Obama's proposal would allow oil and gas exploration in the coastal waters of the southern Atlantic states and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, threatening fishing and tourism industries in
|A Greenpeace activist holds an oiled bird found on a beach severely affected by an oil spill. © Greenpeace / Egor Timofeev|
Incredibly, despite dire warnings from the scientific community that we are approaching a tipping point in Earth's climate system, Mr. Obama has set us on a course toward more dependence on fossil fuels.
You can take action now to tell President Obama that it's time to break our addiction to oil. We put this video together back in 2008 to call on then-candidates Obama and McCain to restore the ban on offshore drilling that had just been repealed, and now seems like a good time to dust it off:
In his announcement, Obama insisted that this move will decrease our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs. But these claims don’t hold up to scrutiny. Investing in conservation and renewable energy would go much farther on both fronts.
The United States consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, but has only three percent of the world’s reserves. In fact, the total oil reserves along our coast represent just a fraction of current U. S. demand, meaning we’ll still have to import plenty of oil from overseas.
Meanwhile, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that onshore U.S. wind resources could generate nearly 37 million gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy every year. That’s more than nine times the amount of energy Americans currently consume annually.
Investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency has the potential to create 14.5 million more jobs by 2050 versus continued reliance on fossil fuels, and would simultaneously reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and cut our emissions of global warming pollution in the process. China and Germany are winning the clean energy race, while Obama has just staked our future and our economy on an outdated fossil fuel that will take years to extract and will cause far more harm than good.
As Albert Einstein said, we can not solve the world’s problems with the same thinking that created them. We certainly can’t solve global warming or meet this country’s energy needs by drilling for more oil. The science is clear: We have to reduce global warming pollution in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Ramping up oil drilling off America’s coasts does exactly the opposite.
It’s time to tell President Obama that we need to move forward into a clean energy future and away from ocean and climate destruction.
The announcement of Apple's iPad has been much anticipated by a world with an ever-increasing appetite for mobile computing devices as a way to connect, interact, learn and work. As rumors circulated - first about its existence and then about its capabilities - the iPad received more media attention than any other gadget in recent memory.
Whether you actually want an iPad or not, there is no doubt that it is a harbinger of things to come. The iPad relies upon cloud-based computing to stream video, download music and books, and fetch email. Already, millions access the 'cloud' to make use of online social networks, watch streaming video, check email and create documents, and store thousands of digital photos online on popular web-hosted sites like Flickr and Picasa.
The cloud is growing at a time when climate change and reducing emissions from energy use is of paramount concern. With the growth of the cloud, however, comes an increasing demand for energy. For all of this content to be delivered to us in real time, virtual mountains of video, pictures and other data must be stored somewhere and be available for almost instantaneous access. That 'somewhere' is data centers - massive storage facilities that consume incredible amounts of energy.
Greenpeace's new report, Make IT Green:Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change" shows that cloud-based computing has potentially a much larger carbon footprint than previously estimated. The report finds that at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks, the two key components of the cloud, will consume about 1,963 billion kws hrs of electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the US--or more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil -- combined.
Here is an interesting story that demonstrates how IT companies can make an impact by deciding where to site their data centers. In January 2010, Facebook commissioned a new data center in Oregon and committed to a power service provider agreement with PacificCorp, a utility that gets the majority of its energy from coal-fired power stations, the United States' largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Effectively becoming an industrial-scale consumer of electricity, Facebook now faces the same choices and challenges that other large 'cloud-computing' companies have in building their data centres. With a premium being placed on access to the cheapest electricity available on the grid. In many countries, this means dirty coal.
All the same, other companies have made better decisions for siting some of their data centres. Yahoo!, for instance, chose to build a data centre outside Buffalo, New York, that is powered by energy from a hydroelectric power plant - dramatically decreasing its carbon footprint. Google Energy, a subsidiary of cloud leader Google, applied and was recently approved as a regulated wholesale buyer and seller of electricity in the United States, giving it greater flexibility as to where it buys its electricity to power its data centers.
People are expressing their concern over the new Facebook data center on a Facebook group that has over 200,000 members. You can become a fan of the group here.Brown cloud or green cloud?
Ultimately, if cloud providers want to provide a truly green and renewable cloud, they must use their power and influence to not only drive investments near renewable energy sources, but also become involved in setting the policies that will drive rapid deployment of renewable electricity generation economy-wide, and place greater R&D into storage devices that will deliver electricity from renewable sources 24/7. If we hope to phase out dirty sources of energy to address climate change, then - given the massive amounts of electricity needed in order to run computers, provide backup power and coordinate related cooling equipment that even energy-efficient data centres consume - the last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power.
The potential of ICT technologies and cloud computing to drive low-carbon economic growth underscore the importance of building cloud infrastructure in places powered by clean renewable energy. Companies like Facebook, Google, and other large players in the cloud computing market must advocate for policy change at the local, national and international levels to ensure that, as their appetite for energy increases, so does the supply of renewable energy.
You can find out more at greenpeace.org/coolit.
Well it turns out Koch has accomplices. Lots of them.
David Koch's chief partner in crime is his brother and fellow secretive billionaire Charles. But these two are not acting alone. They are the dons of a massive climate crime family. From 2005 to 2008, the Kochs handed out almost $25 million to groups actively opposing clean energy legislation, carbon emissions regulations, and other environmental policies — groups like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and Americans for Prosperity, among many, many others.
To give you a frame of reference for that $25 million number: ExxonMobil only gave about $8.9 million to similar groups during that same period of time. You could say that the Koch Family has really muscled in on Exxon’s climate denial racket.
So we’ve launched a new report entitled “Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine” to make the Kochs and their cronies as notorious as Al Capone.
Here’s how you can help:
- Link the word “Koch” to our report, which can be found at www.greenpeace.org/kochindustries. Put up as many links as you can, everywhere and anywhere you can put up links. Help us make sure that when someone Googles “Koch,” the top search result will be our report about how they’re spreading anti-climate propaganda and misinformation via a vast web of think tanks, astroturf organizations, and other groups.
- Just as importantly, post links on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks! There are buttons on www.greenpeace.org/kochindustries to make this easy for you. When posting to Twitter, use the hashtag #Koch. And make sure to use the keyword “Koch” when posting on Facebook or any other OSN. Google can’t index content on these sites, but they have become significant search venues in and of themselves, so we want to make sure folks searching for “Koch” on these platforms find our report too.
Koch Industries has been erasing some of our comments on Facebook so far today, so let’s post so many they can’t erase them all! I suggest you scroll down to the seventh post they have, which is all about Koch's “commitment to environmental excellence,” whatever the heck that means. (Koch Industries has a terrible environmental record, by the way.)
After leaving a comment, you can unfan Koch Industries if you want, so that no one thinks you actually like the polluting, climate-denying fat cats who control the company.
Whatever you do — post to your website or blog, on your Facebook or Twitter, or just retweet a link to this blog post — you can rest assured that you’ve helped make the world a little bit safer by exposing these climate denial kingpins and their accomplices in climate crimes.
Yes, here at Greenpeace we are back to saving the whales, and in full force! When people ask me about Greenpeace they say, “how is saving the whales going?” and I always make up something about how that’s not all we do and that they have the stereotype wrong. But not this time, the whales need our help and we are prepared for battle.
Many believe that the whales are protected under a worldwide ban on whaling issued by the International Whaling Commission (IWC)…but there are some devastating loopholes in it. Countries are allowed to file for scientific research permits that allow their whaling to be legalized as Japan has done for their hunting in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. Norway and Iceland simply objected to the ban and continued whaling. But now, the United States delegation of the IWC is supporting a proposal that will restart COMMERCIAL whaling including in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. We are supposed to be saving the whales, not the whaling industry. This would only legitimize whale slaughter rather than phase it out.
But this is an absolutely ridiculous plan of action; it has no scientific merit. Countries would be given quotas on how much whaling they were allowed based on political need; where is the science in that? And to add insult to injury, if adopted, all IWC countries would be forced to financially support commercial whaling, which means taxpayers from countries that oppose commercial whaling would have to support it whether they are for it or not!
We are now asking citizens to call on President Obama to NOT overturn the ban on commercial whaling. As a candidte, President Obama said, “As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable.” (March 16, 2008 - Greenpeace candidate questionnaire). We have made huge progress in the conservation of our whale friends, but if the U.S officially endorses this proposal, it would be a step back in time to the brutal slaughter of past centuries that have brought so many populations of whales to the edge of extinction.
Let’s just hope Obama keeps his word and lets the whales have their krill and eat it too!
Tell President Obama not to overturn the whaling ban.
Traitor Joe here. I’m greening up my act to save the oceans. I know you probably think this is another one of my sneaky scams, but I swear it’s true. You really can teach an old pirate new tricks.
You see, for months Greenpeace publicly pressured Trader Joe's supermarkets to adopt sustainable seafood purchasing policies throughout all of their stores in order to help save the oceans. The store ranked 17 out of the 20 when Greenpeace evaluated their seafood polices along with other supermarkets. It was clear, Trader Joe’s needed to do better.
After months of hearing from activists and shoppers like you about how important it is to stop destroying oceans for profit, Trader Joe’s finally turned over a new barnacle.
I’ve publicly announced that Trader Joe’s stores will remove red-listed seafood, implement a sustainable seafood policy, and work with third-party, science-based organizations to establish strong, lasting guidelines for ocean protection throughout our entire seafood operation.
I’ve seen the light! And, it’s all thanks to YOU for getting in my face and exposing my bad habits. I’m finally doing my part to help save the oceans with my seafood purchasing policies. Tell Trader Joe's that you're happy they've done the right thing by sending them a thank you note. If you do, it'll bring a ray of sunshine to this rusty ole' pirate.
Now, it’s time to sink my hooks into all the other supermarkets to get them to save the oceans too.
A forever changed,
Of course, lobbyists for the coal industry aren't the only ones getting their way with policymakers these days; oil company CEOs are getting lots of love too. So to make sure our Senators know what they can expect from a relationship with Big Oil, here's the latest Polluterharmony success story:
Rex's Story exposes the truth about the Drill Baby Drill mantra to open up drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and other public lands to oil companies in the futile quest for oil independence. Oil execs know that America will always rely on oil from foreign countries. Take when George W. Bush spoke about the US addiction to imported oil during his 2006 State of the Union address. Immediately, Big Oil kicked him in the shins for having the nerve to talk about oil that way. An Exxon exec characterized getting off foreign oil as "simply not feasible."
In reality, oil CEOs want to open our coastlines and public lands to oil drilling for their own profit even though they know it will never result in "energy independence" for the United States. Until we get off of oil, we won't get off of 'foriegn oil'. Period.
But the oil companies are working their magic at the state level and on Capitol Hill... "Rex" led all Big Oil donors to "Bob's" campaign in Virginia. Governor Bob talks about the proposed drilling being "out of sight" 50 miles offshore... Has anyone else noticed that 50 miles offshore of Virginia is also 50 miles off of Maryland and North Carolina and Delaware and about 75 miles off New Jersey...? Hmm, whose ocean is it to give away?
Some Senators have definitely taken notice. Ten coastal Democratic Senators wrote Sen. Kerry and friends this week stating that climate legislation with giveaways on offshore drilling is not a bet they are willing to take. From the Senators' letter:
It has come to our attention that some interests are aggressively pursuing an effort to open the nation's coasts and oceans to unfettered access to oil and gas drilling. This is of great concern to us.Giving Big Oil access to protected places not only won't make America energy independent, it poses grave economic risks and stands to leave us with a spoiled environment and more global warming pollution. Climate and clean energy policy should move us away from oil, not further our addiction to this dangerous and dirty fuel.
As coastal Senators we truly appreciate your efforts to develop comprehensive climate legislation. After all, our states are literally the front lines when it comes to the severe impacts we'll see from sea level rise and stronger storms. But we hope that as you forge legislation, you are mindful that we cannot support legislation that will mitigate one risk only to put our coasts at a greater peril from another source."
You've probably noticed that climate deniers have been in full attack mode lately. But you might not know that while climate science as a field of inquiry has been around for over a century, the climate denial industry is relatively new, having only been around a couple decades.
In the past century we’ve certainly deepened our knowledge of how the global climate works, and the basics of climate science have been more or less understood and accepted during that time. Andy Revkin at the NYT wrote a good blog post back in January about when “the real number crunching” began on carbon emissions and how they might impact the global climate. That was all the way back in the ‘50s, so around 60 years ago. This video, as an example, is from 1958:
It wasn’t until the past 20 years, when the urgency of stopping global warming became more and more widely recognized, that there was all of a sudden “doubt” about climate science. Conveniently, these doubts arose just as lawmakers the world over began considering regulations on carbon emissions that would deal with the climate crisis — and would also adversely impact the bottom lines of fossil fuels companies, energy providers, and other big polluters who are making a killing while dumping millions of tons of carbon pollution into our atmosphere every year.
These doubts about climate science were of course completely manufactured by dirty energy companies, their lobbyists, and their pals at various institutions that make up the Great Climate Denial Machine. These polluter barons are more than happy to continue poisoning and polluting the atmosphere as long as they can keep profiting from their unsustainable business models. Our own Cindy Baxter at Greenpeace International wrote up a report called Dealing in Doubt to tell the entire sordid tale of the 20-year campaign to block progressive climate and clean energy legislation through a deliberate campaign of lies and misinformation.
The anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory has been widely corroborated by decades-worth of data compiled by research institutions across the globe. Climate deniers know they can't attack the science head on, so the only thing left for them to do is muddy the debate by sowing enough doubt to justify further delays. Dealing in Doubt lays out exactly how they've done that for the past 20 years. It's worth a read for anyone who wants to understand how we got where we are in the climate debate, and wants to help forge a path toward a clean energy future by countering the lies and misinformation of the climate denial industry.
People often give internships a bad name, like all that interns do is file things and get ignored. Yes, most interns have some less-than-exciting work, but internships are way more than that. They can awaken interests and skills you didn’t know you had, and launch a career.
But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to how Hilary, our current Oceans intern, describes her time here: “My internship so far has been an exciting glimpse into my future career after college. I have learned more in the last few months than I have in my entire 3 years at university. I have attended meetings at the Department of Commerce, spoken with scientists at the top of their fields, and seen exciting environmental breakthroughs through the eyes of Greenpeace.”
Lisa, our Student Network intern, says “This is an internship that is really hands on when it comes to dealing with students and grassroots organizing…I'm getting out of this internship what I really hoped I would.”
It’s great to be Greenpeace’s Intern Coordinator, because I get to connect talented people like Hilary and Lisa with opportunities to experience what it’s like to work in a fast-paced global environmental organization. Because we’re a large organization with a lot of different work going on, interns here have the opportunity to work in specialized areas, like on one particular campaign (Global Warming, Forests, Oceans, or Toxics), or on online organizing or research or development, or…or... And we don’t have just environmental or campaign-focused opportunities, but also administrative internships, such as computer programming, human resources, legal, and accounting. Greenpeace interns also get the opportunity to join in trainings on topics like messaging, organizing, and non-violence.
So if you’re interested in protecting the environment, fighting global warming, learning about how campaigning organizations and non-profits work, apply for a Greenpeace internship! If you want to work in an exciting, savvy organization, and learn from experienced organizers and campaigners, apply for a Greenpeace internship! If you want to work with people from around the country and around the world to create a green and peaceful future, apply for a Greenpeace internship!
Our summer internships start June 7th and we’ll begin interviewing candidates soon. The deadline to apply is April 23rd. Positions are available in Washington, DC, San Francisco, New York, Denver, Portland, Chicago, LA, Burlington, and Philadelphia. All internships are unpaid. Unfortunately Greenpeace cannot provide travel or housing.
If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being an intern for Greenpeace is unlike anything I was expecting. I had only done one internship previously and I had been stuck in a stuffy cubicle and talked to someone maybe once a day; more or less the opposite of my experience here.
Back at college I was an environmental engineering major. I hated the school, I hated the major, I hated being in the middle of nowhere; basically I was miserable. Transferring was my only option, but unfortunately I had missed the due date to apply for the spring semester. Knowing this, I still knew I had to get out of there.
Almost immediately I had an Internet browser up and was frantically scouring the web for an environmental internship. Then I found it, my own personal Holy Grail, Greenpeace’s internship website. One application, two interviews, and a multitude of emails later…it was goodbye college and hello non-violent direct action!
The moment I stepped into the D.C Chinatown office I knew I would love it here. The walls were painted cheery colors and everyone had permanently cheery smiles on their faces. A group of us were shown around and introduced during intern orientation, but after that we were just of kind of thrown into things. Here you are not “baby-ed” or given busy work; whatever, you end up doing is viewed as important and useful. Being here, I actually feel as if I am accomplishing something. Greenpeace, as an organization, relies on individuals to give our Earth a voice; and it sounds dorky but I actually feel as if I am making a difference.
I work on the web-team in the communications department. My frequent tasks including writing up blogs (usually on whatever environmental issue I personally find interesting), updating the website, writing articles, and tweeting. I never knew my social networking addiction could translate into an internship and help raise environmental awareness; it’s actually pretty awesome!
That is the wonderful thing about working here at Greenpeace; you can always find something you’re interested in. There are so many different positions and opportunities available that it seems like it would be pretty hard to not find an opportunity that you’ll fall in love with like I did. Everyday my list of new assignments is followed by, “is there anything you want to do? I want you to get what you want out of this internship”. This really has been the opportunity of a lifetime and I encourage all of those who have a passion for protecting the planet to apply. Get into the spirit of non-violent direct action today!
Their video asks people to call Trader Joe’s executive Jon Basalone (626.599.3700 x3756) and demand that the store only sells sustainable seafood. Mr. Basalone’s been getting phone calls and emails for months about this and so far, he’s done nothing about it! What a guy. Sounds like something I’d do—ignore the public’s demand while saying that his company only listens to their customers.
Keep up the good work Mr. Basalone!
Most people have never heard of Koch Industries and its principal shareholders, brothers David and Charles Koch. And that's the way they want it so that they can continue to fund climate denial and block clean energy and climate policy. Read more on HuffPo, or check out for yourself which institutions and organizations are taking Koch money and doing their dirty work at www.greenpeace.org/kochmoney.
There’s just no way we can prepare for a chemical disaster. It’s unnerving to say, but airborne chemicals travel faster than we could run or drive out of harms way. That’s why we have to focus on preventing these chemical disasters from occuring in the first place! Let’s tighten up security and keep everyone safe.
I was astounded to find out that a third of Americans are at risk. The Department of Homeland Security has identified over 5,800 “high-risk” chemical plants. An accident or an attack on just 300 of them would put 110 million Americans at risk. There is a good possibility that you are at risk of exposure if an accident were to occur.
But, what kinds of chemicals are being produced at these plants that are risky? I did some digging and found out that chlorine gas is one of the most dangerous chemicals that environmentalists and legislators are trying to protect us from.Chlorine is used in the production of thousands of products, from household cleaning supplies, to the disinfecting of water; making it one of the top ten most produced chemicals in the United States. It is a naturally occuring chemical element, one of 100 others that make up basic building blocks of matter. Chlorine’s popular disinfectant properties stem from its unstable manner. It easily bonds with other chemicals to destroy various bacteria (most commonly found in nature as already bonded).
However, when isolated Chlorine becomes incredibly dangerous. At room temperature elemental Chlorine is a yellowish-green gas with a pungent odor similar to that of bleach. For shipment and storage, the gas is usually pressurized and cooled to form an amber liquid. If the chemical were to leak, it would quickly turn into a gas and spread rapidly.
Chlorine is incredibly dangerous, unstable and can react with a variety of other chemicals when released into the environment. An accidental leak or spill can pose serious health risks to those exposed. Low levels of exposure can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation. However, breathing in high levels of airborne chlorine can lead to fluid build up in the lungs, formally known as Pulmonary Edema. This build up can cause shortness of breath and lead to respiratory failure. If not treated this condition can be fatal. 63 of the 101 most dangerous “high-risk” facilities are chlorine gas plants.
But, on the bright side of all this Clorox recently announced that they would move away from extremely hazardous chlorine gas and start using liquid bleach to add extra layers of security.
This highlights the exciting news that safer alternatives are out there! But, unless Congress passes legislation, not everyone will follow the new safety standards. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to push Congress in the right direction. The House of Representatives passed a comprehensive chemical security bill last year. Whoo hooo! Now, it’s the Senate’s turn. And, the timing couldn’t be more urgent. Please help us get the word out.
Take Action. We need to make sure that the bill coming out of the Senate is just as strong as the one that the House passed. That’s where we need your help! Start a picket! Riot in the streets! Well…maybe those aren’t such good ideas. A simple phone call or letter to your Senators can go a long way. You can make a difference.
We can't let the chemical industry lobbyist win! They've been blocking strong chemical security legislation for nine years. These “big business” lobbyists are pulling out all the stops to prevent safety from prevailing. In 2008 Greenpeace identified 169 lobbyists registered to keep Congress from enacting a strong chemical security law. We can’t let them win!
Do you have a few minutes to help us win this important campaign? All you have to do is pick up your phones and call your Senators. It’s easy to do and makes a big difference.
Step 1: Pick up your phone and call the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask for your Senator and you'll be transferred to their office line. If you don't know your Senator, the switchboard will help you find that out.
Step 2: When the receptionist answers the phone tell them your name and where you're from (city, state).
Step 3: Ask if you can leave a message for your Senator. Here is an example of a message that you can leave,
"As a concerned citizen and one of your constituents, I’m calling to ask you to co-sponsor and support Senator Lautenberg's Secure Chemical and Water Facilities Act when it's introduced and comes up for a vote. Putting millions of Americans needlessly at risk when there are safer alternatives readily available is dangerous and doesn't make sense."
Step 4: Once you’ve made the call, brag about it! Tell us you made the call and we’ll jump for joy.
It’s just unbelievable that one in three Americans are put at an unnecessary risk from dangerous chemical plants. It’s time for all of us to do our part to get the word out. Thank you so much for your help.
Following the release of a new report, Greenpeace activists around the world are taking action to tell Nestle – the largest food and drink company in the world – to stop sourcing palm oil from rainforest destroyers. Send your own message to Nestle and help spread the word!
The new report: “Caught Red Handed: How Nestle’s Use of Palm Oil is Having a Devastating Impact on Rainforest, the Climate and Orangutans” exposes how Nestle’s growing use of palm oil is linked to companies involved in the destruction of forests and peatlands in the Paradise Forest region of Southeast Asia.
The Paradise Forests are one of the most important, but highly threatened, tropical forests on the planet. Boasting world-famous wildlife diversity, the rainforest islands of Paradise are home to critically endangered orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and spectacular birds found no where else on Earth. But with a world-record breaking deforestation rate, there’s not much time to protect their habitat.
That’s why Greenpeace is hitting hard and moving fast. Seven hours after the campaign launch this morning, Nestle has taken a small step in the right direction. In a statement released this morning from its headquarters in Switzerland, the food and drink giants said that it will stop buying palm oil directly from notorious rainforest destroyer Sinar Mas group.
But, that’s not the end of the story. This action by Nestle is long-overdue and doesn’t address the big palm oil problems facing the company. Nestle gets a lot more palm oil from Sinar Mas
and other destructive suppliers through traders--companies like Cargill that combine, refine and distribute palm oil to corporate customers. So, with your help, Greenpeace will continue to push Nestle cut Sinar Mas from its supply chain completely and become a public advocate for peatland protection and a moratorium on forest destruction for palm oil.
In the meantime, clearly worried about their brand image, Nestle petitioned YouTube to remove the new Greenpeace campaign video "Have a break?" due to a copyright claim. If Nestle is really concerned about its corporate image, it should prioritize cutting its links to rainforest destruction instead!
This move has not stopped Greenpeace from spreading the message, you can now view the video on Vimeo below.
Note that the (startling!) video plays off Nestle’s popular, palm oil filled Kit Kat candy bar. Greenpeace is using this video outside of the U.S. because in this country, Kit Kat is licensed to and made by Hershey’s. While the Hershey’s version of Kit Kat also includes palm oil, our new report does not investigate the company’s palm oil sourcing. With that in mind, view the spoof advertisement to show Nestle you don’t like rainforest destruction or their meddling with YouTube videos!
And, most importantly, spread the word and send a message to Nestle today!
“Who the heck are the Kochs?” you might be asking, and I don’t blame you. They’re a pretty secretive duo, even though they are the principal shareholders of Koch Industries (it's pronounced like "Coke," by the way), an oil supply and refining company that is one of the largest private corporations in the US.
Though they like to brag about being “the biggest company you’ve never heard of,” the Kochs do not why away from meddling in public affairs all the same. Koch Industries is among the biggest lobbying spenders in the oil industry and Koch’s political action committee (PAC) spent more on contributions to federal candidates since the 2006 election cycle than any other oil-and-gas sector PAC.
The Kochs also funnel millions of dollars through their three “charitable” foundations to a whole bunch of the worst climate deniers, like the Cato Instititute and the Heritage Foundation. From 2005 to 2008, the Koch foundations gave over $24.8 million in funding to climate denial groups, outdoing even ExxonMobil, which gave about $9.1 million to similar organizations over the same period of time. You can see the recipients of Koch’s dirty fossil fuel money and the exorbitant sums each has received over the years by visiting www.greenpeace.org/kochmoney.
You’ve probably even seen or heard of their handiwork before, though you may not have known who was behind it. The “Hot Air Tour,” which aims to spread climate denial talking points and misinformation about global warming through a touring hot air balloon, was launched by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP). David Koch is the founder and chairman of AFP, which, not coincidentally, has receieved some $5 million from Koch foundations.
Plenty more fun and interesting facts about how the Kochs spend their money to buy influence on Capitol Hill and ensure that we delay action on global warming long enough for them to rake in several more billions of dollars can be found in this factsheet (PDF).
How can you help counter the Koch’s influence on the climate debate? Help us shine a light on their funding of climate denial by using the buttons at the top of this post to share this story on Facebook, Tweet it, or send it to your friends and family.
David Koch’s oil money may get his name on an exhibit at the Smithsonian, but together we can ensure that the true Koch family legacy is known as one of environmental crimes, lobbying to block clean energy, and funding global warming denial front groups.
Yesterday, expert witness Prof. Voorhoof in the Tokyo Two case spoke on a panel hosted by Aoyama University Society for the Study of Human Rights. He sat with lawyers helping to advance freedom of expression in Japanese society, a defendant from the Tachikawa leafletting case, as well as with co defendant Junichi Sato. Voorhoof spoke about the ‘chilling effect’ that can happen when journalists and citizens no longer puruse information inportant to society for the fear of consequences. Others spoke about the value of freedom of expression in Japan as a democracy and the need to encourage whistleblowers to come forward.
This university event was important for the T2, because while they are helping to put whaling on trial, they also see their case as a vanguard for civil rights in Japanese society. The general asessment by both European and Japanese experts is that in most developed democracies, the T2 would not be standing trial for actions done during their investigation into whale meat embezzlement. Voorhoof and others have outlined the reasons why, and why according to the Japan’s international commitments, it is undermining its own professed values.
The work of Greenpeace surrounding the Tokyo Two case is an effort to guarantee that whaling be put on trial, that the evidence gathered meticulously to expose whale meat embezzlement be heard. It is an effort to exonerate those who in the spirit of democracy pursued information for the public good. This is not an indictment of Japan, it is an indictment of a corrupt whaling industry hiding behind a shadowy government body. This is a test of a government to uphold democratic principles at home that give it positive standing abroad. Freedom of expression can be interpreted differently in different situations, but Article 19 of the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and relevant international case law show that in the case of the Tokyo Two, Japan is in violation.
Everyone at one time or another has faced some unpleasant reality about their home country. At the moment, for the T2 team in Japan, that probably includes the 99+% conviction rate, or the fact that the judges who hear the opening of the trial, won’t be the ones who reach a final verdict. Most likely, it includes a national media failing to report the trial as a landmark freedom of expression case because of a pro-whaling public, or a government so afraid of the truth, it sends 75 policemen to arrest two people who took then returned a box worth around $500 USD.
Panelists from the university discussion yesterday made some compelling points. Voorhoof noticed the increased interest in the topic of freedom of expression in Japan from his last visit in June. Another panelist said that Japanese laws should not be designed to protect those who do not engage in free speech, for those who wish only to be sheltered from unpleasantness. Taking this idea further, without the engagement of civil society, freedom of expression is just an abstract concept written in a document. We must act to guarantee the realization of this idea for ourselves and for the Tokyo Two. Take action before the next trial phase in May and verdict in June.
"Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity."
- Sean O'Casey
Check out this blog from Olly Knowles, I thought you'd all enjoy reading about his work. He's an oceans campaigner with Greenpeace and is currently in Doha, Qatar, following the CITES
meeting that could save or fail Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.
CITES COP 15 is now properly up and running and it’s a veritable quagmire of lobby and counter-lobby, I can tell you. The big issue on the table is of course bluefin tuna – and not just for Greenpeace. It’s a key item for the CITES secretariat as well which means it's very high profile. Most of the other NGOs here are also working very hard on the issue – all of this combined is making bluefin a big media story, not least in the national Qatari press, which is useful because delegates are getting free copies every morning.
It won’t surprise you to hear that the Japanese are here in large numbers and are lobbying aggressively against an Appendix I listing for Atlantic bluefin tuna. Their current strategy is to scare developing nation delegates (especially the West Africans at the moment) with stories of displaced European fleets heading South to raid their waters because they can no longer fish for tuna. It’s nonsense of course – most of the vessels involved in fishing in the Med for instance are nowhere near capable of Atlantic ocean-going fishing or equipped for it – but we are encountering many African delegates who are believing the story. So our efforts, and the efforts of our NGO colleagues, are very much directed at countering this argument at the moment. But it’s not easy – between the official country delegation for Japan, the many Japanese fishing organizations and trade associations that are also here, the Japanese delegation is much larger than usual, way above their usual CITES average. They mean business.
We’ve had some good media on the ground here. Bluefin tuna was a lead article on the front page of the Qatari Gulf Times on the opening day. I’ve also done a head to head on Al Jazeera with a member of the Japanese delegation which went very well for us. I put forward how silly the Japanese position is – if they want to keep eating the stuff, why on earth wouldn’t they support a temporary trade ban to protect it for the long-term. He had difficulty answering.
Other news, the proposed European compromise is obviously a big talking point. The CITES Secretariat has initiated a legal review of the European position which is due to report back in a day or two. It will be interesting to see how this impacts.
You can read more updates from CITES at Charles Clover's blog.
One in three Americans is currently at unnecessary risk from dangerous chemical plants. One in three!
And, if you think that’s crazy, wait until you read this. There are safer alternatives to keep us out of harm’s way, but they’re not being used. What’s the holdup? While Congress has the opportunity to change all this, chemical security lobbyists are pulling out all the stops to put profits and politics above our safety and security.
We've proven that we can take on these chemical lobbyists. Last November, the House of Representatives passed comprehensive chemical security legislation. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn. But, we need YOU to take action once again, telling your Senators to get tough on chemical security.
Your help is urgently needed because just this week Senators are meeting to discuss taking up the House bill and to kick off the process. We need to make sure that the bill that comes out of the Senate does as much to protect Americans as the version that passed the House.
Putting millions of Americans needlessly at risk when there are safer alternatives readily available just doesn’t make any sense. Your Senators have a chance to end this insanity by supporting comprehensive chemical security legislation this year. Please take action today.
Polar bears are so deceptive. All along they have been the ones behind global warming and concocting radical schemes to get themselves on the endangered list. They have been polluting Alaskan waters and destroying their own habitats for decades just to prove a point. They want the fame and the fortune that goes hand in hand with being endangered. Polar bears are out to ruin Alaska’s economy, how conniving of them.
Wait, what’s wrong with this picture?
About a fifth of the world’s diminishing polar bear population resides in Alaska. Recently, polar bears have been added to the endangered species list. How outrageous! Those polar bears should be ashamed of themselves! Of course, Alaskan law makers must remedy the bear’s meddling antics by spending millions of dollars to try and have the decision reversed. Those darn bears are purposely ruining their economy!
Polar bears are one of the largest bears on earth whose only predator is man. Global warming and oil spills are the largest threats currently effecting polar bears. Global warming diminishes habitats and when oil sticks to their fur, they cannot regulate their body temperature and if they ingest it while grooming it causes death. Hmm, isn’t Alaska’s main source of state revenue supplied by the oil industry? So, by protecting the polar bears and their natural habitat, it could effect the pipelines? Well, we simply cannot have that. The bears must go!
Or…Alaska’s economy could maintain their fishing and mining economy, which held them for so many centuries. But, why settle when you can kill off a majestic arctic animal that cannot help where it lives or how it is effected? Alaskan lawmakers are trying to put together a campaign to get the bears off the endangered list and into their graves. If polar bears aren’t protected now, what will happen? Despite what these politicians say, the animals are decreasing; their population is not stable. Polar bears cannot just pack up their suitcases and head off to the Caribbean for a nice vacation when things get tough up in the Arctic.
Alaskan legislatures are getting antsy. For years environmentalists have petitioned for more Alaskan animals to be listed and for offshore petroleum exploration be stopped. And now that they have finally gotten their way, lawmakers are not happy (to put it nicely). "The application for this listing is based on the unfounded, unproven scientific hypothesis that climate change is caused by human activity, in the form of increased release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere," said Harris, who was House speaker. Global warming is simply a glitch? It’s not actually happening? Wake up Alaska, global warming is real, and it’s headed strait for the arctic.
Polar bears did not do this to themselves, nor were they scheming to ruin Alaska’s economy. They are just one of the thousands of helpless species subjected to pollution and global warming. They finally caught a break, so please don’t ruin it for them.
CITES, the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species, is meeting this week in Doha, Qatar. The star of this meeting is Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - and the big question is whether or not CITES will be able to give this species the protection that regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO) have not been able to give.
Some major fishing nations, like Japan (who also happens to be the main consumer of the species) have been saying that CITES should not be managing fish stocks, that this is a job for RFMOs. They're right. CITES isn't going to be managing the stock, it's going to try to save it.
ICCAT and its contracting parties, in particular EU and Mediterranean countries that take most of the catch, have repeatedly rejected scientific recommendations to limit catch quotas and protect spawning grounds.
ICCAT’s own scientists have been sounding the alarm on the dire state of bluefin stocks for over a decade. From 2006, they recommended catch quotas of no more than 15,000 tonnes – and no fishing at all in spawning grounds during crucial breeding seasons (May and June). Not only did bluefin fishing nations such as France, Spain and Italy and others reject this advice but they actually started to build bigger, more efficient fishing vessels.
The fact that a listing on Annex I of CITES (an Annex that essentially stops all international trade) is necessary shows the failure of ICCAT to actually manage this stock sustainably. It's a dire indictment showing that the fate of an entire species has for too long be left in the hands of a body that does not do its job properly.
Interestingly, the proposal put forward by Monaco enhances the need for cooperation between ICCAT and CITES and supports a delisting of the species when the stocks have recovered AND when ICCAT demonstrates its ability to manage the fishery properly.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is in danger of being depleted beyond recovery. CITES can save it.
- Posted by Juliette
Today was the final day for this phase of the trial of the Tokyo Two. Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki are facing trial for exposing a whale meat embezzlment scandal within lethal research whaling in Japan. Having deconstructed the cover-up of the embezzlement scandal during the first part of the week, the defense now had to establish that Junichi and Toru were not only morally, but also legally justified in their actions. So today, the defense called Professor Dirk Voorhoof, an international expert on the right to freedom of expression, to explain the significance of international treaties Japan has ratified.
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human regarding freedom of expression has been interpreted in nearly 600 cases over the past 30 years. This body of case law is often applied when making judgments on the application of other international conventions like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR guarantees freedoms of expression and freedom of information.
There is less case law on Article 19, so countries that are parties to the ICCPR have used examples from the European Court of Human Rights to pass down opinions. According to Voorhoof and even prominent Japanese legal authorities like Yuji Iwasawa, the current chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, Article 19 should be taken into account in criminal cases in Japan. The ICCPR is binding and has a place within the legal order of Japan.
Case after case was brought to the court showing both Article 19 of ICCPR and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights being applied to journalists, NGOs, and citizens who had acted within their rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information. According to Voorhoof, these numerous cases help to establish criteria for the European Court of Human Rights and UN Court of Human Rights to decide whether a person who had violated a criminal code in pursuit of information, was still acting in accordance with their rights of freedom of expression. Below are summarized points Voorhoof made about these criteria and the application of them to the case of the T2.
2. There were no real effective alternatives to obtain evidence of whale meat embezzlement
3. This was (box of unesu, or whale bacon) crucial evidence, it was convincing evidence, sufficient evidence that whale meat was being secretly embezzled
4. No major damage was done to persons or institution-no physical damage to anyone, only the minor damage of temporarily keeping the box before delivering to the public prosecutor's office
5. It is clear the T2 had no intention to steal or keep something for their personal profit. This is demonstrated by the fact that they brought the evidence and information to the attention of media and the public through a press conference and then delivered it to the public prosecutor.
6. They presented their evidence with integrity, without sensationalizing it - they did not breach the personal privacy of the crew members, an element that shows good faith
7. Future effects: If you convict a journalist, a citizen, or members of an NGO it can have a "chilling effect" making others scared of expressing information in the future. Proportionality is important to this. If a disproportionate sanction (jail sentence, fine, admonishment, even lenient punishment ect) is given that in itself can violate Article 10 of the European Convention
Voorhoof pointed out to the court that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has already handed down an opinion that the arrest of Junichi and Toru, and the seizure of Greenpeace office computers and documents violated Article 19 of the ICCPR. This is an authoritative opinion reached by international experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. A conviction of Junichi and Toru would only increase the chilling effect in society. Voorhoof also stated that the T2 case shows how important transparency in a democracy is. Media, NGOs, and citizens have a right to contribute to this process: "If Japan wants to develop more as an open and pluralistic society, it should value the voices of NGOs and their contribution to the public interest."
The above images are ©Greenpeace/ Sutton-Hibbert
Step by step, the T2 outlined the process of uncovering the whale meat embezzlement scandal. During their investigation, which took place in 2008, informants' statements were confirmed, shipments tracked, on-the-street interviews were conducted with underground whale meat vendors, and crew lists and shipment records were cross-checked. All of this meticulous leg work led to a box, the physical confirmation of embezzlement. The contents were unesu, or "whale bacon," which confirmed an open-secret of embezzlement taking place on the Nisshin Maru ship.
Junichi explained the roles on the investigation team. He described sending a box through courier to help track the shipments. Toru recalled fact-checking on tips from informants. You can read about this in the evidence from Greenpeace.
This afternoon, in an emotional moment, Toru recounted the events surrounding his arrest. In numbers: 75 police officers were sent to arrest the T2. Eight men searched Toru's home. He spent 26 days in custody — 23 without charges and under interrogation without lawyers. He lost six kilos in the first four days of a nine-day hunger strike in protest of the disregard by police of the Greenpeace explanation of the investigation.
Toru was told by one policeman that it usually takes only two officers to arrest a person for something like taking a box. The police's reaction during the T2 arrest versus their reaction to the embezzlement evidence was disproportionate, to say the least. When asked why he didn't take the box to the police, he told the court that from his experience in the motorcycle trading business that police would not move on a tip — especially one that involved government and DIET (parliament) members, or even so-called "research whaling." It would be necessary to mobilize media and public pressure to secure a proper investigation. One officer told Toru that if it weren't for his occupation as a policeman, he would tell Toru he had done a great job.
The prosecution didn't have much to say, and probably only spent 20 minutes in total cross-examination of the T2. Their questions didn't lead to much either, and the lead prosecutor once even posed the befuddling argument: Well, if crew members, Kyodo Senpaku, and the Fisheries Agency of Japan all know about it and it is not a secret then it cannot be embezzlement.
I suppose the prosecutor must not consider very significant the idea that individuals are personally profiting off of a taxpayer sponsored "research program," or that this meat is not recorded in the Kyodo Senpaku Company record.
Read the Press Release from Monday's court proceedings, and a recount of whistle blower testimony with nearly 30 years working for Kyodo Senpaku, whaling company.
This phase of the trial is over tomorrow, but the next phase is in May, so there is still time to sign the whale trial pledge!
March 9th 2010
The whistle-blower's testimony is based on nearly 30 years of experience working for Kyodo Senpaku, the whaling company, and his observations of the inner workings on the Nisshin Maru whaling vessel during two voyages with the fleet in the early 90s. The whistle blower commented that, in his view, embezzlement occurred when crew took the best parts of whale meat on deck before the company takes its official data, when the total amount of whale caught is never properly recorded. He witnessed crewmembers salting or preserving whale meat in their rooms, and noted that crew members favor the young and soft whale meat.
Between the prosecution and the defense was a three-sided screen blocking the audience view of the witness stand. These screens protected the identity of a whistle blower witness, the only one of many informants during the whale meat embezzlement investigation to take the stand. He said he came to court today because he is in favor of commercial whaling and thinks that the research whaling and embezzlement practices within it should be stopped.
One difference between “souvenir” meat distributed by Kyodo Senpaku, and “embezzled” meat, he noted, was that embezzled meat is often of higher quality. He said that while he was on the ship, members of ICR, The Institute of Cetacean Research, took onomi, or tail meat, for themselves while claiming it was for research. According to the whistle blower, crew members did not like the officials taking such valuable cuts, as they were there to do their lethal research, not private business. He recounts finding an ICR member on the '93-'94 Antarctic voyage in the ship’s freezer storing the coveted onomi. He talks of boxes addressed to DIET members (Parliament of Japan) and Fisheries Agency of Japan (FAJ) officials, and how the head of whale processing enjoys a status about as good as the ship's captain. Hierarchy could get you more cuts of valuable meat, he explained, and embezzlement on the Nisshin Maru is an open secret -- once you are on board the Nisshin Maru, you are aware it is happening.
A Supposed Investigation
When the T2 brought forth all of the evidence of whale meat embezzlement to the Tokyo Prosecutor, the whistleblower was approached by police. The police came to him with their own assumptions, such as that Greenpeace had stolen official “souvenir” whale meat. After taking his statement, the police returned with an official copy. They had omitted the information he gave regarding any widespread embezzlement, and he protested. The police suggested he sign a statement that he had never received unauthorized whale meat. He wouldn’t, he said, because that was just untrue. According to the whistleblower, whaling crews in recent years have actually taken more cuts of meat than before.
Ideas about Tradition and Reality
Ship crew, whale meat production staff, and ICR employees on board may be aware of details described above, but a survey done by Greenpeace Japan in 2006 revealed the public does not: 77% of people surveyed were against Japan whaling outside of Japan’s seas; 95% did not eat whale meat; 92% did not know that whalers also caught endangered species like humpback whales. When Junichi took the stand at 1:15pm today, the court got the chance to hear the truth about commercial whaling and research whaling. Finally, evidence from the whale meat embezzlement investigation that Junichi helped uncover would be heard.
He spoke about Japan’s role in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) including monetary incentives given for countries to join, their side. At the IWC, Japan states that research whaling is an exception to the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, and that is how the Nisshin Maru can continue to hunt. This is the same research whaling the whistleblower accuses of embezzling whale tail meat.
The Right to Know
Junichi retraced conversations with many informants. Crewmembers provided pictures, and long detailed stories to Junichi and the investigation.. You can read more about this evidence in the whale meat embezzlement scandal as well as follow-up investigations in the updated dossier. The box of whale bacon, unesu, was finally intercepted and documented by the team, the linchpin in a long investigation. After talking to the prosecutor’s office which had agreed to follow-up on the investigation, he was surprised to discover later that the investigation had been dropped. He was more surprised though when a reporter called him to ask if he had any comments about his imminent arrest to occur the next day.
The lead defense lawyer asked, what do you want to say to the Aomori Court?
Junichi gave an impassioned speech about citizens and democracy, that citizens have a right to investigate and the UNWGAD (UN working group on arbitrary detention) supports that statement. If this was just a case of a stolen box, why would he make such elaborate documentation and research? NGOs should be supported in their endeavors to uncover the truth for the public good.
The prosecution will cross-examine Junichi tomorrow, and Toru will take the witness stand. What happened today was amazing, as was Junichi's bravery: a dossier of evidence was laid out including video from the investigation, and whaling was finally put on trial in a Japanese courtroom.
Three Greenpeace activists were taken into custody after deploying a floating banner in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building in plain view of a favorite destination for polluter lobbyists — Senator Lisa Murkowski's Washington DC office. The banner exposed Murkowski's close relationship with dirty energy interests and promoted PolluterHarmony, a spoof online dating site launched just before Valentine's Day to help connect polluters, industry lobbyists, and politicians.
Murkowski's continued counterinsurgency against Obama's EPA is part of a multilateral attack by corporations, corporate lobbyists and their friends in right wing think tanks and front groups.
Read more over on Huffington Post.
Outside of the Aomori District Court today, a living statue of Lady Justice stood beside a banner with some of the names of the 500,000 people who have pledged to support the Tokyo Two. Co-defendants Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki walked in to court knowing they have support from all around the world, and walked out with new information that leads us to believe Kyodo Senpaku, government subsidized whaling company, lied to the public and the Fisheries Agency of Japan.
It began with testimony given today by former crew member (Mr. X) of the Nisshin Maru. He is entangled in this case because some of his “souvenir” whale meat was contained in the box of evidence discovered by Junichi and Toru, though he had given it to another crew member. Read more about the investigation, the coverup, and the T2 case.
Although he was a defense witness, Mr. X was not exactly thrilled to be in the Aomori courtroom and was considered a hostile witness. According to his own evidence, he must have taken far more than his “souvenir” allowance in unesu or whale bacon as a crew member. His story has changed in regards to amounts, of whale meat he sent home in boxes, the types of cuts (young whale unesu or less valuable guts and fins), and when he sent them. It seems in order to account for the high number of boxes sent as personal effects, he claimed many of the boxes he sent contained alcohol or ice from Antarctica.
Mr. X was unable to explain why more senior crew members leave with more “luggage” at the end of their journey, boxes and boxes of items loaded immediately by the processing crew onto to trucks after arriving to port. They would not have been able to acquire such a load from gift shopping at ports of call (there are no shopping malls in the Southern Ocean). He also couldn’t explain why a box of whale bacon worth thousands of dollars was labeled cardboard.
He was clear about one thing: Kyodo Senpaku, his former employer, has never contacted him about the whale meat embezzlement case or the T2. The company claims to have launched an internal “investigation “after Greenpeace uncovered the original embezzlement. Kyodo Senpaku arranged their internal investigation on instruction from the Fisheries Agency of Japan which oversees the company. In July 2008, the Agency released a document and announced they were scandal-free and that in the course of the investigation, all crew were interviewed and asked about their personal cargo.
Public support has helped make it possible to hear evidence like this, to help put whaling as an industry on trial. We hope that the Aomori District Court will get the message from our living statue who faced the cold and snow today. Justice is blind, and the judges should not weigh evidence one way because of government involvement.
Follow the latest goings on in the trial on twitter.
Photo with Junichi and Toru at a Press Conference this evening:
The latest Greenpeace shenanigans are these scallywag student activists. They’re like annoying barnacles on the bottom of my ship. They’re plentiful and won’t go away easily.
They’ve descended on local Trader Joe stores between San Francisco and Los Angeles asking store managers to live up to their sustainable reputation by pulling red-listed fish from their shelves. I hope each store manager tells these young activists to walk the plank!
So what if Target recently announced they’d no longer sell farm raised salmon and that Whole Foods has created a publicly available sustainable seafood policy? Doesn’t bother me! And no one really cares that Safeway has publicly dropped several red-list species and entered into a partnership with Fishwise, a reputable environmental organization. I’m going to continue ignoring the public’s cries for ocean protection.
If my practices are making you upset, then you can either walk the plank too or stop your bellyaching and do something about it. Every time you walk into your neighborhood Trader Joe's, tell them you are disappointed in their seafood choices. And, while you're there, remind them that you don't enjoy the high price of ocean destruction or endless supply of endangered fish that fill their freezers. If you know your way around the internet, you could also stop by the Greenpeace action alert center and make your voice heard.
Dear President Obama,Barbara is one of over 30,000 activists who have sent a message to the president. You can take action too and tell President Obama to say NO to commercial whaling.
I listed my citizenship on this message as Canadian. However, I hold dual USA/Canadian citizenship. My family was born in Rhode Island, and my mother still avidly follows US politics. My brother and I still vote in US presidential elections, and we were thrilled at your candidacy. We were glued to the TV for months watching the build up to the election, even though we live in Canada.
My parents were among the main founders of Greenpeace. Our house was the organization's (only) office during the first five years of its existence. My mother, at 89, still serves at times as a kind of social ambassador for Greenpeace, and my brother and I serve with her. My late father, a fervent activist who also worked pro bono for the NAACP, among other causes, unfortunately did not live to see this new millenium, but I know he would have held the highest hopes for your administration. I hope you will see fit to do all in your power to save the whales.
I tell you quite frankly that in the early seventies, when Greenpeace was in its infancy, I did not "get" why some members were agitating to save the whales. I thought we should stick to our first goal: stopping nuclear testing worldwide. (I applaud your efforts to denuclearize). It took, for me, standing on the deck of a Greenpeace ship, staring into the eye of a humpback whale, which was equally staring at me, to change my opinion. It doesn't take personal contact for everyone. Austria, a landlocked country, has fought tirelessly within the IWC to increase the protection of whales.
For years, Greenpeace and the United States government have played instrumental roles in securing a moratorium on commercial whaling through the IWC. Despite refusal to honor the moratorium by Japan, Iceland, and Norway, the moratorium has proven to be the most important whale conservation agreement in history. Several whale populations have slowly begun to recover, and some are no longer in the imminent danger of extinction they were just a few decades ago.
Mr. President, I am deeply concerned about reports that the USA is championing a deal that would undermine the moratorium and secure the future of commercial whaling. From the campaign platform you shared with Greenpeace, I know you share my view that commercial whaling has no place in the 21st century. I was grateful for your pledge to help bring this outrageous and unnecessary practice to an end.
I urgently call on you to ensure that the US opposes any deal that would legitimize commercial whaling by granting quotas to Japan and its whaling allies. Instead, I urge you to support Australia's proposal, which would end whaling in the Southern Ocean once and for all. There is very widespread and bi-partisan American support for whale conservation, and millions of Americans are counting on you. I am counting on you. Most of all, the whales are counting on you.
Senate Committee Hearing on Chemical Security: Obama Administration Reiterates Support for Comprehensive Chemical Security Legislation
In an age and state where the word “patriotism” has been misinterpreted, manipulated, maligned, and mangled beyond recognition, it is often difficult to discern not only what it means to be patriotic, but what it means to be an American. In my experience, it is only on a rare day that it becomes unnecessary to differentiate between vying definitions – nationalistic pride, support of entrenched policies, endorsement of governmental shift, facebook-friendship of standing politicians, etc. – before I can state without equivocation that I am proud to be an American.
Today is one of those days.
Early this morning, Tom Strickland, the assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the US Department of the Interior, finally stood up against those who would doom the beleaguered Northern bluefin tuna to death by sushi knife. Citing the management failures of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and underscoring the unquestionable peril in which this noble fish finds itself, Strickland announced that the Obama administration will indeed be supporting Monaco’s proposal to list the Northern bluefin tuna under CITES Appendix 1.
This is a game-changer. The world’s largest economy has finally weighed in on one of the most pressing issues facing the ocean conservation movement – the simple fact that commercially exploited fish have thus far been utterly ignored by the institutionalized international processes designed to offer respite to endangered species. The Northern bluefin tuna, decimated by the rapacity of the global sushi industry and of bluefin traders like the Mitsubishi corporation, has hitherto been largely ignored by the world’s protectionary bodies in favor of ICCAT, a malfunctioning, incoherent (mis)management system that has brought the bluefin to the brink of the abyss… but perhaps this is finally at an end.
The United States government’s role in this ecological chess match is unique. Even though US economy does not have a significant share of the world’s bluefin production, it does constitute a sizable share of overall consumption. Certainly it is not on a scale to match Japan (the world’s foremost consumer of bluefin, devouring approximately 80% of all bluefin tuna yanked from our ailing oceans) but the US sushi industry has exploded in recent years, bringing with it a skyrocketing demand for bluefin tuna. Many of the world’s most well-known sushi icons are based in the United States, and there is no shortage of American consumers willing to shell out fat stacks of greenbacks for the ephemeral bliss of a two-bite communion with Our Lady of O-toro. As such, the US is more than just a global economic engine in this scenario. The conviction of the Obama administration to stand behind Monaco’s proposal is a food policy statement – an admission that as we as a global community grow, we need to begin to make difficult choices, and that desire and wealth can no longer stand alone as the market mechanisms that drive our luxury food supply. We must begin to temper them with an awareness of the impacts our choices have on our environment.
So while the champagne moment is yet to come, I would suggest making some room in the fridge to chill a bottle or two. The support of the Obama administration was an absolute necessity if the bluefin is to survive the CITES gauntlet, and with it secured, there may just be some hope for the world’s most expensive fish – and, symbolically, for the oceans themselves – after all.
March 2010 is quickly becoming a month where the future of whales worldwide could be decided. Will the International Whaling Commission working group put forth a proposal that will undercut the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, the most important international agreement on whales conservation? Will the Japanese government try to silence whale defenders trying to share with the public the true nature of “scientific whaling” in Japan?
I am in Tokyo now, lending a hand to Greenpeace Japan and the Tokyo Two team. Trial dates for this important phase are March 8th-March 12th where Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, who were arrested while uncovering a whale meat embezzlement scandal, will be heard in an Aomori courtroom. The last piece of key evidence in Junich and Toru’s embezzlement investigation was found in Aomori, a pro whaling community on the coast of Japan. I will be there next week and will give updates from the court proceedings and activities on twitter and through this blog on both the Greenpeace US an Greenpeace Japan site. To get up to speed, read the new dossier of evidence as well as an update regarding the human rights violations of Japan in this case.
In addition, Prof. Dirk Voorhoof, European Court of Human Rights expert, will speak in Tokyo and Aomori as well as give testimony in court. He argues that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Japan is a party to, Junichi and Toru were justified in their investigation tactics, and Japan’s reactions to their investigation are in violation of the ICCPR, an international agreement where Japan has pledged to uphold civil and political rights. As of last month, an official UN human rights working group drew a similar conclusion regarding the case of the T2. Now this opinion is being substantiated in academic circles, editorial boards, and the United Nations!
Read a blog on Huffington post, from Kumi Naidoo.
The United States should be supporting whale conservation on two fronts. First, through IWC delegates who should be calling for no whale killing under any political guise, not a watering down of the successful 1986 moratorium. Second, by urging Japan to uphold civil and political rights, give whale defenders Junichi and Toru a fair trial (disclosing all evidence), and cease efforts to repress the truth about whaling in Japan.
In the Greenpeace Japan office, we are preparing for the trial, including Junichi who is being strong and keeping a postive attitude inspite of the large challenges before him: an absurdly high conviction rate in Japan, a Japanese whaler whistleblower who has been scared away from court, and an international community not doing enough to save the whales, an issue he has risked so much for. Click on images below to take action!
"Today, I made two points clear to the judges and public audience. One this case is about exposing the corruption in the whaling industry. And second, this case is very important to Japanese civil society because citizens have the right to expose corruption in the government. Here, we are on trial, but in fact whaling itself is on trial."
Junichi Sato, February 15th to the Guardian UK
I'm here in St. Pete Beach, Florida, where the International Whaling Commission will meet tomorrow to discuss a deal that would legitimize commercial whaling for the first time in over 20 years. And by legitimizing all whaling, the proposal would secure the future of whaling instead of seeking to phase it out. Unbelievably, the US delegation appears to be supporting the deal to overturn the ban on whaling, even though President Obama has said he supports the ban. As a candidate, Obama wrote on a Greenpeace questionnaire;
If President Obama is serious about his commitment to protecting whales, he must make sure his delegation opposes any deal that would legitimize commercial whaling. Instead, President Obama and the US delegation should support a proposal by Australia, which would end whaling in the Southern Ocean once and for all.
Our team is here in Florida to make sure the delegates at the International Whaling Commission meeting know we will not allow a return to the outdated and unnecessary practice of commercial whaling. Please join us and send a message to President Obama so he knows that Americans everywhere care about these majestic animals and want to see him honor his commitment to strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling.
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