Greenpeace Pulls Off Penguin Stunt


By The Maritime Executive 2018-01-15 10:06:40

Greenpeace has set up penguin sculptures around the world - from London to Seoul, Buenos Aires to Sydney, and Johannesburg to Washington DC. The geometric sculptures have appeared by national landmarks, on local transport and traveling to the Antarctic with suitcase in hand. 

They are part of a Greenpeace campaign calling for the creation of the largest protected area on earth: a 1.8 million square kilometer ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic. 

“This sanctuary would be a safe haven for penguins, whales and seals, and put the waters off-limits to the industrial fishing vessels sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill on which Antarctic life relies,” said Frida Bengtsson, head of Greenpeace’s new Protect The Antarctic campaign.

The penguin display coincides with the start of a Greenpeace expedition to the region where the ship’s crew will document the area’s unique wildlife which the organization says is facing pressures from climate change, over-fishing and pollution. The expedition will see the first humans ever to visit the seafloor in the Weddell Sea, which is the subject of an E.U. proposal for an ocean sanctuary to be considered by the Antarctic Ocean Commission (CCAMLR) in October 2018. 

Greenpeace’s Antarctic expedition will run for three months from January to early April 2018. Antarctic scientists will conduct research to identify “Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems” and new species on the seabed including rare corals and sponges. This would provide further evidence for the need for comprehensive protection of the area, says Greenpeace. The crew will also undertake water sampling to identify the presence of any plastic pollution in this remote region.

Bengtsson says: “The bottom of our blue planet may seem far away to many of us, but what happens there is crucial to all of our futures. An Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would not only safeguard the unique penguins, whales and seals in this incredible area, but it will ensure the ocean is healthy enough to help mitigate against the worst effects of climate change. When governments meet in October, they have the opportunity to create the largest protected area on Earth. Let’s make it happen.”

Dr Susanne Lockhart, an Antarctic specialist with the California Academy of Sciences, is joining the expedition’s dives to the seafloor: “The first steps have finally been taken by those entrusted to govern the Antarctic Ocean to protect one of the world's last pristine marine ecosystems; an ocean that connects all oceans. I'm excited to partner with Greenpeace and provide the science that will help determine areas which should be a priority for protection as countries work together to create the world's largest ocean sanctuary.”

The penguin sculptures were made by Wolfram Kampffmeyer of German-based 3D design company Paperwolf. (top picture: Hamburg credit Bente Stachowske)

London: credit Will Rose

Berlin: credit Bente Stachowske

Washington: credit Tim Eubry

Sydney: credit Zoe Jeanne Burrell