African Reserves

Good news from around the world

We all need good news on the environmental front. In this series of monthly positive news blogs, we highlight current successes of the Greenpeace campaign, but also wins and wins for the wider social and environmental movement to boost us in our fight for people and the planet. .

Thailand – No coal in Krabi

Krabi communities wave flags with the message “Protect Krabi No Coal” to show their opposition to the proposed coal seaport project in Krabi Province (2014). © Sittichai Jittad / Greenpeace

In July 2022, after 10 years of people-led public campaign Save Andaman from Coal Network, the Ministry of Energy delivered on its commitment to cancel coal-fired power plant projects in Krabi, Thailand, after a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has shown reasonable evidence that it would have a negative impact on the environment.

Over the years, the coalition, which included Greenpeace Thailand, has staged public protests, peaceful sit-ins and hunger strikes to urge the government to end coal-fired power plant projects. Protesters and activists were monitored, arrested and detained but they persevered in order to protect Krabi for present and future generations.

They called on the government to conduct a study on the impact of a coal-fired power plant on Krabi and its surroundings. The Ministry of Energy had signed an agreement to terminate the Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) study of the Krabi-Thepa coal-fired power plant project in favor of the SEA, which 2022, said there would be no coal-fired power plant in Krabi.

After a decade of fighting for their homeland, this is a show of victory for the determination and perseverance of the people.

South Africa – Shell’s exploration rights revoked

Protest against Shell's seismic blasting plans in South Africa.  © Greenpeace / Fixerfilm
People taking part in protests in Muizenberg, Cape Town in 2021. People across South Africa are vociferously opposing Shell’s plans to carry out seismic blasting on the Wild Coast. © Greenpeace / Fixerfilm

In 2021, oil giant Shell announced that it would start looking for oil and gas reserves off the east coast of South Africa. The government had granted the company exploration rights in 2014, renewing them in 2021. Under the decision, Shell could carry out underwater explosions to locate deep-sea oil and gas reserves – deafening explosions that can disturb, injure and kill marine life.

The plans have met strong resistance from coastal and indigenous communities with creative protests in South Africa, London and Amsterdam, as well as successful online petitions. Local organizations took the case to court, arguing that the exploration rights had been granted illegally.

On September 1, 2022, South African courts revoked Shell’s exploration rights, ruling they had been granted unlawfully. The judge also recognized the key role of the ocean in the livelihoods and the spiritual and cultural life of coastal communities.

The ruling to stop Shell is a victory for the people of Africa and beyond who are fighting for a better planet against polluting and destructive industries.

Sweden – Ban on bottom trawling

Placing stones at Fladen to stop bottom trawling.
In 2009, Greenpeace Nordic placed boulders on the seabed of the Natura 2000 Marine Protected Area to prevent bottom trawling of the area. © Christian Aslund / Greenpeace

In 2009, Greenpeace Nordic took action and placed more than 200 rocks on the seabed around two Swedish marine protected areas in Kattegatt – Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund – to protect marine species, such as porpoises and shark species. rarest in Sweden, from bottom trawling. A formal complaint was then lodged with the European Commission regarding the lack of protection in the protected areas that are part of Sweden’s Natura 2000.

In July 2022, these actions finally resulted in a total ban on bottom trawling in all protected areas and a total ban on fishing in half of them. It is one of the strongest ocean protections in Europe and a huge win for the marine life of the Kattegatt.

As for the rocks, placed in the water 13 years ago as a conservation measure, they have become a natural part of the underwater environment with abundant marine life documented.

Uganda and Tanzania – The European Parliament officially recognizes the serious human rights problems caused by the EACOP

Demonstration against oil spills at Total in Paris to protect the Amazon reef.  ©Simon Lambert / Greenpeace
Greenpeace activists carry out an action at the headquarters of the Total company, in La Défense / Paris. ©Simon Lambert / Greenpeace

On September 15, 2022, the European Parliament adopted an urgent resolution against human rights violations and serious environmental consequences with reference to the risks associated with the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline East (EACOP) of TotalEnergies and the Tilenga oil extraction project in Uganda and Tanzania.

The largest heated pipeline in the world, the resolution officially recognized the serious negative effects it could have on communities and the environment, such as the displacement of communities and the destruction of livelihoods, the endangerment of reserves natural resources and the threat to wildlife.

The people of East Africa have strongly opposed the construction of the pipeline due to its devastating impact. This resolution puts additional pressure on the financiers and companies behind EACOP.

Canada – Caribou numbers on the rise thanks to Indigenous-led conservation efforts

Woodland caribou in Canada.
Caribou, a type of reindeer, is considered an endangered species due to habitat loss and the impacts of roads, logging, mining, and other industrial disturbances. © Jean-Simon Bégin / Greenpeace

Saulteau First Nation and West Moberly First Nations in British Columbia are working on an Indigenous-led effort to save a caribou herd from extinction. Once common in British Columbia, caribou numbers have declined significantly in the province, primarily due to human activity and habitat loss caused by mining and forestry projects.

Called Caribou Guardians, the group has a carefully guarded maternity pen in a forest in the Selkirk Mountains where pregnant caribou are kept safe from predators. Group members take turns living in the enclosure tending to the caribou and patrolling the area. The mother and cubs are released into the forest when they are old enough to survive in the wild. Thanks to their efforts, many calves have survived and the number of herds has increased in recent years.

World – UN declares a healthy environment a human right

The aftermath of Super Typhoon Rai in the city of Surigao, Philippines © Jilson Tiu / Greenpeace
Greenpeace activist Khevin Yu calls for ‘Climate Justice Now’ amid damage caused by Typhoon Odette in Surigao City, Philippines in December 2021. © Jilson Tiu / Greenpeace

On July 28, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly declared that everyone on the planet has the right to a healthy environment.

The General Assembly declared that climate change and environmental degradation were among the most pressing threats to the future of humanity and called on States to intensify their efforts to guarantee their populations access to a “clean, healthy and sustainable environment”.

While an important step, the resolution is not legally binding on the 193 UN member states, but an encouragement for states to implement laws to protect people and the environment. It also paves the way for climate and environmental litigation by people and organizations around the world against environmentally destructive policies and projects.

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