Monday, 25 January 2016

Hazardous chemicals found in many outdoor clothing brands

Munich, 25 January 2016 - Hazardous and persistent chemicals, dangerous to human health and the environment, have been found in the products of leading outdoor brands. Brands like The North Face, Patagonia, Mammut, Columbia and Haglofs keep using PFCs to make their gear waterproof despite their claims of sustainability and love for nature, a new Greenpeace Germany report reveals. [1] The report “Leaving Traces. The hidden hazardous chemicals in outdoor gear” was presented today at a press conference at ISPO Munich, the biggest outdoor trade show in Europe. [2]

Greenpeace tested 40 products purchased in 19 different countries and regions. Hazardous PFCs were not only found in clothing but also in shoes, tents, backpacks, ropes and even in sleeping bags. Only in four items were no PFCs detected. Although most of the brands tested claim publicly that they are no longer using the most hazardous long-chain PFCs, they were still found in high concentrations in 18 items. [3]

“We found high levels of PFOA, a long-chain PFC that is linked to a number of health effects, including cancer, in some products from The North Face and Mammut. This substance is already restricted in Norway. These are disappointing results for outdoor lovers who want their clothes to be as sustainable and clean as the places they explore“ said Mirjam Kopp, Detox Outdoor project Leader.

PFCs are chemical compounds that don’t exist in nature. Once released in the environment many of them degrade very slowly and enter the food chain, making pollution almost irreversible.  They have been found in very remote areas of the planet [4], in animals like dolphins and in polar bears’ livers and even in human blood.

“Brands like The North Face and Mammut are not walking their talk of love and respect for nature when it comes to the chemicals they use in the production chain. Together with the outdoor community, we challenge them to show us what true leadership and respect for nature means: stop using hazardous chemicals and detox their gear now” added Kopp.

In recent years, many outdoor brands have started switching from long chain to short chain PFCs, claiming that these are better alternatives. But recently, more than 200 scientists from 38 countries signed the 'Madrid statement'[5] which recommends avoiding the use of PFCs -- including short chain --for the production of consumer products, including textiles.

While major outdoor brands are still highly dependent on hazardous chemicals, UK brand Páramo Directional Clothing today announced its commitment to Detox[6]. Páramo is the first brand in the outdoor sector that has already eliminated PFC from its entire production chain, showing that high-performance PFCs-free gear is possible and setting the highest standard within the sector. The UK brand joins 34 international fashion and sports brands already committed to Detox.

“We are convinced that the outdoor community really has the leverage to be a game-changer in the industry and we are calling on the brands to accept the challenge to detox their customers are asking for “concluded Kopp.

This is the first product testing from Greenpeace that was designed in collaboration with a community of supporters and outdoor lovers. More than 30.000 votes were collected on http://detox-outdoor.org/, and Greenpeace sent the 40 most-voted products to the lab.

Notes:
[1] Poly- and per-fluorinated compounds, (or PFCs) are used in many industrial processes and consumer products. The outdoor industry in particular is an important user, since it applies PFCs to make products waterproof and dirt-repellent. Once released into the environment, many PFCs are broken down very slowly; they remain in the environment for many years and are dispersed across the entire planet. Some PFCs may cause harm to reproduction, promote the growth of tumours and affect the hormone system.
[2] http://detox-outdoor.org/assets/uploads/Report_Product_Testing.pdf
[3] https://medium.com/@DetoxOutdoor/pfc-quest-results-694e5f62902d#.g7n44ezcu
[4] “Footprints in the Snow” report, http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Toxics-reports/Footprints-in-the-Snow/
[5] http://greensciencepolicy.org/madrid-statement/
[6] http://www.paramo-clothing.com/blog/en-gb/paramo-detox-commitement/

Source: Greenpeace.

Monday, 31 March 2014

UN rules against hunting of whales "for science"

In response to the International Court of Justice ruling today that the Japanese Whaling program is not scientific [1] John Frizell, Greenpeace International whales campaign coordinator said:

“We welcome this outcome which vindicates our view that whaling in the Southern Ocean is not necessary for science and should be ended. We urge Japan to abide by this decision, scrap the factory ship Nisshin Maru and not attempt to continue whaling by amending the program and claiming it is now scientific.



We call on Japan to join international programs underway in the Antarctic to study whales and the environment in order to contribute to recovery from whaling and other threats and to give its support in other international treaties to create a network of ocean sanctuaries in the Southern Ocean, protecting all components of the ecosystem, starting with the Ross Sea and other areas."

Greenpeace will continue to monitor Japan’s so-called scientific whaling to ensure that they do not find any more loopholes to hunt whales.

Notes:
[1] Official ICJ ruling: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/148/18162.pdf 


Source: Greenpeace.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Day We Fight Back

Washington, DC – A broad coalition of activist groups, companies, and online platforms will hold a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA's mass spying regime on February 11th. Dubbed "The Day We Fight Back", the day of activism was announced on the eve of the anniversary of the tragic passing of activist and technologist Aaron Swartz. The protest is both in his honor and in celebration of the victory over the Stop Online Piracy Act two years ago this month, which he helped spur.

Participants including Access, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, BoingBoing, Reddit, Mozilla, ThoughtWorks, and more to come, will join potentially millions of Internet users to pressure lawmakers to end mass surveillance -- of both Americans and the citizens of the whole world.

On January 11, 2013, Aaron Swartz took his own life. Aaron had a brilliant, inquisitive mind that he employed towards the ends of technology, writing, research, art, and so much more. Near the end of his life, his focus was political activism, in support of civil liberties, democracy, and economic justice.

Aaron sparked and helped guide the movement that would eventually defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act in January 2012. That bill would have destroyed the Internet as we know it, by blocking access to sites that allowed for user-generated content -- the very thing that makes the Internet so dynamic.

David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, which he co-founded with Swartz, said: "Today the greatest threat to a free Internet, and broader free society, is the National Security Agency's mass spying regime. If Aaron were alive he'd be on the front lines, fighting back against these practices that undermine our ability to engage with each other as genuinely free human beings." According to Roy Singham, Chairman of the global technology company ThoughtWorks, where Aaron was working up until the time of his passing:
"Aaron showed us that being a technologist in the 21st century means taking action to prevent technology from being turned against the public interest. The time is now for the global tribe of technologists to rise up together and defeat mass surveillance."

According to Josh Levy of Free Press:

"Since the first revelations last summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users have come together online and offline to protest the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs. These programs attack our basic rights to connect and communicate in private, and strike at the foundations of democracy itself. Only a broad movement of activists, organizations and companies can convince Washington to restore these rights.”
Brett Solomon, Executive Director, Access, added:

"Aaron thought in systems. He knew that a free and open internet is a critical prerequisite to preserving our free and open societies. His spirit lives in our belief that where there are threats to this freedom, we will rise to overcome them. On February 11th, we'll rise against mass surveillance."

On the day of action, the coalition and the activists it represents make calls and drive emails to lawmakers. Owners of websites will install banners to encourage their visitors to fight back against surveillance, and employees of technology companies will demand that their organizations do the same. Internet users are being asked to develop memes and change their social media avatars to reflect their demands.

Websites and Internet users who want to talk part can visit TheDayWeFightBack.org to sign up for email updates and to register websites to participate. Regular updates will be posted to the site between now and the February 11th day of action.

WHO: Access, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, The Other 98%, BoingBoing, Mozilla, Reddit, ThoughtWorks -- and many more to come

WHAT: Day of Action in Opposition to Mass Spying, Honoring Aaron Swartz and SOPA Blackout Anniversary

WHEN: February 11, 2014 - TODAY!!

HOW INTERNET USERS CAN HELP:
  1. Visit TheDayWeFightBack.org
  2. Sign up to indicate that you'll participate and receive updates.
  3. Sign up to install widgets on websites encouraging its visitors to fight back against surveillance. (These are being finalized in coming days.)
  4. Use the social media tools on the site to announce your participation.
  5. Develop memes, tools, websites, and do whatever else you can to participate -- and encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Good news on Christmas Day for Arctic 30

St Petersburg – The final chapter in the legal ordeal of the Arctic 30 began today as the group was asked to attend a meeting at Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee, where the criminal case against them is being dropped en masse.
 
 Photo: Greenpeace.

They will then have one more hurdle – securing exit visas in their passports – before the non-Russians are free to leave the country and be reunited with their families. A meeting with the Federal Migration Service is scheduled for later today. The Arctic 30 are expected to leave Russia in the coming days.
 
Peter Willcox, American Captain of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, today said:
 
"This is the day we've been waiting for since our ship was boarded by armed commandos almost three months ago. I'm pleased and relieved the charges have been dropped, but we should not have been charged at all. We have already discovered enough oil to dangerously heat the planet and we took action to prevent that. Giving the planet to the oil and coal companies is not an option."

Frank Hewetson from the UK said:

“Well that was an extremely odd Christmas morning.”
 
The Arctic 30 have lived together in a St Petersburg hotel since being bailed nearly five weeks ago. They will spend today (Christmas Day in the west, but not in Russia) at the Investigative Committee and then the Federal Migration Service. They will then have Christmas dinner together – possibly the last time they will all be together after a saga that started with a peaceful protest at an Arctic oil rig before they were jailed for two months, sparking a huge global campaign.
 
Camila Speziale, 21, from Argentina said:

"This is weird for me to receive this today on Christmas Day. I don't see it as a gift. We should not have to receive this ‘gift’ at all, we should be in our homes with our families today, it is ridiculous that we were arrested for a peaceful protest.  It seems such a long time ago we were on the Arctic Sunrise. It is unbelievable that Gazprom has already started drilling in the Arctic. I'm happy to be going home, but this is not over yet. I will keep raising my voice and taking real action to stop the oil companies destroying the Arctic."
 
The Investigative Committee is today implementing an amnesty agreed by the Duma (Russian parliament) that effectively ended legal proceedings against the Arctic 30. Yesterday just one of the thirty – Anthony Perrett – had proceedings against him dropped. Today the other 29 are joining him.
 
Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said:

“By taking the amnesty nobody is admitting guilt, far from it, these are people who remain proud of the stand they took for Arctic protection. And now this chapter is nearly over. Greenpeace would like to thank the consular officials in St Petersburg who worked hard to get us this far. Even today many of them are giving up their own Christmas Day to push the migration service to process visas as quickly as possible.”
 
Source: Greenpeace.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Palm oil giant Wilmar commits to end forests destruction

Wilmar International, the world's largest palm oil trader today announced a No Deforestation Policy in response to pressure from Greenpeace, NGOs and consumers around the world. The policy has the potential to be a landmark win for the world’s forests and the people that depend on them for their livelihoods.

 
Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesia forest campaign at Greenpeace International said:

“Wilmar has responded to years of pressure from Greenpeace, other NGOs, and a growing movement of consumers around the world demanding clean palm oil and an end to forest destruction. Wilmar’s commitment to No Deforestation has the potential to transform the controversial palm oil industry.”

“Wilmar’s policy shows that the sector has a massive problem, and while this policy is great news for forests and tigers, its success will be judged by Wilmar’s actions to implement and enforce it. Our challenge to Wilmar is this: will it now immediately stop buying from companies such as the Ganda Group, which is closely linked to Wilmar and is involved in ongoing forest clearance, illegal peatland development and social conflict?”






Over the last seven years, Greenpeace has repeatedly exposed Wilmar’s role in gross acts of forest destruction; sourcing from national parks, destroying prime tiger habitat, sourcing from suppliers linked to orang-utan ‘graveyards’ or this year’s forest fire crisis in Sumatra, to name a few.
“For years companies, including Wilmar, have been hiding behind so called sustainability bodies such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Greenpeace will be closely monitoring how Wilmar will put these words into action, and will welcome Wilmar’s immediate end to all trade with companies involved in deforestation. The gauntlet is thrown to other palm oil traders such as Cargill, Musim Mas and Sime Darby to release similar policies,” added Bustar.

The palm oil sector is the greatest single cause of deforestation in Indonesia. Ministry of Forestry maps show that Indonesia is losing some 620,000ha of rainforest every year between 2009-2011 (an area greater than the size of Brunei). Palm oil’s expansion into New Guinea and Africa is already threatening forests, sparking controversy and conflict with local communities.

Wilmar International accounts for more than a third of global trade of palm oil.


Source: Greenpeace.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Do you really need axes for camping or survival purposes?

Axes are really useful tools and they are even very effective close-combat weapons in the right hands, but are they really necessary in most outdoor or adventure scenarios?
 




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Monday, 2 December 2013

Tips for Storing Food Reserves in Urban Areas for Survival Purposes

Being in a city doesn't guarantee that survival will be easier for anyone, if compared to what has to be done in the wilderness: on the contrary, cities and urban areas present their own problems and oddly enough, their inhabitants are often very ill prepared to deal with emergencies.

Archaeologists and historians generally think that the first human settlements that could be called towns and the primitive organization of society evolved as consequences of common needs like gaining protection against natural and man-made threats. In ancient Mesopotamia, people began gathering in towns to defend themselves against raiders coming from northern mountains - what we know today as Kurdistan -; these raiders who came from a region that is rather poor in resources and certainly ore hostile than the fertile plains around the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, became a real problem and so, it was only a matter of time until people agreed on pooling their resources, probably under the auspices of some of those mountain raiders that then formed the core of the first organised armies or defence forces.

It wasn't just a matter of money: As raiders took the produce of each harvest the robbed farmers were often left with no thing to eat until they could harvest again, and that took months. Survival was a complicated thing to achieve without those cereals and at any rate, attackers could come and steal again, so protection for food was as important as protection for people. There was no contention for those that lost their harvests either by natural catastrophes or by the action of men because the productivity of those early agricultural ventures was nominal if compared to today's standards.

People could harvest about what they could store and eat between each harvesting period, so helping your neighbours wasn't often an option, even if you knew that helping them would in the end serve as an insurance for you, expecting the same treating in the future. 

How does this apply to a modern urban survival scenary? Well... things have not changed much in this particular realm.


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