Although it’s Cherry Blossom festival time in Washington D.C., Greenpeace’s United States headquarters, we’re still bundled in our winter gear. Turns out that the same warmer temperatures causing Arctic ice loss at record-breaking speeds are responsible for the extreme winter weather and cold temperatures experienced in much of Europe and North America. The ice loss in the Arctic broke a previous 2007 record shrinking 18 percent, according to data published by National Snow & Ice Data Center last fall. Continue reading →
On February 5 in Portland, Oregon the fishery honchos holding the fate of the Bering Sea canyons in their hands will get their first look at the scientific evidence Greenpeace has gathered from its submarine expeditions into the amazing Grand Canyons of the Sea.
These remarkable, life-rich canyons are under serious threat from industrial fishing fleets whose massive trawling operations rip this delicate ecosystem apart from the seafloor up. Greenpeace has been working night and day to protect these canyons, and now, after years of work, two submarine research expeditions, multiple scientific publications, and support from an unprecedented alliance of indigenous stakeholders, environmental groups, scientists, and even seafood businesses, it’s all coming to a head in June. Continue reading →
In another example of why drilling for oil in the Arctic is such a monumentally bad idea, Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, has run aground off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak in Alaska.
The ancient rig was being towed back to harbor after a spectacularly unsuccessful summer drilling season when it ran into serious trouble and hit the shore.
Last Thursday the Kulluk was being towed from the Arctic by Shell’s brand new $200 million tug the Aiviq when it hit heavy weather that caused the 400 foot towing line to break and the rig to drift free. Continue reading →
I have been staring out at the Chukchi Sea for days, looking for a blow, a flip, a jump, anything that moves. I am hoping to find whales and seals while Greenpeace marine biologist John Hocevar and his co-pilots survey the seafloor with a small two-person research submarine in the Shell’s proposed drill sites. Continue reading →
Greetings from the Chukchi Sea, way up in the Arctic north of Alaska, where the team aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is using a small submarine to study the seafloor in the area Shell hopes to begin drilling for oil this summer. During what we believe to be the first research submarine dives ever in the Chukchi Sea, we were surprised to discover large numbers of corals in the midst of Shell’s proposed drill site.
I have been at the mercy of a scientist these past couple days. Kelly Newman, pictured, is an acoustician, a scientist specializing in the study of sound, from the University of Alaska, and with hydrophones we’ve been out in an inflatable boat doing audio recordings for her Ph.D. research. Today we were recording along the ice edge here in the Chukchi Sea deep in the Arctic. We’re floating just a few miles from where Shell is planning to drill for oil this summer. 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.