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How you made 2017 a year to remember

Posted by Nick Monro aka Dikson - 20th December 2017

It’s been a phenomenal year.

Month after month, our supporters helped us protect our planet. Defend our oceans. Safeguard our forests. Galvanise governments. Change how businesses do business.

We couldn’t have done it without them. And in 2018 we plan to keep pushing for a cleaner, fairer world. Let’s not lose track of our goals, but let’s make sure we celebrate our victories. Here are some of the highlights of 2017.

January: a message from the world to the White House

The year began with Zakaria Kronemer and Pearl Robinson unfurling a one-word banner over Washington: RESIST.

Whenever the natural world is under threat we don’t keep quiet – and your voice amplifies the call for justice for the planet and its people.

February: HSBC acts after you pile on the pressure

Jacqueline Harniman from Hertfordshire was one of 200,000 Greenpeace supporters who asked HSBC to stop funding palm oil companies that destroy Indonesian forests. The result? HSBC pledged to end its investments and rapidly started investigating its clients.

Don’t doubt it: your voice makes companies realise they need to be part of the solution.

May: volunteer John takes to the seas – and Scotland responds

“I surveyed 39 beaches on Greenpeace’s Beluga II ship. What we discovered truly shocked me. Plastic pollution is everywhere.” As noise grew from people like you and John, our investigation work made headlines. Then, the Scottish Government announced they would introduce a deposit return scheme, so a refundable deposit will soon be added to every plastic bottle sold – a major first step in reducing plastic pollution in the UK.

June: virtual reality at Glastonbury

Our virtual reality dome gave festival goers the chance to explore the Amazon, guided by the voices of the Munduruku people. More than 2,700 people signed up to support Greenpeace at the 95 festivals we attended in 2017, and more people equals more voices amplifying the causes you care about.

July: people power leads to microbeads ban

Ever doubt the power of petitions? Here’s a reason not to. 385,000 of you asked the government to ban microbeads – the tiny plastics in household products that create a hazard for wildlife in our oceans. Guess what?

The world’s toughest microbeads ban comes into effect in the UK next month.

July: local groups inspire tuna change

Meet Lauren.

A researcher by day, she’s also a member of her local Greenpeace group in East London. The group – like many others including you – asked Thai Union, owners of John West tuna, to tackle illegal fishing. With pressure growing, Thai Union committed to a whole package of reforms. Nice work Lauren – and all of you who helped safeguard our seas.

August: a submarine, a street parade, and the mouth of the Amazon

How do you help convince Brazil to stop oil companies from drilling in the Amazon Mouth Basin? You send a submarine to collect the first footage of the barely explored Amazon Reef. The underwater images made clear the huge risks of drilling nearby and – after 30 of you marched through London and presented a petition to BP asking the company to defend the Amazon Reef – Brazil announced a suspension of bidding for new oil contracts in 2018.

September: volunteers set sail for cleaner air

We investigated new diesel tests and found that some new cars not meeting legal pollution limits were still being given the green light, so Greenpeace volunteers took to the water. All kinds of people – mums and dads, young and old – used kayaks and boats to board a giant car carrier in the Thames Estuary in protest against the toxic VW diesel cars destined for our roads.

The volunteers also confiscated the keys of new diesel cars and left messages from supporters under the bonnets. A month later, we welcomed London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new charge for the most polluting vehicles in a first step to a London-wide ultra low emission zone. By highlighting the issues that matter, we can be part of change that protects our health and our planet.

September: you ask loo paper makers to stop wiping away forests

When we revealed ancient woodlands were at risk because of high-end loo roll, you didn’t mess around. Over 125,000 of you signed a petition asking the makers of Velvet and Cushelle to stop using pulp from Sweden’s Great Northern Forest in their products. You also emailed the company’s CEO and shared your messages on their Facebook page. We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

September: wind turbines turn heads in Westminster

As part of a new campaign with partners including WWF, wind turbines appeared on entry gates at Westminster tube station. The campaign makes a big deal about the huge recent drop in wind energy prices – and these ads were part of our work asking the government to put clean energy at the heart of its plans.

October: you take Norway’s government to court

When the Norwegian Government announced it was opening up a new area of the Arctic for oil drilling for the first time in 20 years, you got to work. £150,000 of donations helped fund our response, and we took the government to court for breaking its own constitution and the Paris climate change agreement. The case continues.

October: free speech beats corporate bullying

A multimillion dollar lawsuit from logging giant Resolute against Greenpeace was dismissed after more than 200 authors joined 92,335 of you and signed a pledge to support free speech and stand up for forests. Our investigation exposed how its destructive logging was threatening vital forests but Resolute didn’t want the world to know. The judge decided the case wasn’t worth hearing, and threw it out. A victory for every one of you, for free speech and for forests.

November: fracking protesters take to the stand

A retired midwife, an ex-soldier and a costume designer were among the Greenpeace volunteers with reason to celebrate at Blackpool Magistrates Court, after successfully defending their right to stand up to fracking. They were charged with obstruction of the highway after a peaceful protest at a fracking site, but the judge said there was no evidence their actions had been unreasonable.

December: double celebration for our oceans

First, a new agreement was reached to protect a huge area of the Central Arctic Ocean – roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea – from unregulated fishing. Then, the largest marine reserve in the world came into effect in the Antarctic, banning fishing in much of a stretch of water that’s still unharmed by human activity. And the good news doesn’t end there. It’s now time for our own three-month expedition, starting in January on our ship – the Arctic Sunrise. We’re aiming big: building the case for the world’s largest protected area in the Antarctic Ocean.


December: Coke finds out you’re the real thing

This Christmas meant more than just a snazzy new advert for Coca-Cola. It meant our very own spoof Christmas ad and over 500,000 people in 14 countries asking Coke to stop relying on single-use plastic. As 2018 arrives, we’ll let you know how to keep the pressure on to stop pollution in our oceans.

No doubt about it, 2017 was a big year.

And as for 2018? That’s a story waiting to be written.

There’s still so much to do but together we’ll keep inspiring new victories. Here’s to another year of moving our world in the right direction together.

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