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Posts tagged ‘environment’

Death By Plastic

Dear Gabriel,

CAE_Pacific_YEG_Donate-Button_v1Are you are as proud as I am about our work to reduce “death by plastic” among Pacific wildlife?

Think about it: Because of your action and our advocacy, there are fewer sea birds entangled by plastic trash, and fewer sea turtles starving because they were unlucky enough to mistake a throwaway plastic bag for a jellyfish.

As 2012 comes to a close, we’ve helped win plastic bag bans that will soon cover more than 50 communities in California. This means billions fewer plastic bags are being tossed away each year. Amazing, don’t you agree? And we couldn’t have done it without you.

But we are far from done.

That’s why we’ve set a goal of raising $150,000 by Dec. 31 to help launch the next chapter of banning plastic bags in California.

Will you make a special year-end donation to Environment California and help us free more Pacific wildlife from plastic pollution?

Together, we began this campaign just a few years ago for one simple reason: Because we believe that nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the Pacific and threaten wildlife for hundreds of years.

In 2012, you helped us achieve a remarkable string of victories, including:

When 2012 started, California was home to only 14 local bans on plastic bags. As 2012 comes to a close, now more than 50 local communities have stood up to ban plastic bags and keep plastic out of the Pacific Ocean.

In May, when the largest city in the state, Los Angeles, was considering a bag ban, the chemical lobby was in City Hall every day. Meanwhile, we hit the pavement and generated over 1,000 phone calls from the City Councilors’ constituents. The Council voted almost unanimously to protect the ocean. Our biggest win yet.

Best of all, these victories are keeping billions of plastic bags out of the Pacific, freeing sea turtles, sea birds and other marine wildlife from harm and “death by plastic.”

As we enter a new year, I want to shift this campaign into overdrive — to educate more people and recruit more Californians to end our wasteful throwaway habits … to convince more counties, cities and towns to stand up to Big Plastic … and to keep the pressure on our state legislators to make California one of the first states in the U.S. to ban the bag statewide.

The alternative? Researchers from the University of California at San Diego recently found a 100-fold increase in plastic particles in the ocean over the past 40 years.

We’re polluting our ocean at an increasingly rapid pace, with damaging effects on species already under stress from overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change.

And every time a sea turtle mistakes a plastic bag for a jellyfish, the plastic settles in its stomach, never to digest. The turtle thinks it’s full. Soon, it starves and dies.

But let’s face it. Big Plastic isn’t in business to care about the Pacific or its wildlife. As long as there’s money to be made in throwaway plastic bags, they’ll keep spending millions on lobbyists, campaign contributions, lawsuits and other intimidation tactics and propaganda to stop us.

Caring about the Pacific and its wildlife is our job and we can’t stop now.

We’ve set a goal of raising $150,000 by Dec. 31 so we can power up the biggest, boldest, most effective campaign yet to free Pacific wildlife from plastic pollution.

Gabriel, you know as well as I do what we’re up against. But you also know that when we work together, we can do great things. That’s how we helped save 70 state parks from closure this past year. That’s how we helped increase solar power 600% over the last 6 years. And that’s how we helped pass plastic bag bans that will soon cover more than 50 communities in California, including the second largest city in this country, Los Angeles.

Now it’s time to join forces again to help end death by plastic in the Pacific.

As you think about all we’ve accomplished, as you weigh the challenges that lie ahead, and as you consider your year-end giving choices, I hope you’ll agree: Our throwaway habits have threatened Pacific wildlife long enough. Stand with me today and we’ll have even more to be proud of next year.

Are you with me?

Dan Jacobson
Legislative Director
Environment California

Arctic Death March

Gabriel-

Instead of seeing warning signs, big oil and the government are seeing dollar signs in the melting Arctic.

There’s still time to stop the drilling, but we need 1,635 supporters from California to raise $100,000 by our December 31 deadline to make it happen.

Can you chip in to help save polar bear cubs from starvation?

A polar bear cub struggles to keep up with its mom. She’s searching for sea ice to hunt for food, but the swim is too far. The cub doesn’t make it. It was a common story this year in the Arctic.

FR2_email_image

Soon there might be nowhere left to swim. This year Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level in recorded history and if current trends continue there could be no summer sea ice at all in the next decade.

But instead of seeing warning signs in the melting ice, big oil and the government are seeing dollar signs. Shell has been given permits to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of the Arctic. If we burn the oil under the Arctic, it will spell the end for the polar bear.

Please make a year-end gift right now and help us raise $100,000 by midnight December 31 to save polar bear cubs from a melting Arctic. We need just 1,635 donors from California to make this happen.

We have to stop the drilling before it’s too late.

Shell’s plans have already been put on hold until next year thanks to Mother Nature, the company’s own incompetence and the success of our global campaign. Now is our opportunity to make sure they don’t get the chance to go back.

In the last week alone we’ve flooded the White House with over 50,000 messages asking President Obama to suspend Shell’s drilling permits and call a ‘timeout’ on Arctic drilling. Now we need your financial support to ramp up our campaign around the world calling for the creation of a global sanctuary in the high Arctic.

We’re running a worldwide campaign to create a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the North Pole off limits to industrialization. And this spring we’ll be leading an expedition to the North Pole and planting a ‘Flag for the Future’ there. The flag will send a message of peace, hope and global community and will be designed by the world’s youth as part of an international competition. A stark contrast to the flags planted by nation states fighting over the exploitation of resources.

We’ll also be taking a time capsule to the North Pole containing the names of the over two million people who added their name to our Arctic Scroll. Once there, we will lower it four kilometers beneath the ice and plant it on the seabed as a symbol for all humanity.

None of this is possible without your support. Please make a year-end gift today to help save polar bears cubs once and for all, protect the environment and ensure that we reach our goal of $100,000 by December 31.

Greenpeace is completely independent. We don’t take a dime from corporations or governments. That means we can do whatever is needed to protect the environment. It also means we completely rely on donors like you making a gift today to support all of our campaigns.

Thanks for all you do,

Philip Radford
Greenpeace USA Executive Director

Expand Yosemite

Dear Gabriel,

CAE_EY_Birthday_Action-Button_v1It’s almost Yosemite’s 150th birthday.

And we have a chance to give the park something great.

What do you get Yosemite, the park that has everything — from stunning Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, to black bears and Giant Sequoias?

Help us expand Yosemite National Park by hundreds of acres.

By taking action now, you can help pass a bill through Congress that would expand Yosemite by 1,600 acres. That’s 1,600 more acres of Giant Sequoias, meadows with snowmelt creeks, black bears, and memories of camping under the stars for our kids and their kids. It’s also the 1,600 acres that John Muir, the man who championed the idea of Yosemite National Park, intended to be part of the park in the first place.

But long ago this land was stripped from the park and given to loggers, miners and the railroad industry.

That’s why I need you to email Senator Feinstein right now.

Tell Sen. Feinstein it’s time to expand Yosemite National Park to its original vision.

The boundaries of Yosemite National Park haven’t been adjusted for the last 70 years. This is our shot.

Your action right now can help better protect Sierra red fox, Goshawks and wolverines from the threat of future development. Yosemite’s 150th birthday is around the corner. If enough Californians contact Congress, we can see to it that we give the park that has everything 1,600 more acres of beauty.

Thank you for being with me. Let’s leave Yosemite better — and bigger — than we found it.

Sincerely,

Dan Jacobson
Environment California Legislative Director

Adopt A Penguin

Dear Gabriel,

Adopt a penguin!

PenguinPlush

The holiday season is upon us, and what better gift to give the ocean lover in your life than a cuddly penguin? Adopt a penguin or other animal from our adoption center and recieve a soft plush or a unique cookie cutter gift in return! All proceeds go towards our work protecting the world’s oceans. We’re currently offering free shipping with no minimum, and if you use the coupon code EARLYBIRD by December 1 you’ll get 10% off your order!

Click here to adopt a penguin today>>>

Oceana

Renewables Rescuing Schools

From Nation of Change and Yes! Magazine
by Erin L. McCoy
News Report. 6 November 2012

Net Zero’s Net Worth: How Renewable Energy Is Rescuing Schools from Budget Cuts

As the new Richardsville Elementary School rose from its foundations on a rural road north of Bowling Green, Ky., fourth-grader Colton Hendrick was watching closely.

He would climb to the top of the playground equipment across the street and watch construction crews hauling in bamboo flooring and solar panels.

“He wants to be an architect some day,” recalled Manesha Ford, elementary curriculum coordinator and leader of the school’s energy team. “He would sit and draw, draw all the different aspects.”

But Richardsville Elementary would not only capture Hendrick’s imagination—it would come to inspire his classmates and school districts around the world. When Richardsville opened its doors in fall 2010, it was the first “net zero” school in the nation, meaning that the school produces more energy on-site than it uses in a year.

Solar tubes piping sunlight directly into classrooms eliminate much of the school’s demand for electric light, while a combination of geothermal and solar power cut down on the rest of the energy bill. Concrete floors treated with a soy-based stain don’t need buffing. The kitchen, which in most schools contributes to 20 percent of the energy bill, houses a combi-oven that cooks healthier meals and eliminates frying. This means an exhaust fan doesn’t pipe the school’s temperature-controlled air to the outdoors all day long. Meanwhile, “green screens” in the front hall track the school’s energy usage so kids can see the impact of turning off a light in real time.

These and other innovations make Richardsville better than net zero. It actually earns about $2,000 a month selling excess energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

But building a green school isn’t enough, according to architect Philip C. Gayhart, principal in the architecture firm Sherman Carter Barnhart, which built Richardsville and has helped the Warren County School District achieve Energy Star ratings for 17 of its 24 schools.

Three factors are essential to making a green school work: First, you need the participation of the community and the local power company; second, you can’t forget that a school is a dynamic learning environment; and third, you need to speak the language of money.

Green by necessity

Since the economic recession began in 2008, school districts have suffered. Local tax bases were shaken as property values plummeted, and states have cut back on funding to districts, which were pushed to cut funds wherever they were able. Addressing energy use made a lot of financial sense.

Few states have been harder hit than Arizona, where the 21.8 percent decrease in per-pupil spending was the highest in the nation.

Sue Pierce, director of facility planning and energy with the Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix, watched as teacher positions were cut, furlough days were scheduled, and $6 million in annual facilities funding disappeared.

“We saw that energy was really an area where we could perhaps save money by simply changing behavior,” Pierce said. “I approached the superintendent and asked permission to develop a program.”

The district’s new energy policy aimed to cut energy consumption district-wide by 10 percent in the first year and 40 percent over the next five years. As part of the program, Pierce began to distribute monthly reports on energy usage, which included every school in the district.

Some schools took to the program more quickly than others.

“Just by changing behaviors, they were showing 10 and 15 percent reduction the first or second month,” she said. The reports then fueled a competition between schools, and by the end of the first year, energy use had been cut 15 percent district-wide.

Since that time, the district has hosted a pilot program that, for the first time, demonstrated the feasibility of geothermal power in Arizona. Another pilot used smart water sensors to cut outdoor water use, and was so successful that the cost of the sensors was recouped in less than three months. The district even won funding to build two “green schoolhouses.”

Including grants the district has won, Pierce concludes the district has saved more than $15 million.

And while the district’s commitment to environmental consciousness has never been stronger, Pierce thinks that broaching the issue as a financial concern, rather than an environmental one, was the smartest approach.

The school district initially adopted the changes “as a way to save money, to save jobs for teachers,” she said. “What started out as a way to save money for the district—and it has—has evolved into a commitment to sustainability.”

A foundation without a footprint

While Washington Elementary School District and many others like it were just kicking off their energy programs in 2008, Richardsville Elementary and the rest of the Warren County School District were already five years ahead of the game.

The district had kicked off its district-wide energy campaign in 2003 under the direction of a forward-thinking superintendent, according to district Public Relations Coordinator Joanie Hendricks. The district was growing by about 400 students per year, and construction projects seemed to be always on the agenda.

So Warren County became one of the first districts in Kentucky to hire an energy manager and was able to save $560,499 in the first year by making small changes.

That first year of savings inspired the ambitious plans that came next, Hendrick said. “When you save half a million dollars in just changing your mindset, it just becomes a simple idea.”

Since 2003, the district has offset more than $7 million in energy costs. That equates to 45 teaching positions. It’s a number that really speaks to people.

“It makes you think twice when you’re going out the door to turn around and turn the light switch off,” Hendrick said, “when you know that could save somebody’s job.”

By the time Warren County decided to focus on greener schools, the architects at Sherman Carter Barnhart had been incorporating newer and greener materials in their plans for years.

“The perception is—and it’s not all wrong—is that it’s more costly, and we think if it’s done correctly it’s not really more costly,” Gayhart said. “I think the real ‘green’ is the dollars you can save the client in the life of the building. That’s the legacy you want.”

Learning gets greener

In 2005, Alvaton Elementary in Warren County opened using 36 kBtus of energy per square foot annually. That’s less than half the national average for schools, which is 73 kBtus. A few years later, Plano Elementary was using 28 kBtus, and today, Richardsville and two net zero-ready schools in the district use only 18 kBtus per square foot.

Net zero-ready schools have everything a net zero school has, minus the solar panels, which Richardsville was able to afford with the help of federal stimulus grants that have since run dry. Bardstown City Schools Finance Director Pat Hagan said although his district is implementing energy-saving measures, the up-front cost of solar doesn’t make financial sense right now.

Bardstown, situated in north central Kentucky, has two schools with geothermal systems.

“They’re a little more expensive to put in but you get your money back pretty quickly,” Hagan said.

Still, all options are on the table for a new school in the planning stages for Bardstown, which expects to see a bid from Sherman Carter Barnhart.

“When they built [Bardstown] High School in ’59 I don’t think anybody thought about energy at all,” Hagan said. “Nobody thought about it even from a cost or environmental view. Now, that’s the first two things you ask.”

For the next generation, this outlook may become a way of life. The schools described in this article have all integrated environmental and sustainability components into their curriculums, and students have adopted these issues passionately.

Read entire article at Nation of Change or Yes! Magazine.

World’s Waste Potential

Beyond Recycling: On the Road to Zero Waste
by Beverly Bell
From Nation of Change
3 November 2012

Zero waste is both a goal and a plan of action. The goal is to protect and recover scarce natural resources by ending waste disposal in incinerators, dumps, and landfills. The plan encompasses waste reduction, composting, recycling and reuse, changes in consumption habits, and industrial redesign. The premise is that if a product cannot be reused, composted, or recycled, it just should not be produced in the first place.

Just as importantly, zero waste is a revolution in the relationship between waste and people. It is a new way of thinking about safeguarding the health and improving the lives of everyone who produces, handles, works with, or is affected by waste — in other words, all of us.

Zero waste strategies help societies to produce and consume goods while respecting ecological limits and the rights of communities. The strategies ensure that all discarded materials are safely and sustainably returned to nature or to manufacturing in place of raw materials. In a zero waste approach, waste management is not left only to politicians and technical experts; rather, everyone impacted — from residents of wealthy neighborhoods to the public, private, and informal sector workers who handle waste — has a voice.

Practicing zero waste means moving toward a world in which all materials are used to their utmost potential, in a system that simultaneously prioritizes the needs of workers, communities, and the environment. It is much like establishing zero defect goals for manufacturing, or zero injury goals in the workplace.

Zero waste is ambitious, but it is not impossible. Nor is it part of some far-off future. Today, in small towns and big cities, in areas rich and poor, in the global North and South, innovative communities are making real progress toward the goal of zero waste. Every community is different, so no two zero waste programs are identical, but the various approaches are together creating something bigger than the sum of their parts: protection of the earth and the natural riches which lie under, on, and over it. Here are a few examples of what is working:

* Through incentives and extensive public outreach, San Francisco has reduced its waste to landfill by 77 percent — the highest diversion rate in the United States — and is on track to reach 90 percent by 2020;

* A door-to-door collection service operated by a cooperative of almost 2,000 grassroots recyclers in Pune, India — now part of the city’s waste management system — diverts enough waste to avoid 640,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually;

* Aggressive standards and incentives for both individuals and businesses in the Flanders region of Belgium have achieved 73 percent diversion of residential waste, the highest regional rate in Europe;

* In Taiwan, community opposition to incineration pushed the government to adopt goals and programs for waste prevention and recycling. The programs were so successful that the quantity of waste decreased significantly, even as the population increased and the economy grew;

* An anti-incinerator movement in the Spanish province of Gipuzkoa led to the adoption of door-to-door waste collection services in several small cities, which have since reduced the amount of waste going to landfills by 80 percent;

* In the Philippines, a participatory, bottom-up approach has proven that communities have the ability to solve their own waste management problems;

* A focus on organics in Mumbai, India and La Pintana, Chile has produced real value from the cities’ largest and most problematic portion of municipal waste;

* In Buenos Aires, Argentina, grassroots recyclers focused on cooperatives and took collective political action. As a result, the city began separating waste at the source, an essential step toward its goal of 75 percent diversion by 2017.

While few locations are bringing together all the elements of a comprehensive zero waste plan, many have in common a philosophy driven by four core strategies:

1. Moving away from waste disposal: Zero waste moves societies away from waste disposal by setting goals and target dates to reduce waste going to landfills, abolishing waste incineration, establishing or raising landfill fees, shifting subsidies away from waste disposal, banning disposable products, and other actions. Government policies that promote these interventions are strongest when they incentivize community participation and incorporate the interests of waste workers.

2. Supporting comprehensive reuse, recycling, and organics treatment programs: Zero waste is about creating a closed cycle for all the materials we use — paper, glass, metals, plastic, and food among them. Such a system operates through separating waste at its source in order to reuse, repair, and recycle inorganic materials, and compost or digest organic materials. Separate organics collection ensures a stream of clean, high-quality material which in turn enables the creation of useful products (compost and biogas) from the largest portion of municipal waste.

3. Engaging communities: Zero waste relies on democracy and strong community action in shaping waste management. A lengthy initial consultation process can pay off with better design and higher participation rates. Residents must actively participate in the programs by consuming sustainably, minimizing waste, separating discards, and composting at home.

A successful zero waste program must also be an inclusive one. Inclusive zero waste systems make sure that resource recovery programs include and respect all those involved in resource conservation, especially informal recyclers whose livelihoods depend on discarded materials. The workers who handle waste should be fully integrated into the design, implementation, and monitoring processes, as they ultimately make the system function. In some communities, where waste workers come from historically excluded populations, this may require ending long-standing discriminatory practices.

4. Designing for the future: Zero waste emphasizes efficient use of resources; safe manufacturing and recycling processes to protect workers; product durability; and design for disassembly, repair, and recycling. Once communities begin to put zero waste practices in place, the residual fraction — that which is left over because it is either too toxic to be safely recycled or is made out of non-recyclable materials — becomes evident, and industrial design mistakes and inefficiencies can be studied and corrected.

Read entire Op-Ed at Nation of Change.

Energy Sources & Polar Bears

Dear Gabriel,

The rise of carbon pollution doesn’t just wreck havoc on the air we breathe, which is certainly bad enough. It wrecks havoc around the globe. So pollution from a power plant in California can have a lasting impact on life as far as Hudson Bay in the North Atlantic, where polar bears rely on the ice in summer months for hunting.

But the EPA is working on a common-sense rule that will limit how much carbon pollution new power plants can emit. Join me in supporting the EPA’s work to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.»

For the past century, coal-fired power plants have been the dominant source of American electricity. It has powered our homes, our communities… and our politics. Big Coal has a vested interest in not changing the way it does business, but it’s time that American power shift.

This rule won’t change emissions overnight, but it will move us in the right direction to tackle global warming and stimulate innovation in clean energy technologies.

The future of our environment, wildlife, our children’s health and our clean energy economy depend on forward-thinking changes like this EPA rule. Sign the petition now to stand up to the dirty air lobby and support clean air standards!»

Natasha
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Spill Baby Spill – Arctic Oil

Dear Gabriel,

Weeks away from starting the first major offshore oil drilling operations in the Arctic, Shell is pulling a major bait and switch — telling the EPA it can’t meet the air pollution rules the company had already agreed to in order to get a drilling permit.

Shell has known since 2010 it would have problems meeting the rules for nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions. But officials still told the EPA they could. Now Shell wants the EPA to weaken the rules at the last minute?

It’s clear that Shell simply cannot be trusted. The company’s request gives the EPA the option to cancel Shell’s permit. That’s exactly what EPA must do.

This is our last, best opportunity to block Shell from drilling in the Arctic this summer.

Tell EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: Reject Shell’s permit to drill in the Arctic. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

This bait and switch is the latest in a long list of broken promises, walk-backs and mishaps which should serve as clear signs to the Obama Administration that allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic is a recipe for disaster.

Just this weekend, Shell literally lost control of its Discoverer drilling rig, which either ran aground or very nearly did so, when its anchor broke while harbored a thousand miles south of the Arctic. Moderate winds are being blamed — yet these winds are mild compared to what it will encounter in the Arctic. The rig, one of the oldest in the world, had a similar anchor malfunction just last year, while it was stationed in New Zealand.

Shell is also having problems with its nearly forty-year-old oil spill recovery barge. While Shell promised the Coast Guard it would upgrade it substantially to withstand stronger weather, Shell now says those upgrades aren’t necessary. The Coast Guard hasn’t yet decided if it will weaken these standards for Shell.

And of course — while we’ve known for some time that the Obama Administration was being hoodwinked by Shell’s hopelessly inadequate oil spill response plan — now Shell has come out and admitted its initial spill response claims were overstated. Shell initially said it could “recover” 95% of oil in the case of a major spill. Now Shell is saying that what it actually meant is “encounter” 95% of the oil — whatever that means.5

Tell EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: Reject Shell’s permit to drill in the Arctic. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Shockingly, the Department of Interior has put the probability of an oil spill in the Arctic at 40%.

That is simply unacceptable. With Shell in the driver’s seat, it’s clear that it would be unwise to even bank on those unacceptably high odds.

Shell’s request to EPA is a major opportunity for President Obama and the EPA to revisit the undeserved trust they have put in Shell thus far. It’s time for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to be a hero, and draw a line to stop the next major drilling disaster in the Arctic.

With Shell hoping to start drilling as soon as the Arctic sea ice clears in the coming weeks, EPA’s response could come any day. Click here to automatically add your name to the petition now.

Thank you for defending the Arctic from reckless offshore drilling.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Oil & Wildlife Don’t Mix

Gabriel,

The Arctic fox is in a losing battle to survive in a warming climate. According to experts, their presence in the Arctic indicates a healthy arctic ecosystem. Unfortunately if Shell gets its way, this ecosystem — and the Arctic fox who call it home — will be forever changed.

Oil industry Giant Shell is halfway to the Arctic to begin exploratory drilling in a region that has gone largely untouched for many years. Exploratory drilling has a high probability of leakage and accidents, and in the remote Arctic there is little chance they could contain a spill.

Should a spill occur, the oil giant’s clean up ‘plan’ is, pun intended, a hollow shell.

We have a plan to stop them, but we’ll need your help. We’re halfway to our goal of raising $100,000 by midnight July 18th. Help support our campaign to save the Arctic and protect our planet by making an urgent gift right now.

What’s our plan? It’s simple. Greenpeace has already mobilized more than half a million people around the world to help save the Arctic.

Celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, Jude Law and Sir Paul McCartney and others have also added their names to our “Arctic Scroll” petition as a symbol of their determination to save the Arctic. Once we reach a million we’re going to take those names, put it on a flag with all the others and plant it at the bottom of the sea 4 km beneath the North Pole.

But that’s not all. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is on the way to the Arctic right now. We’ll be launching a scientific dive — the first of its kind — to find out what’s actually happening below the surface. We will also continue to expose Shell in the news and social media as well as educate the public about the Arctic.

And just two days ago, we joined with several of our colleagues to challenge filing suit to challenge Shell’s oil spill response plan. We’re in this for the long haul. We need your support.

The fact is Shell isn’t prepared for a disaster in the Arctic Ocean. No one is. With constant high seas, icebergs and massive waves, there’s no way to effectively clean up an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. Even the head of the US Coast Guard has publicly admitted that his agency would have little chance of dealing with a spill in the frozen Arctic on their own.

We can’t wait for this to happen. Make a gift right now to support our work in the Arctic. Just 375 more gifts from supporters in California to help make that happen.

This is one of the biggest campaigns we’ve ever undertaken. Shell has tried to bully Greenpeace and people like you to keep us quiet and silence our campaign. But we refuse to stand by while they and other oil industry giants destroy the Arctic and our planet.

Greenpeace doesn’t take a dime from corporations or governments. All we care about is doing what is necessary to save the Arctic. But our plans and the polar bears that call the Arctic home all depend on your support. We’re halfway there. Help support our long-term campaign by making a donation today.

Thanks for your support,

Dan Howells
Greenpeace Deputy Campaigns Director

We’ve Got It Covered

Shell Says It Can ‘Encounter’ 95 Percent of an Arctice Oil Spill, Not Collect it.
From Nation of Change
by Joe Smyth
2 July 2012

As Shell’s rigs head toward the Arctic to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil, the company took a small step this weekend in clarifying what would happen in an oil spill during the company’s planned Arctic drilling operations this summer.

Despite the oil industry’s spin, experts know it is impossible to recover more than a small fraction of a major marine oil spill, as retired Coast Guard Admiral Roger Rufe told NPR: “But once oil is in the water, it’s a mess. And we’ve never proven anywhere in the world — let alone in the ice — that we’re very good at picking up more than 3 or 5 or 10 percent of the oil once it’s in the water.”

So how is it possible, according to the New York Times, that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “said he believed the company’s claims that it could collect at least 90 percent of any oil spilled in the event of a well blowout.” These sorts of claims have raised eyebrows among advocates and scientists who study offshore oil drilling — they aren’t just unbelievable, they’re laughably, outrageously impossible. NPR’s Richard Harris cuts through Shell’s spin, and explains what these numbers really mean:

“They have a miniscule number of boats compared to what was available in the Gulf of Mexico,” [Peter Van Tuyn, and environmental lawyer in Anchorage] says, and in the Gulf, “they didn’t have to deal with the extreme weather conditions that we’ve got in the Arctic.” High winds are the norm, and sea ice is always a possible hazard, “and yet they [Shell] claim they can collect as much as 95 percent.”

Merrell says the company has made no such claim. Instead, he says, the oil company’s plan is to confront 95 percent of the oil out in the open water, before it comes ashore. That doesn’t mean responders can collect what they encounter.

“Because the on-scene conditions can be so variable, it would be rather ridiculous of us to make any kind of performance guarantee,” Merrell says.

While discussing the same issue with the Associated Press, Shell PR folks take another word out for a spin, and even try to blame “opposition groups” for this confusion:

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said opposition groups are purposely mischaracterizing Shell’s oil spill response plan. The plan does not claim Shell can clean up 90 percent of an oil spill, he said.

“We say in our plan we expect to ‘encounter’ 90 percent of any discharge on site — very close to the drilling rig,” he said. “We expect to encounter 5 percent near-shore between the drilling rig and the coast. And we expect to encounter another 5 percent on shore. We never make claims about the percent we could actually recover, because conditions vary, of course.”

Where Shell plans to drill in the Arctic, those conditions include 20 foot swells, hurricane force winds, sea ice, and months of total darkness, and all without deep water ports or other infrastructure needed to mount a major oil spill response. But let’s put that aside for a moment, to make sure we’re not mischaracterizing here: Shell expects to “encounter” or “confront” 90% of the spilled oil and another 5% the company plans to — rendezvous? — with elsewhere in the ocean, while the remaining 5% Shell might — happen upon? — on shore. How much of that oil might be recovered, collected, or, you know, removed from the environment? Well, Shell says conditions vary, so making a performance guarantee would be rather ridiculous.

In the relatively calm conditions of the Gulf of Mexico, with thousands of response vessels, only a small fraction was recovered from the BP oil disaster. Despite shameful efforts to spin its announcement, a government report found that 4% of the oil was skimmed, and another 6% was burned. And as oil spill expert Rick Steiner observes, even those estimates might be too high, and burning oil isn’t really removing it from the environment: “It either went into the air as atmospheric emissions, and some of that is pretty toxic stuff, or there’s a residue from burning crude that sinks to the ocean floor, sometimes in big thick mats.”

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

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