Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

A huge day for my home land

Posted on April 24, 2015 at 15:33 by Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Tomorrow is a huge day for my country, the Cook Islands, where people are coming together to stop a type of fishing that catches way too many tuna.

Purse seine fishing uses massive nets which catch everything in their path. They’re bad for our marine life and bad for the island communities who depend on fish for food and money. The call to ban this type of net from the Cook Islands is building, and tomorrow my people show their feelings at a rally in Rarotonga. Chants are being practiced, t-shirts have been printed (Tiki Tane was wearing one last weekend) and the word is spreading. We need to make the right choice for our ocean and for our future.

Action against the Biggest Tuna Fishing Vessel

The waters of the Cook Islands have traditionally provided plenty of kai moana for our people, from reef species to pelagic fish like tuna. But those resources are becoming more and more scarce as big fishing companies target the region. Bigeye tuna, one of the Pacific’s most valuable tuna species, is already overfished, and other stocks such as albacore are in worrying decline.

I’ve sailed with Greenpeace for over a decade, and in those years have crossed the Pacific many times, observing and taking action to protect our vital fisheries. I’ve been proud to be involved in defending our moana from industrial overfishing and pirate vessels.  In 2009 we were able to catch a Japanese longliner red-handed stealing fish from the Cook Islands, where it had no permission to fish.


6 simple ways to go green at work

Posted on April 24, 2015 at 10:07 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

Are you the Captain Planet of your office? These 6 easy tips could help you go green at work to dramatically reduce the impact you and your co-workers have on the environment, climate and our Earth.

Sarah Neal has been volunteering at the Sydney office for years: archiving, campaigning and mercilessly correcting our grammatical errors. She’s also keen on  maintaining a sustainable, low-resource lifestyle. Here are her tips for keeping your office green and Earth-friendly.

1. Try to cut down on energy use

It’s best to avoid purchasing anything battery operated. If it’s essential, try keeping some rechargeable batteries in the office. Here are some of her other tips for saving energy in the office:

  • Only use hot water when necessary
  • If you can, use stairs instead of the lift
  • Always turn off your computer at the end of the day

2. Recycle all you can

The only way to recycle as much of your rubbish as possible is to know how to recycle. Find out who your recycling company is and talk to them about their specifications for recycling. Maybe they need you to separate waxed coffee cups from their lids or don’t accept juice cartons with foil insides. Ensuring you know what bin to put your rubbish in  makes sure that nothing ends up at the dump when it could be made into something else.

If possible, keep a box for recycling unusual office items like batteries and printer cartridges. Here’s a great list of how to recycle other items that might be used in your office.

Plastic recycling

3. Veer away from single use containers and plastics

When you’re heading out to buy lunch or a coffee, try to take a container with you  instead of coming back with another one.

Going to the supermarket? Take a shopping bag with you. It’s a good idea to keep some reusable bags in the office kitchen for when you’ve forgotten yours.

For take-out, try bringing along your own container. You might even get a little extra! Similarly, you could collect donated containers in your kitchen. Avoid getting plastic knives, spoons and forks – instead bring food back to the office and use office cutlery, or keep some at your desk.

If you need a caffeine hit, don’t forget your travelling mug. A free reusable coffee cup could be a great holiday present or welcome to the office gift for newbies.

4. Be careful with paper use

In 2015, we should be printing in the office sparingly. Try to use recycled paper, print on both sides, and avoid printing on glossy paper or in colour. Check Print Preview before printing to avoid making mistakes.

In the office, we reuse paper printed on one-side to make notebooks for staff.

5. Don’t waste food

Don’t leave your leftover food indefinitely in the office fridge. Not only will it go off and leave less room for your co-workers, when it’s thrown out it’ll contribute to the enormous global problem of food waste. If you can’t finish your lunch, share it with a friend or make sure it hits the compost bin instead of the trash.

Australians waste $8 billion worth of food every year

Bonus tip: if your workplace is a cafe or restaurant in Australia, you can donate your leftover food to OzHarvest. They redistribute leftover food to 500 charitable organisations around the country, including homeless shelters and women’s refuges.

6. Look after your plants

Think your office could do with some fresh air? Try working on a space station. When NASA wanted to help its astronauts breathe more easily, they used plants that improve air quality. Office plants can be great for cleaning pollutants from the air, but don’t give your plants too much love by overwatering them. Have a look at this blog to find out which plants can help purify the air in your office.

Air purifying plant


We have 7 days to Save the Reef

Posted on April 23, 2015 at 12:40 by Jacki Boyce

Can you imagine a world without our Great Barrier Reef? Right now, We have a big decision to make. The Australian government will soon choose a future with coal, or a future with the Great Barrier Reef. What we do in the next 7 days can change the course of the world’s greatest reef.

Save the reef petition

The Abbott government is reviewing yet another proposal to dredge millions of tonnes of seafloor in the Reef’s waters to make way for one of the world’s largest coal ports. The Queensland Government is proposing this disastrous project, and all they need now is the tick of approval from the Federal Government.

If it goes ahead, this project would open the floodgates to coal expansion along the Queensland coast and put a nail in the coffin of our Great Barrier Reef. Right now, the Abbott government wants to hear from you.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt can throw this proposal out but we have only until the 1st of May to convince him.

Let’s come together and put a stop to this short-sighted greed. Send a submission here before May 1 and tell Environment Minister Greg Hunt to dump this proposal once and for all.

The world’s most beautiful light shows are natural: 20 breathtaking photos of the Northern Lights

Posted on April 22, 2015 at 10:18 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

Alongside its Southern neighbour Aurora Australis, the Northern Lights (also known as Aurora Borealis) is truly Mother Nature at her finest. These spectacular natural artworks put the colours of the world on display. Here are our favourite photos of the Northern Lights taken by Greenpeace photographers in the Northern hemisphere.

How are the Northern Lights formed?

Charged particles emanating from the sun stream towards earth and then collide with the highest air particles. The color we see is a direct result of which gases are in the atmosphere. Oxygen produces the most common yellow-green color and the violet we often see at the lower edge of the aurora is due to nitrogen.

White Mountains in Quebec

White Mountains in Quebec


Remembering the devastation: photos from the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill

Posted on April 21, 2015 at 12:14 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

5 years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, spewing 210 million gallons of crude oil. These Greenpeace photos from 2010 reveal the devastating mark the BP oil spill disaster left on our planet.

Gulf residents and wildlife continue to reel from the impacts of BP’s negligence. Coastal residents are struggling to maintain their livelihoods and culture, while they wrestle with health problems from exposure to oil and toxic chemicals.

Oil from Oil Rig Disaster

Boats try unsuccessfully to clean oil from the ocean, near the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Boats try unsuccessfully to clean oil from the ocean, near the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.


New tuna market creates unique opportunity for the Pacific

Posted on April 21, 2015 at 11:37 by Lagi Toribau

island biz resize

Opinion Editorial by Lagi Toribau in Islands Business 

SYDNEY, 30 MARCH 2015 —- There could soon be a whole lot more demand for sustainably caught tuna from the Pacific. For the first time ever, Greenpeace has just released a canned tuna guide in the United States – the largest tuna consuming nation in the world.
The question is, can Pacific Island Countries move to meet this emerging demand?

The new Greenpeace canned tuna guide, launched with considerable fanfare, ranks US brands from best to worst, offering American shoppers a way to choose fair and sustainable tuna from the Pacific region. So why is a shopping guide like this needed?

Americans eat the most canned tuna of any country in the world, yet 80% of tuna sold in the US comes from unsustainable and destructive sources.
Every year millions of tonnes of yellowfin, bigeye, albacore and skipjack are hauled out of the ocean by multinational companies chasing profits for their already wealthy shareholders.

Often propped up by government subsidies, too many of these companies ignore borders and regulations, raid the territorial waters of vulnerable Pacific states, and treat their workers as slaves.


What is there more of in our oceans: plastic or fish?

Posted on April 18, 2015 at 14:45 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

When you consider that every plastic water bottle, spoon, or yogurt tub you’ve ever used will probably outlive you, plastic begins to seem like a bad idea. And when you hear how much plastic we’ve forced upon our oceans – you’ll realise our plastic addiction is catastrophic. Plastic pollution is a global problem. Western nations Continue reading →