Greenpeace Activists Board Cargo Ship Carrying Coal

by: EJ on 06/24/2009
Posted in: Activism

Greenpeace activists boarded a bulk freighter carrying coal to the UK's controversial Kingsnorth power station in Kent on Monday June 22nd. Just after midnight, Greenpeace volunteers intercepted the freighter using rigid inflatable speedboats. As the ship headed towards Kingsnorth, nine people succeeded in boarding it and scaled the huge E.ON-branded funnel and the towering foremast. All were eventually arrested but released.

Emma Gibson, a local mother of three, was one of three Greenpeace activists swimming in the river Medway in front of the jetty, trying to prevent the ship from docking and unloading. She explains her motivation on the Greenpeace International website.

We're going to swim right in front of the approaching ship and try to stop this massive coal shipment reaching Kingsnorth power station, because coal is the most climate-wrecking fuel there is. Every tonne of carbon counts, and E.ON's ship is delivering enough coal to pump tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. There's no way we can stop climate change if power companies are allowed to keep on burning so much coal. I'm terrified by the scale of the problem my children will have to deal with. We have to give the next generation a chance of beating global warming, and that's why I'm putting my body in the way of that ship.

Chasing and boarding a behemoth ship in the dark or swimming in the cold waters of the North Sea to protest the increasing use of coal are not everyone's cup of tea, but there are many less uncomfortable and dangerous ways to alert people to this coming crisis. What could you do to help raise awareness?

If you want to find out more about the dangers of coal, Richard Heinberg's latest book, Blackout: Coal Climate and the Last Energy Crisis lays out everything you need to know about coal in a clear and rational fashion. Read Blackout, and you will understand why Sara Shoraka and Emma Gibson, Greenpeace volunteers, call coal "the single most climate-wrecking fuel there is."

Blackout: Coal Climate and the Last Energy Crisis


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