It may have been the warmest year on record, but one thing’s for sure: 2015 signalled hope and change for the enviro-movement.
Here are 9 things you helped happen in 2015.
A large scale message made by hundreds of people during the COP21 climate summit
1. You helped accelerate the end of coal!
From the tiny village in Turkey that took on a “land grab” by a major power plant; to BOTH sides of the Norwegian parliament agreeing to divest from coal, the big ol’ black rock had a pretty terrible year.
In Australia, approval of a major coal project that planned to be right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef was overturned by the Federal Court. This was followed by major banks pulling out their investment leaving Adani, the company behind the mine, in a major ditch. But the fight isn’t over – Adani has been persistent – and the power and passion to protect the Reef will continue to grow.
Over 145,000 have signed the petition to #SavetheReef, that led to major banks pulling out of investing in a coal project that would have endangered Australia’s rich marine life and made serious carbon emissions.
2. You joined Greenpeace activists to say #ShellNo!
Slacktivism is lazy right? WRONG!
When 13 Greenpeace USA activists suspended from St. Johns Bridge in Portland to block a Shell vessel from leaving port for Alaskan waters, you supported them with your Tweet love, Facebook shares, petition signing, and all the encouraging messages that poured into our inbox. Because of your support, the ship was forced to turn back to port temporarily.
13 climbers vs 1 giant ship. But in the end #PeopleVsShell won!
Actor Emma Thompson and Greenpeace activists with Aurora, the polar bear. In September, Shell quit drilling in the Arctic.
3. You saved the little guys…
…like the vaquitas. These rare species of porpoise are on the cusp of becoming extinct due to them being caught up in nets intended for another endangered fish – the totoaba.
But 100,000 of you stood up and demanded the vaquitas be protected. USA and China agreed to tackle the smuggling of the totoaba fish, and Hong Kong fined the operators of two dried seafood shops that sell bladders of the endangered fish.
These totoaba bladders can fetch up to USD 645,000. But you’ve helped pressure governments to end trafficking this product.
Mexico announced a temporary ban on fishing nets in the vaquita habitat. Though the rare marine mammals need more protection from all countries involved, we’re closer than ever to protecting them.
Only 57 vaquita are left in the world. Thanks for helping protect them.
4. …and the big guys too.
But hundreds of thousands of you took action to force major brands including Nestlé, Unilever, P&G and Mattel to cease buying the products linked to deforestation. As a result, Indonesian paper giant APRIL this year agreed to stop pulping the rainforest.
Thanks for help protecting the home of the orangutan!
As the fires continued throughout the year, you also helped us pressure President Jokowi to stop the fires for good, and we delivered over 250,000 of your messages to the man himself.
At the COP21 climate talks in Paris we handed over a petition signed by 253,800 people around the world to halt forest and peatland destruction. Thank you!
5. You lent a small hand in a big fight
Russia also suffered from fires and land clearing, and your support helped us send firefighters out there to battle the blazes.
Stopping dry grass fire took 6 years, and this year it finally happened!
In the Amazon, you stood with the Ka’apor indigenous community by working with them to monitor and protect their lands from the invasion of illegal loggers.
Also called “forest dwellers” the home of the Ka’apor has been strengthened by technology to document the invasion of logging trucks inside their territory. Here, a trap camera is being set up to monitor the indigenous territory in areas used by illegal loggers.
And in India, a disputed forest block that was up for auction was given back to the community after years of campaigning by Greenpeace India!
6. You said NO to cheap throwaway clothing
Thanks for helping to build the #detox movement
7. You pressured Internet giants to go renewable
If the Internet were a country it would be the 6th largest power consumer. We’ve pressured Google, Apple, and Facebook to go renewable, and in June Korean Internet giant Naver committed to 100% renewable energy.
Almost everything is online these days. That’s why we need to pressure data centres like, this one in North Virginia to be powered by renewables.
8. You scared off fossil fuel companies
It’s time for climate justice! This year, we supported island nation Kiribati to call for a moratorium on all new coal mines.
During the Paris climate talks, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights announced it will investigate major polluters like Exxon, following a global people powered petition, gathering over 100,000 signatures.
The Philippines launched the world’s first ever national human rights investigation into 50 big polluters.
And in the US, a fight that had been raging on for years finally came to an end when expansion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the United States was flat-out rejected by President Obama. Yes, people power won!
9. You cared about changing the out-of-control tuna industry
The world’s tuna stocks are decreasing, fuelled by an industry using slavery and aggressive fishing methods to clear out the ocean. Greenpeace ships have been out in the sea keeping an eye on the practices of the tuna industry; and in China we exposed and stopped the dodgy actions of a company that was trying to raise millions of dollars to fish for some of the most vulnerable species in the Pacific.
Slavery and overfishing – the tuna industry is out of control, but your consumer choice and voice is helping to change that.
World leaders are paying attention to the threat of climate change, renewables are on the up, and around the world the environmental movement is strengthening. There’s a global shift happening, and YOU are at the centre of it!
Bring on 2016!
Shuk-Wah Chung is a Content Editor at Greenpeace East Asia. Follow her on Twitter @shookiewah
Want to help make 2016 an even better year for the world we live in? Join us!
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