In the havoc and destruction spread by war, damage to the environment is almost always regarded as a necessary price to be paid. But cleaning up the environmental consequences of war is a tough, often impossible, task. Damage to the environment in times of armed conflict can impair ecosystems and natural resources long after the period of conflict, often extending beyond the limits of national territories and the present generation.
Often during conflict, the environment itself has been used as a weapon of war, of mass destruction. Soils have been poisoned, water wells polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, all to achieve political and military goals: subdue resistance, destroy people’s livelihood and drive them away from their homes. Continue reading →
A slick of fuel and oil is visible on the surface of the Hudson River between New Jersey and Staten Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“As we head from New Jersey toward Staten Island the shimmer of the oil on the water caught our attention. As we circled and moved lower in the helicopter we pick up the smell of the spilled oil. It was strikingly visible from the air.”
Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman shows oil churned up by Hurricane Isaac that has polluted the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by the BP oil disaster, September 6, 2012
Oil from the 2010 BP disaster is polluting marshes and beaches in Louisiana, churned up by Hurricane Isaac more than two years after that spill devastated this area and other parts of the Gulf Coast. After documenting oil this week on a National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama and islands off the coast of Mississippi, Greenpeace and the Gulf Restoration Network investigated the marshes of southern Louisiana, and took samples of oil among the grass, water and soil. According to the New York Times, oil sampled from these Louisiana marshes this week by state wildlife officials has been fingerprinted as oil from the BP disaster.
Oil churned up by Hurricane Isaac pollutes the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by the BP oil disaster, September 6, 2012
A dead crab lies in oil churned up by Hurricane Isaac in the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, September 6, 2012
Some of the oil we found in the Louisiana marshes is weathered tar balls, but much of it is viscous oil that is more toxic and difficult or impossible to remove. Despite BP’s advertising campaigns, there is a huge quantity of oil left in the marine environment from the disaster, as Garrett Graves, who oversees the ongoing BP cleanup for the state of Louisiana told CBS News, “BP has up to 1 million barrels of unaccounted oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and I think it will continue to manifest like this hurricane after hurricane for 10 to 20 years unless BP goes out and does a proactive cleanup effort.”
Oiled boom sits in the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana after Hurricane Isaac churned up oil left in the Gulf of Mexico from the 2010 BP disaster, September 6, 2012
Oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, churned up by Hurricane Isaac. After discovering hundreds of tar balls at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, a Greenpeace research team joined our allies at the Gulf Restoration Network to investigate the impacts on East and West Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi. We found tar balls on East Ship Island and several heavily oiled areas on West Ship Island, which are both part of the Gulf National Seashore.
Oil and reeds washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Louisiana is “closing a 12-mile section of Gulf coastline from Caminada Pass to Pass Fourchon after Hurricane Isaac washed up large areas of oil and tar balls at the location of one of the worst inundations of BP oil during the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010… agency crews surveying damage from Isaac discovered large sections of viscous oil and tar balls floating along the coast.”
Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman takes samples of oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
Greenpeace documented oil on East Ship Island in October 2010, months after the BP oil disaster. Returning two years later to find so much oil pollution is a sad reminder that it’s impossible to clean up a major marine oil spill. Officials are concerned that up to one million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico, and are calling on EPA and NOAA to explain how they will address oil pollution remaining from the 2010 spill.
Oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac contaminates water on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
It’s clear that the impacts will be felt for years on the Gulf Coast, and the risk of such a disaster exists wherever our coasts are open to offshore oil drilling.
Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, confirming concerns that the storm could churn up oil in the Gulf of Mexico. A Greenpeace research team took samples from beaches along the Alabama coast on September 2, including from an area with hundreds of tar balls in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
Hundreds of tar balls on the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama on September 2, 2012
“This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we’re going to have to deal with,” Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told The Huffington Post. “The threat is not insignificant.” Continue reading →
This is a global challenge, as the oil industry’s record in the Russian Arctic makes clear; tons of oil are spilled on land each year, and every 18 months more than four million barrels spews into the Arctic Ocean – nearly as much as BP spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. As other oil companies seek to exploit the melting sea ice and begin drilling in Arctic waters, we know we need a global movement to draw a line in the ice and protect this fragile region. More than a million people have come together calling for a global sanctuary in the high Arctic, and a ban on offshore drilling and unsustainable fishing in Arctic waters, and more are joining every day.
Call Shell and tell them to stay out of the Arctic! If you’re in the US call 1-888-907-6639 or enter your number in the form below and well patch you through to Shell.
Oh to be a fly on the wall of a Shell boardroom this week!
Activists all round the world have been taking action to #TellShell to get out of the Arctic.
Despite Greenpeace Netherlands taking over Shell’s headquarters, Greenpeace UK activists shutting down 78 of the company’s petrol stations, Greenpeace France and Mexico occupying their offices, petrol station actions in Denmark, Finland, Hungary and the Czech Republic and Greenpeace Argentina sending 35 climbers to shut down its Buenos Aires refinery, Shell still hasn’t got the message.
To win this one we are going to need your help. That’s why we are handing this over to you now: we need you to #TellShell to get out of the Arctic.
On Friday July 20, from the moment the sun rises in New Zealand to when it sets in Alaska we need you to telephone Shell to make sure they get the message that they can come no further. Continue reading →
As Shell’s rigs head toward the Arctic to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil, the company took a small step this weekend toward clarifying what would happen in an oil spill during the company’s planned Arctic drilling operations this summer. Despite the oil industry’s spin, experts know it is impossible to recover more than a small fraction of a major marine oil spill, as retired Coast Guard Admiral Roger Rufe told NPR: “But once oil is in the water, it’s a mess. And we’ve never proven anywhere in the world — let alone in the ice — that we’re very good at picking up more than 3 or 5 or 10 percent of the oil once it’s in the water.”
Oiled boom lies across sea ice in Norway after a cargo ship ran aground and leaked heavy oil. Photo by Jon Terje Hellgren Hansen / Greenpeace, Feb 24, 2011.