Today, Greenpeace launched a new video featuring the voice of William Shatner calling for the North Pacific Marine Fisheries Council to protect the Bering Sea canyons from industrial fishing.
Save Kipper features a happy menagerie of domesticated animals–a fish named Kipper, a dog named Sparky, a bird named Boozer, and a cat named Fluffy–all of which have their homes shockingly destroyed by methods ranging from fire to a power saw.
Today’s whales are in need of protection from more than the few remaining countries that continue the barbaric and unnecessary practice of industrial whaling. Today there is a 21st century sized danger – ship strikes – that threatens the survival of endangered whale species like the iconic blue whale, our planet’s largest mammal. With populations that are just now beginning to rebound from the slaughter in earlier centuries, blue whales need our protection now to ensure their survival. Continue reading →
I leap from our small boat into the surf to step onto the beach at Pt. Hope, the longest continually inhabited place in North America, and the community on Alaska’s most north western point. The Mayor, Steve Oomittuk, waits at the top of the sandy bluff to welcome the first boatload of Greenpeace visitors coming ashore from the Esperanza, anchored a few miles off the point. We’ve come to visit with the community, to hear from the people who live on the edge of the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic, where Shell plans to begin drilling for oil in a few weeks time. We’ve been invited to have a meeting with the community. We want to tell them of the research we will be doing here, taking a small submarine down into the Chukchi to see what life is at risk on the seafloor close to the sites where Shell plans to drill. We want to hear what they have to say about drilling in their waters. Continue reading →
Sunrise near the Bering Strait this early morning. Photo by Sune Scheller / Greenpeace
We have now crossed the Polar Circle with the Esperanza and we are in the Arctic, and the Chukchi Sea. Here in this extremely fragile environment, Shell is planning to drill for oil. Home to bowhead whales, polar bears, walrus, numerous species of birds and other animals – this is no place for oil drilling!
Even though today is a fairly calm and peaceful day at sea this is an incredibly harsh environment. Intense gales, unpredictable ice and its extreme remoteness means an oil spill here would be catastrophic. A clean up here would be an exercise in the impossible; it would make the clean up after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico look like a walk in the park.
Submarine being deployed from the deck of the Esperanza
Are you claustrophobic? I got that question a number of times when I told people I was being trained to pilot a tiny two-person submarine in preparation for Greenpeace’s research exploration into the biggest underwater canyons on earth, out in the middle of the Bering Sea. I guess no is the answer. I just dove 840 feet down into Zhemchug Canyon in a little red submarine and if the smile I couldn’t wipe off my face is any indication it was not a difficult experience at all.
Steller sea lion in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Photo: Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac
We stopped in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska this week, A remote area with spectacular views and wildlife, that will be the staging area for Shell’s Arctic drilling program later this month. Continue reading →
Humpback whale feeding amongst a colony of seabirds, seen from onboard the Esperanza in the Unimak Pass, Alaska. Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac
The crew of the Esperanza scrambled to grab cameras and binoculars this morning to get a glimpse of so many humpback whales, maybe 40 of them blowing and diving by us, as we made our way through Unimak Pass crossing from the Gulf of Alaska into the Bering Sea.
Serendipitously, as we snapped pictures of these majestic giants swimming through water peppered with hundreds of seabird’s scouting for leftovers, an took in the rich and peaceful sounds of their massive exhaling blows, other Greenpeace activists in Panama at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) were trying to end to whaling, for good.
Between climate change, the industrialization of our seas and continued whaling, whales need saving today more than ever. Continue reading →
Yesterday afternoon US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the Obama administration’s plans to lead the world further down the path of Arctic destruction by continuing to feed our addiction to oil. Despite the enormous opposition, the administration will hold further sales for leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and in what we can only hope won’t become his Titanic moment, Salazar boasted that “there’s not going to be an oil spill.” Arctic drilling, he went on, is simply another step in our “all of the above” energy strategy. Continue reading →
I stepped on to the Esperanza, Greenpeace’s ice class A ship, this past weekend for the first time. It will be my home for the next two months, a home that will travel with me as I do this work I feel is so necessary, important enough to leave my beloved family for such a long time. I am heading up to the Arctic to draw a line in the ice, and to say No to Shell as they prepare to drill for greater profits in the Arctic. I know drilling in the Arctic won’t affect the prices that you and I pay at the pump because they are set at a global level. This is about one of the richest companies in the world getting a few billion dollars richer. Continue reading →
I’m getting ready to sail north to bear witness to something environmentally-minded Americans have been fighting for years to avoid: drilling for oil in the Arctic. But while we have been appealing to keep the drills from piercing the fragile Arctic ecosystem, adding to climate change the awful threat of an oil spill, some of the richest companies in the universe, like Shell, have been lining up their golden ducks to do that very thing: drill in icy waters to extract more fossil fuels only to have them burned and returned to our ever-warming atmosphere. Why? We all know the answer – for the money! Certainly, not because it is better for the polar bears who are dying as their home melts beneath them. And not because it’s better for Alaska Native communities in places like Shishmaref where homes are falling into the sea as global temperatures have begun to thaw the permafrost that long-anchored their villages in place. Drilling for oil in this fragile and rapidly changing place – which even without a spill brings pollution, destruction and distress to the region’s marine mammals and habitat – is like pouring gasoline on a forest fire.