The year that was 2 0 1 5

5 January 2016

The triumphs of 2015! Thanks to all of you, this year has been a great one. Here is a bit of a recap on the year that was 2015 as we welcome in the new year.

1. The Great Barrier Reef: the world chose coral over coal

Thanks to hundreds of thousands of Greenpeace supporters around the world who spoke out about the devastating impact coal expansion would have on the Reef, two of Australia’s biggest banks and twelve major global banks have pulled out of financing the destructive Carmichael mine. Sadly, right before Christmas, Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved the devastating plan to dredge at Abbot Point. Together we’ve fought this off before, and this year we will again.


2. We mobilised tens of thousands across Australia for the world’s biggest climate march

Across the globe, 785,000 people in 175 countries hit the streets at more than 2,300 People’s Climate March events. In Australia, we came together in record breaking numbers in more than 50 towns and cities right across the country to show the world just how much we care. 60,000 marched in Melbourne alone, making it the biggest in the world.


3. A major breakthrough for Indonesia’s ancient forests

After forty thousand of us took action, Indonesia’s second largest paper company – APRIL, who supply paper to companies like Office Choice – had no choice but to stop trashing forests and peatlands, and in 2015 they agreed to turn off the bulldozers. This is a major step towards protecting Indonesia’s ancient forests – and we’ll be watching closely to make sure APRIL keeps its promise.


4. The Rainbow Warrior delivered aid to Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam.

After Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, 75,000 people were left in dire need of emergency shelter and other goods to restore their lives and homes. The crew aboard our ship, the Rainbow Warrior, delivered medical supplies emergency food and water to the remote islands of Vanuatu on behalf of agencies such as MSF, Red Cross, Action Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children. Scientists anticipate more extreme and frequent weather events as fossil fuels continue to burn.


5. We exposed the dark side of the tuna fishing industry

Our ship, the Rainbow Warrior busted a huge shark finning operation in the Pacific, finding over 100kgs of illegal shark fins on board the tuna fishing vessel Shuen De Ching no.888. As a result, the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority (NFMRA) banned transshipments, which would allow vessels to unload their catch to “motherships” at sea. Our ships play a key role in bearing witness and taking action against environmental threats.


6. We won ‘cash for containers’ in NSW

After a decade of campaigning by many environment groups, the NSW Government finally committed to a ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme which will reward recycling and help reduce the flood of plastic waste! This was fantastic news for our marine life and the health of our beaches, oceans and rivers. This scheme will also provide funds for local community groups who collect beverage containers dumped in our backyard.


7. We exposed dangerous nuclear waste as it returned to Australia.

Our activists highlighted the dangers of nuclear waste, including plutonium, as it returned to Australia for storage. The nuclear waste has been classified as high-level waste by French authorities, contradicting Australia’s claims over its radioactivity, and was carried by the BBC Shanghai, a vessel with a very poor safety record. 72% of the public don’t want to see Australia become the world’s nuclear waste dump.


8. We highlighted dirty coal companies receiving tax-payers’ money at the mining awards.

We want the government pull the plug on the billions of our tax dollars spent on propping up the fossil fuel industry. So we made it clear at coal’s annual party. These subsidies could pay for 32,0000 primary school teachers, 60 new primary schools, or 12,000 family doctors. This year, we’ll continue to shift the balance away from greedy coal companies.


9. After confrontations around the world, Shell left the Arctic.  

Greenpeace is proud to be part of a movement that has spanned the entire globe, with Indigenous allies and over seven million people joining together to help save this precious region of our planet.


10. We assisted MSF in protecting the lives in the Aegean sea.  

The Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Greenpeace crews are making sure that people who are risking their lives on the dangerous sea crossing between Turkey and Greece, arrive safely at shore. Fleeing conflict, poverty and human rights abuses in the hope of a better life is not a crime. Almost 500,000 people crossed the Aegean Sea to Lesbos, many of them Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans. We’ll continue to do all we can to help.


11. Thousands of Australians stood up against an attack on green groups

More than 16,000 people sent in personal contributions and hundreds more attended an event outside the federal government inquiry that threatens to increase taxes for people who donate to environmental charities like Greenpeace. This is part of a wider attack on our democracy, including defunding volunteer organisations, anti-protest laws, and attacks on critical, independent voices like the Human Rights Commission. Fossil fuel companies receive billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies each year – yet there is no inquiry into how they are spending their money…


12. We took the power of our movement to the Paris climate talks.

After 20 years of climate activism, nearly 200 countries came together to sign a global agreement to fight the worst effects of climate danger. The deal signals the end of fossil fuels. But words on paper is not enough. Greenpeace has been working in every corner of the world to push for an ambitious agreement. We have the solutions for a just and healthy planet and this year we have to work even harder to make them a reality.


Greenpeace is fiercely independent and 100% people powered. Together, we will have another incredible year.