Our Top 7 of 2018
Here are seven accomplishments I’m especially proud of this year. They would not have been possible without your generosity and passion.
We won strong international protections for Arctic and Alaskan communities and wildlife. New rules now require ships to avoid fragile marine ecosystems around three islands in the Bering Sea (Nunivak Island, St. Lawrence Island, and King Island)—reducing the threat of oil spills and collisions with subsistence hunters and wildlife. Thousands of bowhead and beluga whales, hundreds of thousands of walruses, one million seals, and millions of seabirds migrate through the Bering Strait every year.
We launched grassroots campaigns in China and Vietnam to curb the flow of plastic trash into our oceans. Together with local partners, we are conducting waste audits to identify the international brands creating the greatest amount of plastic waste, so we can hold them accountable. We complement this advocacy work with local, grassroots projects to develop tailored solutions that will help communities become zero waste leaders.
At the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, our Cost of Coal film festival gave a voice to people in Siberia, India, Appalachia, and Oakland who are mobilizing Indigenous and local communities to fight coal companies that are stealing land, polluting the air we breathe, and worsening climate change.
We started building an international campaign to push corporations and politicians to take immediate action to reduce carbon pollution from ships. The shipping industry is one of world’s worst climate polluters. And the Paris Climate Agreement will succeed only if shipping reduces carbon emissions immediately and radically—if not, shipping will sink the agreement’s ambitious goal to keep global warming from increasing temperatures more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
We helped Chinese partners intensify and expand the scope of their watchdog and whistleblowing activities to clean up record numbers of dangerous pollution in local communities. Together with tens of thousands of volunteers in river-watcher networks, our partners feed pollution information to the media to pressure local governments and businesses to clean up their act. Our partners are also increasing their use of sophisticated legal tactics to seek justice in China’s courts for people harmed by pollution. And they are mobilizing citizens to participate in local development decisions to minimize harm from new projects to people and the environment.
We protected walrus, whales, seals, polar bears, and other wildlife from the severe harm posed by catastrophic oil spills in Arctic seas. Our hard-hitting advocacy at the United Nations agency responsible for maritime laws convinced the international community to develop new rules that will ships burning or transporting dangerous heavy fuel oil out of the Arctic.
We fought against the Trump administration’s reckless attempts to open America’s oceans to new oil and gas drilling. We participated in local campaigns and online mobilizations, and we continued our decades-long fight against oil drilling in Arctic and Alaskan waters.
We’re truly grateful for your activism and support—we and our partners on the frontlines couldn’t have been this effective without you. But we need your help to keep us in fighting shape for 2019.