Rainbow Warrior returns to NZ for ‘oil free’ future and activist doco

Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman and the Rainbow Warrior skipper toss a wreath in memory of Fernando Pereira into the sea at the spot where the original bombed RW was scuttled in 1986 to create a living reef. Video: David Robie/Cafe Pacific

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior 3 was welcomed in Matauri Bay at the start of a month-long tour of New Zealand yesterday to celebrate a victory in the fight against fossil fuels and to launch filming on a documentary drawing on the links between the nuclear-free and climate change struggles.

The tour began following the laying of a wreath at sea to honour the memory of Dutch photographer Fernando Pereira who was killed by French secret service saboteurs who bombed the original Rainbow Warrior in Auckland on 10 July 1985.

Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman gave an emotive speech about Pereira’s legacy being the ultimate success of the antinuclear struggle with the end of French nuclear testing in the Pacific in 1996 and the ongoing climate change campaign.

READ MORE: Rainbow Warrior tour begins tour at site of bombed predecessor

Rainbow Warrior crew, Greenpeace stalwarts and local hapu members were treated to a seafood lunch at Matauri marae.

The Nuclear Dissent interactive documentary.

-Partners-

Also launched yesterday was a new interactive documentary, Nuclear Dissent, a cautionary tale about haunting nuclear destruction, told through the lens of some of the world’s bravest activists and experts – the successful leaders of disarmament efforts from French Polynesia and New Zealand to Canada, the United States, and Greenpeace, who influenced outcomes and fought for change.

In five short video chapters available on desktop, mobile and webVR, the true story of the battle to end French nuclear weapons testing between 1966 and 1996 is told through dynamic 360º panoramas on land, afloat in the fallout zone, amid riots, and underwater, Greenpeace says in a statement.

The story is capped off with a raw assessment of where the world is today – the greatest global nuclear threats, risks and effects unpacked.

Extreme health and environmental damage to French Polynesia was caused by test nuclear explosions in the South Pacific, spreading cancerous plutonium across continents and into the food chain.

Activist persistence
Due to the persistence of activists braving the fallout zone and widespread protests and a growing nuclear free movement, the French government eventually shut down its testing programme.

More than a decade later, those affected have yet to receive justice for the intergenerational trauma inflicted on their land, their health and their resources by the French government, the Greenpeace statement said.

With historical accounts from protesters Anna Horne and Greenpeace’s David McTaggart who sailed into the test zone, expert opinions from nuclear policy analyst and Harvard professor Matthew Bunn, Dr Ira Hefland and climatologist Alan Robcock, viewers are guided through an eye-opening journey.

Alongside each chapter’s video content, 360 x-ray environments and journals filled with evidence and artifacts bring otherwise invisible details and deadly damages to light.

An interactive fallout map enabled with address entry visualises what the scope of destruction, death and injury would look like in any city, from a selection of current nuclear weapons that exist in the arsenals of the world’s most dangerous superpowers.

‘Making oil history’
Anna Horne joined Rainbow Warrior 3 yesterday as the ship prepared to sail from Matauri Bay to Auckland where Greenpeace will launch its “Making Oil History” tour of New Zealand”.

Earlier, the Rainbow Warrior had been joined by David Robie, author of Eyes of Fire about the Rongelap voyage and the bombing of the original Rainbow Warrior, and currently director of the Pacific Media Centre.

In 2015, Professor Robie and a group of student journalists combined with Little Island Press and Greenpeace to create a microsite dedicated to Rainbow Warrior and environmental activist stories and videos, Eyes of Fire: 30 Years On, as a public good resource.

Both Horne and Dr Robie are among at least 10 activists, writers and changemakers being interviewed for the new Greenpeace documentary being directed by journalist Phil Vine.


The wreath laying ceremony in memory of Fernando Pereira on board the Rainbow Warrior yesterday. Image: David Robie/Cafe Pacific

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Rainbow Warrior takes on fresh eco mission to Papua, Indonesia

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Rainbow Warrior takes on fresh eco mission to Papua, Indonesia

By Astari Pinasthika Sarosa in Jakarta

The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior is sailing throughout Indonesia – including West Papua – as a vehicle for environmental campaigns.

Rainbow Warrior has often sailed to remote areas to directly see the environmental issues in the region and immediately act against its destruction.

Recently in the Philippines, this is the first visit to Indonesia since 2013. The Rainbow Warrior will be sailing in the archipelago from this week until next month.

The visit themed Jelajah Harmoni Nusantara will be the longest tour of the Rainbow Warrior.

Its first destination is Papua to witness the natural beauty of Papuan rainforest. The ship’s crew will also see the underwater life of Raja Ampat.

After leaving Papua, the Rainbow Warrior will head to Bali, sampling a rich culture which holds local wisdom, and its beliefs that the best source of energy comes from nature.

The last destination is Jakarta. As the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta has many issues including pollution and waste.

‘Eco-friendly’ city goal
The Rainbow Warrior aims to help Jakarta to be a more comfortable and eco-friendly city.

“The main point of this tour is to create harmony in protecting the Indonesian environment,” Greenpeace said in a press release.

The name Rainbow Warrior was based on the prophecy of a native American tribe Cree in saying, “When the earth becomes sick and dying, there will come a day when people from all over the world will rise up as the Rainbow Warrior.”

The Rainbow Warrior is the third-generation version of the campaign ship.

The first generation vessel was destroyed by limpet mines. On 10 July 1985, French secret agents planted two bombs and sank the Rainbow Warrior, killing photojournalist Fernando Pereira.

After the bombing, the original Rainbow Warrior ship was towed to Matauri Bay, in New Zealand’s Cavalli Islands, and was submerged as an “alive reef” attracted marine life and recreational divers.

The second Rainbow Warrior sailed for 22 years until 2011 when she was replaced with the third generation Rainbow Warrior.

Like its predecessor, this ship carries out green and peaceful campaigns for the future of the planet.

Tiny Timbulsloko fights back in face of Indonesia’s ‘ecological disaster’

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Tiny Timbulsloko fights back in face of Indonesia’s ‘ecological disaster’

Drone views of the village of Timbulsloko showing the scale of coastal erosion and sinking flatlands in an area that once used to to be rice fields on the edge of the Central Java city of Semarang. Mangroves are being rapidly re-established. Drone footage source: CoREM. Video: David Robie’s Café Pacific

By David Robie in Semarang, Indonesia

A vast coastal area of the Indonesian city of Semarang, billed nine months ago by a national newspaper as “on the brink of ecological disaster”, is fighting back with a valiant survival strategy.

Thanks to a Dutch mangrove restoration programme and flexible bamboo-and-timber “eco” seawalls, some 70,000 people at risk in the city of nearly two million have some slim hope for the future.

An area that was mostly rice fields and villages on the edge of the old city barely two decades ago has now become “aquatic” zones as flooding high tides encroach on homes.

Onetime farmers have been forced to become fishermen.

Villagers living in Bedono, Sriwulan, Surodadi and Timbulsloko in Demak regency and urban communities in low-lying parts of the city are most at risk.

-Partners-

Residents have been forced to raise their houses or build protective seawalls or be forced to abandon their homes when their floors become awash.

The lowland subsidence area in north Semarang leading to the volcanic Mt Urganan and Mt Muria/Medak.  Source: CoRem (UNDIP), 2017.

Environmental changes in Semarang have been blamed by scientists on anthropogenic and “natural” factors such as tidal and river flooding – known locally as rob, mangroves destruction since the 1990s, fast urban growth and extensive groundwater extraction.

Climate change
This has been compounded by climate change with frequent and extreme storms.

It has been a pattern familiar in many other low-lying coastal areas in Indonesia, such as the capital Jakarta and second-largest city Surabaya.

The Jakarta Post headline on 2 February 2017. Image: PMC

In February, The Jakarta Post reported that both Jakarta and Semarang faced environmental crises.

Citing Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) researcher Henny Warsilah, a graduate of Paris I-Sorbonne University in France, who measured the resilience of three coastal cities – Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya – the Post noted only Surabaya had built sufficient environmental and social resilience to face natural disasters.

Jakarta and Semarang, Warsilah said, “were not doing very well”. Although Surabaya was faring much better with its urban policies.

The National Geographic Indonesia banner headline in October 2017. Image: PMC

The fate of some five million people living in Indonesia’s at risk coastal areas – including Semarang — was also profiled in the Indonesian edition of National Geographic magazine last month under the banner headline “Takdir Sang Pesisis” – “The destiny of the coast”.

The introduction asked: “”The disappearance of the mangrove belt now haunts seaside residents. How can they respond to a disaster that is imminent?”

Ongoing reclamation
According to The Jakarta Post, Semarang “has ongoing reclamation projects in the northern part of the city, which threaten to submerge entire neighbourhoods in the next 20 years”.

Urban erosion and land subsidence in Semarang city. Note the raised house second from left, the other sinking dwellings on either side have been abandoned to the tidal waters. Image: David Robie/PMC

“The more [the city] is expanded, the more land will subside because the region is a former volcanic eruption zone, and it is a swamp area,” says Warsilah.

“With the progression of the reclamation projects, the land is not strong enough to withstand the pressure.”

With a team of international geologists and researchers attached to Semarang’s Center for Disaster Mitigation and Coastal Rehabilitation Studies (CoREM) at Diponegoro University, I had the opportunity to visit Timbulsloko village earlier this month to see the growing “crisis” first hand.

City planners might see the only option as the residents being forced to leave for higher ground, but there appear to be no plans in place for this. In any case, local people defiantly say they want to stay and will adapt to the sinking conditions.

An unnamed local shopkeeper who has three generations of her family living in her Timbulsloko home and she doesn’t want to leave in spite of the sea encroaching in her house. Image: David Robie/PMC

One woman, a local shopkeeper, who has a three-generations household in the village with water encroaching into her home at most high tides, says she won’t leave with a broad smile.

I talked to her through an interpreter as she sat with her mother and youngest daughter on a roadside bamboo shelter.

“I have lived here for a long time, and I am very happy with the situation. My husband has his work here as a fisherman,” she said.


A local storekeeper with her mother and youngest daughter – three generations live in her Timbulsloko village home. Video: David Robie’s Café Pacific.

‘We don’t want to leave’
“We live with the flooding and we don’t want to leave.”

A raised house at low tide in Timbulsloko. Image: David Robie/PMC

She also said there was no clear viable alternative for the people of the village – there was no plan by the local authorities for relocation.

Later, she showed me inside her house and how far the water flooded across the floors. Electrical items, such as a television, had to be placed on raised furniture. The children slept on high beds, and the adults clambered onto cupboards to get some rest.

The village has a school, community centre, a mosque and a church – most of these with a sufficiently high foundation to be above the seawater.

However, the salination means that crops and vegetables cannot grow.

The community cemetery is also awash at high tide and there have been reports of eroded graves and sometimes floating bodies to the distress of families.


Timbulsloko’s village cemetery. Video: David Robie’s Café Pacific

We were warned “don’t touch anything with your hands” as the flooding also causes a health hazard.

Research projects
The situation has attracted a number of research projects in an effort to find solutions to some of the problems, the latest being part of the 2017 World Class Professor (WCP) programme funded by the Indonesian government.

Two of the six professors on the University of Gadjah Mada’s WCP programme, in partnership with Diponegoro University, are working with local researchers at CoREM.

WCP programme professors Dr David Menier (centre) and Dr Magaly Koch (right) talk to CoREM director Dr Muhammad Helmi on the Timbulsloko village wharf, near Semarang. Image: David Robie/PMC

They are geologists Dr Magaly Koch, from the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University, US, and Dr David Menier, associate professor HDR at Université de Bretage-Sud, France, who are partnered with Dr Muhammad Helmi, also a geologist and director of CoREM, and Dr Manoj Mathew. Both Dr Mathew and Dr Menier are of LGO Laboratoire Géosciences Océan.

The stages of flooding in the Semarang study area. Source: Ramkumar & Menier (2017)

“At the regional scale, the rate of subsidence is related to the geological and geomorphological context. North Java is a coastal plain that is very flat, silty to muddy, influenced by offshore controlling factors (e.g., wave, longshore drifts, tidal currents, etc.) and monsoons, and surrounded by volcanoes,” explains Dr Menier.

Controlling factors along the Semarang coastline. Source: CoRem, (UNDIP)

“Locally, anthropogenic factors can play a serious role as well.”

He says that coastal plains are dynamic. However, human activities are fixed – “the first contradiction”.

“Humans want to control and continue their livelihood, and are reluctant to accept changes related to their own activities or natural factors.”

Dr Menier says the subsidence is due to many factors, but some key issues have never been studied.

On a long term scale, the active faults of the area need to be examined in a geodynamic context and also volcanic activity with Mt Urganan and Mt Muria/Medak.

“We need to have a better understanding of the age of the coastal plain in order to reconstruct the past, explain the present-day and predict the future,” he says.

“Colonisation in the 17th century-Dutch period probably led to destruction of ecosystems (mangrove) and fine sediment usually trapped by plants has been stopped.”

Dr Koch adds: “Subsidence rates and their spatial distribution along the coastal plain need to be studied in detail using InSAR techniques. Groundwater abstraction (using deep wells) is probably happening in the city of Semarang but not necessarily in Demak.”

Expanding mangroves protection at Timbulsloko, Demak regency. Image: David Robie/PMC

Mangrove restoration
Mangrove restoration and mitigation has been used successfully to restore coastal resilience and ecosystems in Timbulsloko.

While noting that “high failure rates are typical” due to wrong special being planted and other factors, Dr Dolfi Debrot, of a Dutch project consortium, argues “given the right conditions, mangrove recovery actually works best without planting at all.”

The consortium involves Witteveen+Bos, Deltares, EcoShape, Wetlands International, Wageningen University and IMARES.

However, community planting is also a strategy deployed in the lowland villages.

Mangroves revitalise aquaculture ponds for crab and shrimp farming.

A “growing land” technique borrowed from the muddy Wadden Sea in the Netherlands has also been used successfully at Timbulsloko and other villages.

Semi-permeable dams are built from bamboo or wooden poles packed with branches to “dampen wave action”. In time, a build up of sediment settles and allows mangroves to grow naturally.

CoREM director Dr Muhammad Helmi … praises the contribution of flexible “eco” seawalls. Image: David Robie/PMC

“These eco-engineering seawalls are better than the concrete fixed barriers,” says Dr Helmi. “The permanent seawalls in turn become eroded at their base and eventually fall over.”

Dr David Robie is on the WCP programme with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta.

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Activists from Puerto Rico to Pacific demand climate compo, no fossil fuels

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Activists from Puerto Rico to Pacific demand climate compo, no fossil fuels

Democracy Now!’s video on the Bonn protests demanding an end to fossil fuel extraction.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the German capital Bonn for a rally and march to demand an end to fossil fuel extraction. These are some of their voices.

CARLOTTA GROHMANN: Hi. My name is Carlotta Grohmann. I am from the Bonn Youth Movement. And we are here today because we think that climate change, that environmental pollution, is not just one cause. It’s not just the carbon emissions. It’s not just coal. It’s everything. It’s nuclear power. It’s the way that we are putting war all over the planet and destroying it. It’s the way that our economic system is working for the profit of few.

KATIA AVILÉS-VÁZQUEZ: My name is Katia Avilés-Vázquez. I came from Puerto Rico to be here in Bonn. Part of the reason I’m here is we, the Caribbean, just got hit with two major-force hurricanes, and we had unusually high activity of hurricanes, particularly part of the effects of increased temperature due to climate change. And while we’re living and struggling through the effects of climate change, the decisions that are causing it are being made here.

VIEW MORE: Watch the full Democracy Now! show which is broadcasting live from Bonn

And I’m hoping, by being here, we can kind of highlight the struggles that we’re going through, what climate change is doing in the now. This is not something to prepare for in the future. We’re living it, we’re suffering, we’re dying at this moment. We have lost power. We lost communications. We lost potable drinking water. And our economy is collapsing due to that.

So we need just—we need climate reparations. One of the things that we’re demanding, ending the Jones Act, ending the colonial rule and PROMESA. We want to be able to work, trade and heal with our Caribbean sister islands, like they have offered to help, but the US has told them no. And we want to make sure that we transition into renewables, not just rebuilding the Puerto Rico of old that replicates the oppression that led us to being in such vulnerable positions.

-Partners-

AMY GOODMAN: Just as we flew here from the United States, we saw whatever power was restored to San Juan. When we were in San Juan, there was some pockets of electricity, that, once again, San Juan has been plunged into darkness. That’s just in San Juan, which is the most—

KATIA AVILÉS-VÁZQUEZ: Electrifying.

AMY GOODMAN: —successful in returning electricity.

Correcting past oppression
KATIA AVILÉS-VÁZQUEZ: Correct. That’s actually been one of the most painful things about being here, is seeing that whatever little progress was made, we set up, a couple steps back. And it’s important to highlight that that was the one line that Whitefish fixed and that Whitefish got that contract because their owner or someone has stocks, that’s a Trump donor. So, again, it highlights the need to—for whatever transition we demand needs to be just, and it needs to correct past oppressions, and it needs to be towards renewable, not just fixing an old and decaying infrastructure.

The other thing that happened while we were here—just today it came out—that FEMA is going to relocate at least 3000 Puerto Ricans out of Puerto Rico, when we have so much housing that’s available and that’s apt to have humans. They’re moving our people out systematically. And now it’s—the gentrification that was already happening due to Law 2022 is now being officialised by the US government, and that’s just completely unacceptable.

MONICA ATKINS: My name is Monica Atkins, and I am here representing Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi, as well as the Climate Justice Alliance. And I’m here to stand in solidarity with the communities of color, indigenous people, whose land are being polluted, whose waters are being polluted and whose land is being taken over. So we’re just here standing in solidarity and showing support.

CHIEF NINAWA HUNI KUI: [translated] My name is Chief Ninawa. I am from Acre, Brazil, with the Huni Kui people. I came to bring a message from the forest to this climate conference. This message is of life, love, peace and hope. We believe that nature should not be commercialized for big capital. We came here to demand respect for human beings, for the water, for the forest and everything that depends on the forest.

MIRIAN CISNEROS: [translated] My name is Mirian Cisneros. I’m the president of Sarayaku and Kichwa people in the Ecuadorean Amazon. I’m here because the indigenous people around the world are affected by climate change. And we came with a proposal, the Living Forest proposal, to advance this call for the living forest, but also to join forces and gain solidarity from other people, other movements, so that we can unite and be in this fight together.

DARIO KOPPENBERGER: I’m Dario Koppenberger, and I’m from Wiesbaden in Germany. [translated] It’s become evident, from what we’ve seen at the world climate conference that is in progress here, that the climate targets that they had established are not sufficient. At the same time, it is clear that they are not truly willing to carry them out anyway. I believe that there is enough wealth in the world to be able to accommodate both our concerns for the environment as well as job security for workers. In other words, there need not be starvation or unemployment, because there is enough work in the world, and it is more a question of how to spread it around among all. We need the environment. We cannot exist without it. Therefore, the question is simple for me. It is that capitalism lies at the basis of our problems and that we critically need groundbreaking alternatives to it.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the streets of Bonn, Germany, here on Saturday.

Republished under a Creative Commons licence.

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Audio: Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Claim Bias Among Environmental Protection Officials

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Audio: Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Claim Bias Among Environmental Protection Officials

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Claim Bias At The EPA Hearings – Interview by Raglan Community Radio.



Interview: March 17, 2017.

Synopsis: There has been a series of decisions made at the Environmental Protection Agency that appear to make life hard for opponents of seabed mining. There are also claims from those opposed to seabed mining that the Chair of Decision Making Committee tearing into the submitters.

Raglan Community Radio spoke to June from Kiwis Against Seabed Mining who has been observing the EPA hearings in New Plymouth who speaks of her concerns.

350.org Pacific calls on Suckling to stop ‘slap in face’ support for coal mine

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: 350.org Pacific calls on Suckling to stop ‘slap in face’ support for coal mine

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Australia’s Patrick Suckling … criticised over his support for the Adani Carmichael coal mine. Image: DPS Srinagar

The climate change advocacy group 350.org Pacific today called on Patrick Suckling, the Australian government’s Ambassador for the Environment, to immediately remove his support for the Adani Carmichael coal mine.

If the Carmichael mine goes ahead, it would be the biggest coal mine in Australia and one of the biggest in the world, the group said in a statement.

The annual emissions from burning the coal it produces would be similar to those of the whole of Malaysia or Austria, and more than New York City, 350.org Pacific said.

“With Fiji playing an important role in the process of implementing the Paris Agreement, the support by Australia for the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry is a slap in the face of the vulnerable Pacific Islands.

“If the Australian government has seriously recognised the plight of the Pacific in dealing with climate change and rising sea levels, they must look at its complicity in the problem the Pacific is facing,” 350.org Pacific coordinator Koreti Tiumalu said.

“The most effective move the Australian government could take is to immediately say no to the Carmichael coal mine and urgently take the necessary actions required to move away from fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy.

“As the world’s largest coal producer and one of the biggest per capita climate polluters, Australia has a responsibility to act swiftly on climate.

Call for genuine action
“If Australia wants to be good regional neighbors they must demonstrate genuine action and tackle the causes of climate change, by neither allowing new coal mines nor pushing for the construction of new coal power stations.”

In the lead up to COP23, 350 Pacific and the Pacific Climate Warriors will continue to highlight Australia’s “inaction” on climate change and urge Pacific leaders to rally together and call on Australia to end its fossil fuel expansion.

“Our Pacific leaders must remain vigilant for the future of our Islands – they know what is at stake and have in fact called for a global moratorium on coal mines.

“Fiji’s presidency at COP 23 this year will be a chance for the Pacific to emphasise how Australia’s inaction on climate change speaks louder than words,” Tiumalu said.