Greenpeace visions for a better world

Transitions Film Festival is super excited to partner with Greenpeace Australia Pacific for this year’s Transitions Film Festival. They will be presenting the Sydney screening of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change on March 10th at Orpheum Cinema in Cremorne. We spoke to Kristian Barron from Greenpeace about their visions for a better world! 

How would you describe Greenpeace to someone who has never heard of you?

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organisation. We use non-violent direct action to expose global environmental problems and to propose meaningful solutions. We do this to ensure a green and peaceful future for our planet and to nurture life in all its diversity.

Our independence and commitment to nonviolence are the cornerstones of our work. We do not take donations from governments, corporations or political parties. We firmly believe that violence is not a solution. To obtain peace, we must promote peace. Since its founding, Greenpeace has a proud tradition of bearing witness and will continue to honour that tradition.

We are also truly global. Greenpeace is active in 55 countries around the world and has a supporter base of 24 million. Each office shares these core values and work together to bring about meaningful, lasting change.

What does Greenpeace actually ‘do’?

A very good question.

At Greenpeace Australia Pacific, we work with hundreds of thousands of dedicated and passionate supporters to protect the environment.

Visitors at a Rainbow Warrior ‘Open Boat’ day, to show support for the ‘Save the Reef’ campaign. The ship’s six week tour will see the Rainbow Warrior travel up the east coast of Australia to raise awareness and support for the campaign.

We are responsible for Greenpeace’s work in Australia and 19 Pacific Island nations that are spread across one quarter of the Earth’s surface. This means we campaign to slow climate change, protect our unique reefs and oceans and keep our beautiful forests safe. We lobby politicians and corporations to protect our natural wonders. We work alongside Pacific Islanders who’re seeing  fish stocks decimated and their homes disappear under rising sea levels. We act to protect our democratic spaces. We challenge power wherever we find it.

But most importantly, we don’t do this alone. We make the invisible visible but it’s up to our supporters and the public at large to demand change. So above all else, Greenpeace Australia Pacific seeks to create and share content – be it a headline-grabbing report, a viral video, a peaceful rally or an iconic banner-drop – to inspire and support masses of people to act to win a healthy planet.

What has Greenpeace achieved recently? 

As a movement, we have achieved a great deal!

At the global level, we have prevented Shell from drilling for oil in the Arctic, a development that would have seen oil spills and irreversible harm to our climate. We continue to campaign to protect the Amazon rainforests from being cleared, halting an unnecessary hydro-dam from being built as recently as 2016. We have successfully lobbied to clean up tuna supply chains, ensuring greater sustainability practices – and have even successfully petitioned for the creation of the Ross Sea Marine Park – the largest protected marine area in the world.

At Greenpeace Australia Pacific, we share a similar story of success.

We successfully lobbied Australia’s major banks to refuse to finance the Adani Carmichael coal mine and rail project – set to be Australia’s largest coal mine – and a disaster for the Great Barrier Reef and our climate.  We ensured the UNESCO World Heritage Commission kept a watch on the Reef’s health in 2015, and will continue to do so.

We have supported our Indonesian counterparts by helping to protect their precious forests. Our lobbying of corporations like Mattel and Nestlé has resulted in 60% of Indonesia’s palm oil industry and 80% of its pulp and paper industry being committed to ‘no deforestation’ policies.

In the Pacific, we have built solidarity among Pacific Island leaders to strengthen their stance against tuna exploitation and amplified their voices in the face of rising sea levels.

We have also secured some major victories for our oceans. We have successfully lobbied for plastic bags to be banned in Queensland and a container recycling scheme to be introduced in New South Wales. We ensured that the world’s second largest super trawler, the FV Margiris, was sent back to Amsterdam and that all super trawlers were banned for two years. Just last year, in a massive win for our oceans and climate, Greenpeace and its allies forced BP to abandon its plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

These wins would not have been possible without our supporters, whose actions, donations and tireless optimism enable us to leave a better world for our children.

What will 2017 bring?

This year, Greenpeace Australia Pacific is celebrating its 40th anniversary. And we’re not slowing down.

We will continue to fight for the Great Barrier Reef against the fossil fuel industry, calling for a government moratorium on all new Australian coal mines. We’ll be keeping the government honest about its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement by mobilising our supporters against the influence of Big Coal.

We will also act to protect our forests, both at home in Australia and in Indonesia, where peatland forests continue to be illegally burned and cleared for palm oil.

Finally, we will continue to protect the Great Australian Bight from deep sea oil drilling. Although BP have pulled out of the project, other oil giants are not far behind. It is up to us, our allies and supporters to keep this fossil fuel frontier closed – for the sake of our climate and the livelihoods of both the magnificent animals and communities who depends on the Bight’s pristine waters.

Learn more about the amazing work Greenpeace is doing by visiting their Facebook page.

You’ve already read that Greenpeace doesn’t accept government and corporate moneyDonations are the lifeblood of their world-changing work. Donate via the Greenpeace website.