On board the Rainbow Warrior: It's time to stop the mad pursuit for fossil fuels

by Ellie Hooper / 02 October, 2018
Opinion.
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The Rainbow Warrior.

On board the Rainbow Warrior to Taranaki, where Austrian oil company OMV plans to drill nine new exploratory wells, Greenpeace's Ellie Hooper says they need to be stopped.

Right now, I’m on board the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior, en route to Taranaki, to deliver a special message to the oil industry.

The message is this – oil companies are not welcome here, in the Great South Basin or off the Wairarapa Coast. They’re not welcome in our oceans or on land, in my backyard or yours.

Their existence, and business, puts every living thing on this planet at risk. That means the people, places and creatures I care about. And the ones you do too. That means communities near and far being put under serious threat - purely for the greedy few.

One of the companies operating in all three of these regions – OMV – is the target of our message today. They’ve been buying up oil permits and assets in New Zealand like it’s going out of fashion (read: it is). And rather than scale back their operations in the face of a waning industry, they’re planning more exploratory drilling in Aotearoa.

This Austrian company, who are one of the 100 corporates responsible for 70% of climate emissions since 1988, are planning to drill nine new exploratory wells in the seas off Taranaki in 2019 for oil and gas we can’t afford to burn.

They’re doing this safe in the knowledge that their business causes climate change, floods, hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves – all those things that have a very human cost.

And yet these companies show no sign of stopping. So someone’s got to make them.

As we sail to Taranaki, we’re getting ready to send OMV this message. The gig is up. It’s time to stop the mad pursuit for fossil fuels.

I was born in 1988. I was taught about climate change at primary school. And for 30 years I’ve watched inaction, denial and downright lies from the industry that caused so much of it – Big Oil.

I’m angry because for years, we’ve been told to sit tight and let the transition to clean energy happen naturally. But what has become abundantly clear to me is that this isn’t going to happen, not while these companies are allowed to exist. 

Some of these big oil companies have spent billions funding climate science denial, and lobbying Governments to keep delaying action.

The greedy oil and gas companies are not going to lie down and take the end of their industry – their profit pipeline. So we’re going to have to make them.

If we are to save our climate for us to all have a chance of life on this planet, it’s time for action against the industry that has known for decades just what it’s responsible for: death, displacement, injustice.

Climate change is a term that’s so big its meaning gets lost. But it has a human face. Saving the climate means saving my future and yours, and the right of the next generation to have a chance in our shared home.

It’s time we all stood up to those that threaten this, as powerful as they seem.

Ellie Hooper is a digital mobilisation specialist who works at Greenpeace.

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