Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

Arctic30′s Colin Russell on the right to protest – one year on

Posted on September 26, 2014 at 14:00 by Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Twelve months ago I was arrested along with 29 of my ship mates on board the Arctic Sunrise. The reason for my arrest was simple, I couldn’t remain silent as the Russian oil giant, Gazprom, carried out its ambition to drill in this glorious wilderness of the Arctic.

But a year is a long time. After nearly three months detention in a very grim Russian jail, I was freed along with my mates and was finally able to go home best mate and wife, Chrissy, and daughter Maddy. It was a great day.


I am back on board the Arctic Sunrise, trying to repair the damage inflicted on her by the Russian soldiers that tried to take her apart. I have time for thought, reflection and reading. Right now I’m reading the story surrounding the Tasmanian Government’s changes to laws protecting our forests and the places we love and I can’t believe it is true. Not only is the government going to repeal the Forest Agreement, they are also trying to change the laws to make sure they have the power to jail all the Australians who will once again go to the forest to protect her from their plunder. When I was in Russia I was really grateful for the freedoms that citizens have in Australia to peacefully protest and I’m so worried to see those freedoms being eroded.

I can’t help but wonder if this is all part of same corrupting influence big business has on our democratic processes? We have seen what this looks like as NSW reveals the extent of corruption
through the ICAC Inquiry. I’m worried by the general trend in Australia of Governments changing laws to let big business trash our environment while making it harder and harder to peacefully protest to protect nature. At the moment it seems as though it gives big business a free run to vandalise our country by digging up coal, dumping on the Reef, selling uranium to India and open our national parks to shooters, logging and mining?

And then lock up all those who disagree for a mandatory three months?

When will these people learn, we don’t have second planet to go to if they trash this one. Whether it’s the Arctic, the Tarkine, the Reef or the nature strip out the front of your place, we must stand
together to protect the places we love for the people we love. That’s why I’m back on board the Arctic Sunrise.

Colin Russell
Arctic 30 member

What happens when a coal company builds a mine inside Australia’s most prestigious university?

Posted on September 24, 2014 at 12:21 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

Greenpeace recently revealed that one of Australia’s most prestigious universities, the University of Sydney, has a million dollar stake in the company responsible for the largest coal mine currently under construction in Australia. But what happens when the university shows their commitment to fossil fuels by letting Whitehaven Coal build a coal mine inside the university campus?

Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek coal mine is not only contentious for its contribution of around 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year when operational. Building Maules Creek coal mine is flattening endangered forest, trashing indigenous heritage sites, destroying prime farmland, and ignoring the demands of local community members.

But despite receiving emails from over 28,000 concerned Greenpeace supporters – including University of Sydney students, staff and alumni, and acknowledging that Whitehaven Coal is a dodgy investment by conducting a review into investment policy – Sydney University management have still not pulled their money out of this disastrous project.


So last week, we decided to bring Whitehaven’s operations right in front of the Vice Chancellor – by ‘building’ a coal mine inside the university campus.

Whitehaven Coal’s operations might seem far away to the University of Sydney management – but for the community at Maules Creek, the destruction of endangered forest, Indigenous heritage sites and prime farmland couldn’t be closer to home.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Vice Chancellor, Michael Spence, it’s well and truly time to pull Sydney Uni money out of Whitehaven Coal.

Your pictures from the People’s Climate March

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 12:05 by Jess Macleod

So many inspiring pictures are flooding in from the People’s Climate March events around the world. Spread the word to turn up the heat on politicians attending the UN climate summit this week.

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Were you there yesterday? Share your photos with us in the comments

Arctic 30 one year anniversary: Their freedom is our freedom

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 10:43 by Alex Harris

The right to peaceful protest is a core tenet of a healthy society — the inherent human right to stand up and be counted, to challenge unjust laws, and sometimes, when the system has failed, to put our bodies in the way of destruction and give voice to the voiceless.

It’s been one year now since our peaceful action was intercepted by armed Russian FSB agents; nearly one year since we were unlawfully charged with piracy and sent to jail for more than two months. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of the time we spent in jail in Murmansk and St. Petersburg, or about the fact that we did not see justice — we are free, yes, but we were granted amnesty for a crime we did not commit. But at least we are home with our families, which is more than we can say for the thousands of other activists around the world who continue to be persecuted or imprisoned for standing up for what they believe in. (more…)

When ‘popular policy’ isn’t so popular: 4 surprising things Australians think about climate change

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 09:31 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

Try as they might, climate change deniers have been unable to convince Australians that extreme weather events aren’t increasing, and that fossil fuel companies are innocent bystanders to global warming. Check out the results of new Australian polling below.

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Image via @geeksrulz on Twitter

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Coal Dead Hand

Posted on September 21, 2014 at 14:45 by Jess Macleod

Are you buckled in? We’re on a crash course to last century!

Oops, it’s just 2014 in Australia.

Despite having made great strides toward a green and sustainable future, Australia is now heading backwards, with the coal industry influential in repealing action on global warming and renewable energy.

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Coal is now a major problem for our democracy; from its economic, political and health impacts to its implications on regional and community authority and social justice.

Join us for a debate addressing the role of the Australian coal industry as we underscore their extensive influence and propose alternatives for the future.

Greenpeace and the Australia Institute invite the public, students, policy makers, and critical thinkers to contribute to an evening of panel-led discussion about the relationship between coal mining and representative government in Australia. After short introductions from each of our panellists, we will open the evening for questions and comments from audience members.

The event is hosted by Jonathan Holmes alongside speakers David Ritter, Paddy Manning, Bill McKibben (via video), Dr Richard Denniss, Dr David McKnight, Associate Professor Ruth Colagiuri & John Krey.

Don’t miss out, RSVP here

Tiny beads, big problem: Is there plastic in your facewash?

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 09:49 by Rashini Suriyaarachchi

When you think about the environmental impact of washing your face, you’re probably just worried about wasting water. Unfortunately, when you’re scrubbing away every morning you could also be washing the health of our oceans down your drain. From the threat plastic shopping bags post to marine life, to the infamous Pacific ‘trash island’ – Continue reading →