It's our birthday and we'll go beyond oil if we want to

Posted by lisavickers — 15 September 2010 at 4:58pm - Comments

The first Greenpeace ship - the Phyllis Cormack - in 1971 © Greenpeace / Robert Keziere

Today is the 39th birthday of Greenpeace and we have just arrived in Aberdeen on the Esperanza. Back in 1971 on September 15th, the first Greenpeace ship set sail to protest against a US nuclear test zone and peacefully prevent the destruction of Amchitka, a pristine island ecosystem off the coast of Alaska. They didn't make it all the way to Amchitka but what followed was a wave of public support that ultimately shut down the US nuclear testing program, won Amchitka designation as a wildlife sanctuary and gave birth to the Greenpeace movement.

Serendipitously, we have just returned to the UK on Greenpeace's birthday from a mission to the Arctic where we peacefully stopped offshore drilling for 40 hours to minimise the chances of an oil strike before drilling stops for the winter. But while Cairn Energy continues dangerous drilling in the Arctic, we're hoping that together with our supporters we've helped to catalyse the movement to go beyond oil. 

We've taken this movement to one of the most remote places in the world and shone a spotlight on a company that thought they couldn't be reached. And after we resupply in Aberdeen, the Go Beyond Oil tour will start a new chapter. There are many places in the world where dangerous oil drilling is threatening our environment and climate and Greenpeace is heading for the OSPAR meeting in Bergen next week.

The OSPAR Convention is an international treaty charged with preventing and eliminating pollution of the marine environment in the north east Atlantic. We think this requires an immediate moratorium on deepwater drilling in this area.

Today is also special because Tony Hayward, ex-CEO of BP, is being grilled by lawmakers here in the UK about safety violations for BP's North Sea oil platforms.

The Financial Times reports:

"All but one of BP’s five North Sea installations inspected in 2009 were cited for failure to comply with emergency regulations on oil spills, raising questions about the company’s ability to manage a disaster in the area."

BP's shares dropped by 1.6 per cent in London after this report.

To go beyond oil, we will need to transform our transport systems, energy production and distribution, and greatly improve efficiency - but the first step is to stop the immediate danger to our environment that comes with deep water oil drilling.

Let's keep this movement going!

-- Lisa

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