy waters in the Pacific Ocean.

    WCPFC needs to up its game. Of course it’s not easy, but lives and livelihoods are at risk. It’s a vast ocean region to manage, with multiple species targeted with multiple fishing methods by many boats, from many countries, all with different needs and demands.  As a result, both the WCPFC rules and the work carried out by scientists and managers are increasingly sophisticated and complex. Unfortunately, the basic foundations required for successful management of fisheries are simply not in place.

    WCPFC has not yet agreed the goals for keeping fish populations healthy, nor what actions must be taken when they are not, which is why year after year WCPFC meetings are spent arguing over ‘what could be done’ while the fish continue to disappear. There are too many boats chasing decreasing numbers of fish. It’s that simple. Scientists and managers cannot do their jobs of assessing stocks, and reviewing management measures and compliance, because they are not given all the information they need. The health and safety of both fishermen and independent observers on boats are at risk. And finally, even where there are good rules in place, there are few deterrents to ensure they are not broken!

    Albacore tuna is stacked and weighed before being shipped for processing into canned tuna. Albacore tuna is stacked and weighed before being shipped for processing into canned tuna. 

    So at this year’s WCPFC meeting, this is what Greenpeace will be calling for: reduce the number of boats, get the data, agree the rules, and enforce them. Be honest and transparent about it, and allow all interested parties to engage in the work.

    Last year I was introduced to a fellow fisheries campaigner: “Cat works on tuna and has a long involvement with the WCPFC – you can tell by the brick marks on her forehead.” It made me stop and ask why I go on banging my head against the wall. Yes these meetings can be incredibly frustrating, and there are times when I wonder why we bother, but if we don’t go, there will be no change. If we don’t go, who will speak for the fish?

    Dr Cat Dorey is the Science Advisor for Greenpeace's global Tuna Project, based in Sydney, Australia. She can often be found with her head underwater burbling at the fish.

  • Where is the hope?

    I’m not sure we can win with logic. 

    How do we reverse species loss, climate change, toxins, general overshoot of Earth’s generous habitats? We have the science, but humanity at the large scale does not appear to have the political will. We live in a pre-ecological political world, and public discourse seems corrupted by the mad clinging to those pre-ecological models of development and economics. 

    The ecology headlines this year feel disturbing — 2/3 of mammals doomed; drought in Kenya, Mozambique, US, Sri Lanka; dry rivers and water wars; Zika virus spray killing bee colonies; methane releases higher than predicted; meteorologists forced to rewrite climate predictions, for the worse; Great Barrier Reef collapsing; and American soldiers serving as a security force for oil pipeline at Standing Rock, arresting indigenous grandmothers and journalists.

    Over the decades, we’ve been able to report some good news: Rivers cleaned up (partially), ozone recovering (slowly, with some side effects), a whale sanctuary (sort of), a dumping ban (that gets ignored); and today: tiger populations increasing in Asia; a mangrove saved in Madagascar; salmon returning to Elwha River in the US, after dams removed; and new agriculture regulations in Brazil that may preserve portions of Mato Grosso forest.

    Meanwhile, we lose millions of hectares of forest every year, species loss accelerates, and toxins accumulate. 

    I’m an upbeat person. I’m willing to push, and push again, against the impossible, and still keep a sense of humour, most of the time. Even so, sometimes I contemplate: Where is the Hope?

    In geopolitical politics? I have my doubts. The global political process appears too corrupted, too distracted, too pre-ecological, too superficial, and too slow to actually address and solve our deeper ecological dilemma. 

    In climate conferences? After 30 years of climate conferences, we have the Paris agreement that does not mention fossil fuels or the need to leave them in the ground. The deal does not bind any nation to emission pledges, and - in any case- those pledges no longer appear sufficient to hold temperature increases below 3°C. When we add accelerating methane releases … well, one could be excused for feeling despair. This is where I begin to doubt we’ll win with logic. So, where is the hope?

    Time’s First Breath © Lisa GibbonsTime’s First Breath © Lisa Gibbons

    The long emergency

    History shows that transforming social structures can be painfully slow. The work helps one practice patience, which may be a good place to start finding hope. In patience. In staying calm, in feeling the world slowly and carefully. 

    We may also take comfort in the historical record, that society can change. When actual change occurs, when institutions transform, it can feel rapid, but the great campaigns for racial, religious, or gender equality, have required generations, and still remain unresolved around the world. Nevertheless, we know: Society can change. 

    We feel a ticking clock with our ecological dilemma, and this too can invoke despair. We hear that we only have 5 years, or, we only have a decade, or we have to change before 2050, or by tomorrow. And yet, nature works over millions of years, millions of generations, shrugs off disasters, and ultimately finds a new homeostasis.

    I don’t look for hope in the belief that humanity will solve our ecological crises in my lifetime, or even in my children’s or grandchildren’s lifetimes. Nature is long. Stock plays and pipelines are short. 

    The wealthy world lives a lifestyle enabled by a massive energy and materials flow to them, dependent upon colonization, exploitation, resource extraction, a trail of toxins, and a political landscape of warlords and tin-pot dictators, overseen by imperialists giants. Globalized, neoliberal capitalism is dead. We are not going to grow ourselves out of this with market forces, invisible hands, and slicker machines. Nature’s rent has come due. Like wolves, who overshoot the food supply in their watershed, our grandeur does not save us.

    The logic tells us this, the science and data tell us, our most rigorous researchers keep telling us, and even a few global institutions are beginning to acknowledge the ecological evidence, while mainstream public discourse drowns science and logic in a flood of pettiness and self-promotion. 

    Somehow, unpretentious human communities may, once again, have to do all the heavy lifting themselves, locally, with the talents they process and whatever resources they can protect. I find hope in simple people, living by simple means, working together, and restoring their habitats. 

    James Kunstler gives us the term “long emergency” to help grasp the timespan in which both ecological an social change actually occur.

    The Messenger © Lisa GibbonsThe Messenger © Lisa Gibbons

    Waking up in the wild world 

    I find hope in artists, who shake up the mainstream culture. Artists play an essential role in social transformation, giving voice to the the deeper feelings – Rouget de Lisle’s La Marseillaise among French revolutionaries, Marcus Garvey and the international Pan-African civil rights movement, Franca Rame in the anti-facist movement in Italy, El General’s O Leader! inspiring a democracy movement in Tunisian, or the Yes Men staging mock-corporate street theatre. Much loved Canadian poet Leonard Cohen passed away recently. His song from 1988, “Everybody Knows” warned us: 

    "Everybody knows that the boat is leaking

    Everybody knows that the captain lied”  

    The artists don’t have to explain things. They seize the opportunity and cut to the heart of events directly.

    Rachel Carson worked as a scientist, but her great gifts to humanity came through her powers of language and storytelling. In 1965, she wrote in The Sense of Wonder ”A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.” She spoke, of course, about the wild world, including the wildness inside ourselves that reminds us we are natural beings, related to all others, to the “four-legged, winged, and finned,” as our indigenous relatives remind us. 

    “It is a wholesome and necessary thing,” Carson wrote, “for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.” 

    Primarily, this is where I look for hope. I find hope in the wildness that is left in the world, and the wildness left in the human heart. The untamed instincts of of life and love. I find hope in the endless dance of plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria, even in the workings of life, hydrogen bonds, nutrients, minerals, sugars, and proteins, in sunlight transformed into life. I find hope in the magic of this and in the creativity of natural evolution. 

    Ebb and Flow © Lisa GibbonsEbb and Flow © Lisa Gibbons

    The hope one might find in the natural world is long, not the transient hope of an easy life or a political victory. It is the hope of a long miracle that outlives individuals, societies, and even species and habitats. 

    In the human realm, I find little hope with big institutions, governments, corporations, global economics, or conferences. I don’t find much hope in the idea that humankind will “manage” the ecosystem. That feels like short-sighted hubris “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance,” Rachel Carson reminded us fifty years ago, “born of the Neanderthal age of biology.”

    Our job, I believe is to manage ourselves, our own appetites, fears, and insecurities. Most of this cannot be organized on a global scale. An enduring humanity will likely move past the arrogance of globalized management and return to social structures built around place and community, around modesty and common decency.

    I believe we need to localize, re-commit to, restore, and protect the ecosystems in which we live.  The scattered peoples, who have lost connection to the Earth, will, once again, become indigenous eventually. I find hope in communities that have committed to a landscape, and care for it, in outcasts and simple people, disenfranchised, yet persevering and courageous. 

    “He took satisfaction in the feeling of his own littleness,” Yasunari Kawabata wrote in Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. “He even sympathized with the thought that the human species, together with the various kinds of minerals and plants, was no more than a small pillar that helped support a single vast organism adrift in the cosmos — and with the thought that it was no more precious than the other animals and plants.” 

    I take hope in that sort of modesty, in people who can do the work without calling attention to themselves, or angling for personal benefits. 

    I notice that many young couples wait to have children, have fewer children, or adopt the homeless. These are sane responses to human sprawl, and they give me hope.

    Farmer-writer Wendell Berry wrote years ago in Leavings, “Hope must not depend on feeling good;” and he suggests one looks for hope “on the ground under your feet.”  

    When I feel despair, I go back to this ground. I feel fortunate to live in a region that still supports some wildness. I walked in the woods last week with an adult friend and some school children from our neighbourhood. We wandered down to a small waterfall that empties into the Salish Sea that reaches beyond to the wide Pacific Ocean. There along the shoreline lay hundreds of Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), who had spawned and perished. Eagles had gathered in the trees to feed. Other, still living salmon worked their way, exhausted, against the current. I watched one fish, facing the current, struggling, beating her tired fins, advancing by a few centimeters over many minutes. This vision serves as my model. Pushing, never giving up, for life.

    As great Bohemian poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: “Again and again some people in the crowd wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and they emerge according to much broader laws. They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold gestures. The future speaks ruthlessly through them.”

    Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.



     Pre-ecological politics: Kurt Cobb, Resilience

     Pace of Ozone recovery: Science Daily

     Methane releases higher than predicted: Nature, and summary in The Guardian  

     Zika virus spray killing bee colonies: The Guardian

     Species decline: WWF and CBC

     Lisa Gibbons art:


  • Four ways our forests must be part of the climate conversation

    On a warming planet, forests hold the key to stopping climate change.

    Forest landscapes and agricultural areas can absorb emissions like a sponge. They take carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis, and store it in wood and in the soils. Discussions about action against climate change has focused on rebuilding our energy infrastructure towards a 100% renewable energy future. But this is only one way to limit temperature rise to the 1.5° agreed by the climate change body of the the UN, the UNFCCC. The remainder of the solution lies in our forest and plant life.

    Carpathian Forest in Romania, 20 Aug, 2016. © Mitja Kobal / GreenpeaceCarpathian Forest in Romania, 20 Aug, 2016

    We are moving ahead with building a 100% renewable future, but it will take time. If we end deforestation, forest degradation and the associated release of CO2 into the atmosphere we will start to counter human-made emissions (REDD+) by 2020. To help nature remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in peat, soils and in living trees and plants, we also need to massively increase the restoration of millions of hectares of degraded forest lands, and increase the carbon storage in agricultural soils through effective land management. If we get this right, the land and forest sector can help reduce the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pass on a climate safe for future generations.

    Intact Forest Landscapes in Russia, 13 Sep, 2016  © Igor Podgorny / GreenpeaceIntact Forest Landscapes in Russia, 13 Sep, 2016

    Here’s how it looks in numbers: 350 parts per million (ppm) is roughly the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we have traditionally been used to. The industrial age has now brought us to above 400 ppm.  If we continue on this path we could see a frightening 450 ppm or more by 2050, with catastrophic consequences.

    So, it's not just a about urgently reducing emissions. We need to actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to assure a habitable planet. We have to do this without pursuing false solutions, like bioenergy or carbon capture and storage.   

    Projections of 'we will move ahead' at COP22 in Marrakech, 17 Nov, 2016. © Angie Rattay / Greenpeace'We Will Move Ahead' projection at COP22 in Marrakech, 17 Nov, 2016.

    The conference in Marrakech barely addressed the forest and land solutions in the official negotiations. However, the awareness for the role of land-use and forests is gaining momentum. Many side events were devoted to forests and landscapes. Scientists made it clear that considered action with greater ambition is needed in this sector. Many political and business leaders and civil society organisations shared the lessons learned from pilot projects on the ground. The Brazilian Soy Moratorium -- the result of a concerted Greenpeace campaign connected to soy related deforestation in the Amazon -- was mentioned as one way forward for public/private cooperation on deforestation-free supply chains.

    Forest landscapes and agricultural areas are crucial for removing more CO2 from the atmosphere in order to achieve the 1.5° target of the Paris agreement and to allow us to adapt to climate change, promote sustainable development goals and protect biodiversity. These four points must be included in the discussion if we’re serious about tackling climate change:

    • The forest and land sector needs comprehensive, transparent and independant accounting rules for their CO2 emissions and removal, facilitating a halt in deforestation and restoring forests and other natural carbon sinks.

    • Developing countries need additional support from the Green Climate Fund and other voluntary bilateral donors for the forest and land sector and not through emission offset schemes.

    • Countries national contributions (NDCs) must step up their forests and land-use targets, which are inadequate in developing countries and virtually non-existent in developed countries.

    • Indigenous Peoples territories and community rights must be recognised and secured as they are the best guardians against deforestation and forest degradation.

    Watch: What 750 billion trees can do about climate change


    Jannes Stoppel is a Forest Campaigner with Greenpeace Germany

  • Samsung, can you hear us?

    Over the past week we've watched as thousands of people around the world joined our urgent call for Samsung to come up with a concrete plan to reuse or recycle 4.3 million Galaxy Note7s.

    From Hong Kong to Washington DC, you called Samsung’s customer support number to ask exactly whether or not the devices will be disposed of environmentally; you tweeted #GalaxyNote7, which turned into a trending topic in Mexico and took the message directly to their HQ; and most of all you put pressure on Samsung to do the right thing!

    A disassembled Samsung Galaxy Note 7A disassembled Samsung Galaxy Note 7

    Thank you for calling Samsung

    People around the world picked up their phones and called Samsung directly to ask: “What’s the plan?” Hundreds of people from Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico, the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Colombia and more took the power in their hands and asked for an answer.

    The answer? Well, we heard responses like:

    • “We don’t have that information”

    • “Samsung will destroy these phones.”

    • ”I’m sure they will recycle them.”

    • “Samsung definitely does not recycle, ever….”

    Disassembly of a Samsung Note Galaxy 7Disassembly of a Samsung Note Galaxy 7

    Paying a visit…

    Recently, our Greenpeace Korea colleagues took the message directly to Samsung’s headquarters, calling on CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to show real leadership and rethink how they design their products and reuse the precious materials that go into making them.

    Tweeting to #SaveTheGalaxy

    Meanwhile thousands of cyberactivists joined a 24-hour global tweetstorm to keep up the pressure and call on Samsung to #SaveTheGalaxy. Thanks to your actions, in Mexico we made #GalaxyNote7 a trending topic, whilst people were tweeting from every corner of the globe!

    Thanks to you we are sure that Samsung has heard our message loud and clear! Now it’s time for the tech giant to get its story straight and give us an answer - the right answer for our planet.

    How can I be part of the solution?

    Robin Perkins is the Detox Programme Leader​​ at Greenpeace México 

  • Black Friday: Breathe, take a break – the planet can't handle it anymore

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to generate billions of dollars in sales for clothing and other products this year. But this shopping bonanza also generates greater volumes of waste than ever. That is bad news for the environment.

    Time out for fast fashion illustration © Greenpeace

    Instead of chasing prey in the jungle like our ancestors did, we chase bargain clothing that seems like a good deal. Just look at the scenes that take place every year in American shopping malls on the fourth Friday of November, when people try to secure a favourable position in the queue outside shops in the early hours of the morning. One could say "Black Friday" deserves its name: Every year dozens of people are crushed, even to death, as has happened in the past.

    Black Friday, followed by Cybermonday, are intended to mark the beginning of the big shopping season, when some people start buying gifts for Christmas. Both days use heavy price discounting and special offers to trigger a sense of urgency and "exceptional opportunity" to consumers, triggering low cost, high volume impulse buying and – as a result -  overconsumption of unnecessary goods. Because it is so cheap, fast fashion is one of the highest selling product categories on Black Friday, with many major fashion brands and retail giants jumping on the bandwagon. While it is hard to resist the allure of the next must-have outfit, consumption research shows that the act of shopping only gives us a short burst of excitement, but no lasting reward. However, the environmental impact lingers and is all too real.

    The rise of fast fashion © GreenpeaceGreenpeace has shown that fashion production uses lots of precious fresh water and pollutes rivers and seas with toxic chemicals, long before it hits the shelves. We are also consuming and trashing clothing at a far higher rate than our planet can handle. Fashion retailers have been speeding up the turnaround of fashion trends since the 1980's, increasing the rate that we use and throw away clothes – the life cycle of consumer goods shortened by 50 percent between 1992 and 2002. A recent report shows that Hong Kongers throw out the equivalent of 1400 t-shirts a minute. Today's trends are tomorrow's trash.

    We are told that clothes can be recycled, but second hand markets are already overloaded with our unwanted clothes. Greenpeace research found that up to date and comprehensive figures on clothes waste are not easily available. However, we do know that in the EU 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of used clothing is generated annually, with only 10 to 12 percent of the best quality clothes re-sold locally and much of the rest likely to be exported to countries in the Global south. Some countries in East Africa, which currently import used clothing from Europe and the US, are considering restrictions to protect their local markets.

    Fast Fashion Environmental Impact © GreenpeaceFast Fashion - Environmental Impacts illustration

    Due to rising volumes of cheap, low-quality fast fashion, the second hand clothing system is on the brink of collapse. Technical solutions such as closed-loop recycling – which would make new fibres from old clothes – is nowhere near possible. Although there is currently much interest from fashion brands and designers and a lot of promising research, none of the technologies are commercially viable at this point. This means that, as the situation stands today, every garment we buy will eventually end up as waste, to be burned in incinerators or dumped in a landfill.

    The only solution is to reduce our levels of consumption. It could be as simple as taking a break from shopping on Black Friday to participate in global "Buy Nothing Day". This symbolic day invites people to stop shopping for a day and reflect on what they really need. Greenpeace supports the message of "Buy Nothing Day" and is calling for "Time out for Fast Fashion".

    Fast Fashion waste (illustration) © GreenpeaceIllustration featuring models in polyester clothing

    It's time to trash the throwaway-mentality and re-think what we really need in our wardrobes, instead of queueing up for the next cheap outfit. We can wear our clothes for longer, look after them, repair them, restyle and re-invent them, swap them with friends and pass them on. It's time for fashion brands to re-invent themselves and design clothes that we really need and enjoy wearing – designed for better quality, longevity and for re-use.

    This is the only way to make fashion fit for the future. Let’s call timeout on fast fashion.

    Happy Buy Nothing Day!

    Dr. Kirsten Brodde is the Detox my Fashion Global Project Lead at Greenpeace Germany

  • Stand for Indigenous rights – and for the planet

    People gather in San Francisco for a closing ceremony in support of the Standing Rock Nation. The protest was one of many in a global day of action calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cancel the permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline. 15 Nov, 2016  © Michael Short / Greenpeace

    For centuries, Indigenous Peoples have been fighting to protect their lands and secure their rights in the face of colonisation, environmental destruction and violence. Today – with looming global environmental crises like climate change – Indigenous communities continue to lead the world in protecting the Earth. While Indigenous Peoples represent about 6% of the world’s population, their traditional lands hold about 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity.

    Yet Indigenous communities are often those first and most impacted by environmental destruction. Again and again, governments and companies put profit above Indigenous Peoples’ rights. When Indigenous Peoples stand up for their rights and their traditional lands, those in power often go to great lengths to suppress them – from legal maneuvers, to violence, to assassination.

    Just this past Sunday, militarised police forces in the United States injured over 300 people standing up to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline on the traditional lands of the Standing Rock Sioux. Last year, 185 environmental activists were killed globally, and of those, 40% were Indigenous.

    Fighting for Indigenous rights and fighting for the planet are often one and the same. Here are four ways to stand with Indigenous communities in urgent, important struggles across the Americas.

     Protest at Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline in the US, 27 Oct, 2016,  © Richard Bluecloud Castenada / Greenpeace

    Water Protectors and the Dakota Access Pipeline

    For months, the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies – known as water protectors – have been working to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States.

    The pipeline was approved without consultation from the tribe – even though it would carry nearly 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day across Sioux ancestral lands and under the Missouri River. It poses direct threat to the rights and safety of the Standing Rock Sioux, who live less than a mile downstream.

    Thousands have joined the peaceful resistance at Standing Rock – but law enforcement has reacted with extreme aggression: teargas, rubber bullets, concussion grenades. Across the United States and around the world, from New Zealand to Laos, people are demanding that the US government stop the violence – and stop the pipeline.

    TAKE ACTION: Send a message to President Obama now to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, and learn more about directly supporting the water protector camps.

    You can also call banks financing the pipeline to tell them to withdraw their investments – and consider switching banks if you are a customer of a bank funding the pipeline. One major bank has already withdrawn investment from the pipeline after facing public criticism.

    Clara Natanine on Arctic Sunrise in Davis Strait, 11 Aug, 2016,  © Greenpeace

    The People of Clyde River and seismic blasting

    In just one week, the people of Clyde River – an Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic – are going to the Supreme Court of Canada to fight for their rights, their culture and their livelihoods. 

    The Canadian government failed to properly consult with the Clyde River community, as required by law, before giving permits to fossil fuel companies for oil exploration in the area. The way companies would look for oil is called seismic blasting – a practice so destructive it could injure whales and other marine life that the community depends on. Without these animals, the people of Clyde River would lose a vital part of their culture and their food security.

    “Save our Arctic home”

    "We are fighting for our children." Tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support Clyde River and stop seismic blasting! >> #ArcticHome

    Posted by Save The Arctic on Wednesday, August 17, 2016

    TAKE ACTION: Send Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a noise complaint and a message in support of Indigenous rights. And if you're in Canada, join the rally outside the Supreme Court in Ottawa next week.

    Berta Cáceres in the Rio Blanco region of Honduras. Photo by Tim Russo / Goldman Environmental Prize.

    Justice for Berta Caceres and the Lenca People in Honduras

    Berta Cáceres Flores was a Honduran Indigenous rights and environmental activist who led a courageous movement to defend Indigenous lands and communities. One of her biggest battles was to stop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project – a dam that threatens a sacred river for the Lenca Indigenous People in Honduras.

    But her life was cut short. On 2 March, 2016, intruders broke into her house and shot her to death.

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