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Greenpeace versus Gazprom in the Arctic Region

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Have you ever seen a boxing match? Usually every contact sport is a bloody one. Foreign affairs and diplomacy can be placed under the umbrella of contact sports. Every day we hear about huge geopolitical battles between corporations, governments, NGOs and individuals from all over the world. So, in the red corner we have Gazprom, a huge Russian state-owned corporation and in the blue corner we have Greenpeace. According to their website, Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

In order to understand the nature of this conflict we need to answer to the following question: why did Greenpeace decide to target Gazprom Prirazlomnaya oil platform? The Arctic region is very rich in natural resources. According to Ernst&Young, this region accounts for 20% of the undiscovered and recoverable oil and natural gas resources. According to a document from the United States Geological Survey in the entire region there are more than 90 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Prirazlomnaya oil platform is going to extract oil from the Arctic region. This is a harsh environment and an oil spill could be catastrophic for the entire area. In tropical and, generally speaking, in warmer waters, the impact of an oil spill is mitigated by small organisms which absorb the oil, but in the Arctic region this process is not possible. 24 years ago, there was an oil spill near Alaska known as Exxon Valdez accident. Even today the environment is still damaged by that terrible moment.

Greenpeace arctic ocean

Image by: Bert Kommerij

Greenpeace decided to target the oil platform because the risks are too high for the environment. The Prirazlomnaya oil field contains 70 million tons of oil reserves and the production per year is estimated around 6.6 million tons. The Prirazlomnaya oil platform is a massive facility and according Gazprom it can resist even a torpedo strike.

On 18th September, the Arctic Sunrise (one of Greenpeace ships) was involved in a protest at Gazprom’s oil platform which is the first to produce oil from ice filled Arctic seas. There were 28 activists and one freelance videographer and one freelance photographer involved in this protest. They were detained by the FSB (Russian Federal Service) and charged with piracy. From the international criminal law perspective and even from the Russian penal code the Russian coast guard was not entitled to board the Arctic Sunrise in international waters. One week later, Vladimir Putin says that ”Greenpeace activists are not obviously pirates.”

On 27th September a Russian court ordered that 22 activists will be held in custody for 3 months and the rest of them for 3 days and after that, the Russian court decided to held in custody the entire crew for a longer period of time. All of them were officially charged with piracy at the beginning of October. They face a maximum 15 year prison sentence.

Thousands of people from 48 countries engaged in a huge solidarity movement called Free The Arctic 30. More than 1 million of support letters were sent to Russian embassies around the world. Governments and teachers reacted and condemned the behavior and the unsubstantiated allegations of piracy. Recently, the Russian committee investigating the Arctic Sunrise and the activists said that they discovered narcotic substances, like morphine, among the confiscated items from the Arctic Sunrise. Now the allegations can be modified.(Russia Today) Serghei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister said that third parties should not interfere between Russia and Greenpeace. This is a not a reasonable request because there are 18 nationalities among the 30 activists.

The control over the Arctic waters is very important for Russia. Arctic territory is and will be disputed by Canada, Russia, Greenland and the US, but we must have in mind that this area is very rich in natural resources. Russia reopened an old military base and 30 ships were deployed around the region including a nuclear cruiser. At the end of the day we can say that the confrontation between Greenpeace and Russia is another geopolitical battle for the future, for the control of the Arctic waters and land. The judicial system in Russia has a bad reputation and there are many examples from the past: the protest group Pussy Riot or the fallen oligarch Khodorkovsky. Artur Akopov a senior official from Gazprom said that the actions of the Arctic Sunrise crew could have threatened the environment and the oil platform – the same oil platform that can withstand a torpedo strike.

One can’t help but wonder how this confrontation will end and which instruments can be used to put some pressure on the Russian government or even on Gazprom in order not to over-step their boundaries. And is it right for a Russian court decide the fate of the activists by itself? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Environment

Saving the Planet? It Is a Local Issue

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When we get caught up in common environmental issues, we start to think that it’s a bigger problem, that is down to centralised areas and big cities. And while urban areas are expanding, the route to sustainability as a solution comes from an approach beyond urbanism. Because urban areas bear the brunt because they have more CO2 emissions and larger carbon footprints, the thing to note in this respect that saving the planet is not necessarily a large-scale issue. In fact, it is a local issue. 

teamwork motivation

The largest cities require urban developments, and this is a part of modern life. But when we go back to the 1990s, when sustainable city initiatives began emerging, we can see where the argument for the compact city began. This can have a positive impact on sustainability in a variety of ways but also improves greenhouse gas emissions. But this is where smaller communities can become invaluable. 

Smaller communities have more power in many respects. From the perspective of local councils, it can be easier to incorporate an initiative that benefits the community, rather than having to go all the way to Westminster. Now, it can be easier to sign up for a local initiative, such as a solar community, rather than having to get permission from a higher power. And from the perspective of a community, it is far more controllable.

Saving the planet in an urban sense is about changing the infrastructure, which can take years, if not decades. However, smaller communities are able to utilise the location for the benefit of their immediate surroundings. This is something very important to note. Whenever you want to make a significant impact, be it in charity, or in the environment, it starts at home. As saving the planet is a local issue in this respect, it’s far easier to communicate the message. Smaller communities are in close contact. This means the message is easily spread. Throw into the mix community meetings, and how businesses look to develop on local issues, rather than spearheading initiatives overseas or in big cities, and it provides a tactical methodology to help on a small scale. 

When you combine this with the fact that smaller organisations such as schools, naturally have a lower carbon footprint, this is the perfect opportunity to teach the younger generations how they can positively impact the world. Saving the planet is a local issue. We have to remember that if we are to make any impact, we have to look after our own. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t rely on large organisations or big cities to do the job, but if you want to do something right, do it yourself. 

Saving the planet is something that we can control from our own home. From the practices that we preach to the examples we set, saving the planet is about keeping it close to home before you start to spread yourself far and wide. If every small town started to look after its own carbon emissions, this would pay for the country, and the world, several times over.

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Integrating Waste Management To Improve Business Productivity

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Recently, governments have increased their incentives on business to employ environmentally friendly methods in their production lines. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that businesses are working round the clock to ensure that they adhere to the regulations.

Business waste management requires a collective effort from all the stakeholders. The employees and customers need to be sensitized on the importance of environmentally friendly practices to boost their eco-performance. 

Reduce Wastage

Production in business usually has many wastes ranging from energy wastage, residues, or solid wastes. You need to assess your production plan from purchasing, production, documentation, and packaging. Once you have assessed, identify the key areas that you can work on to minimize usage and wastage.

Packaging

It would be best if you considered using biodegradable packaging materials that will reduce paper wastage. There are packaging materials that you can use that will help you cut on paper and plastic wastage. You can also choose to bulk purchase of materials needed to reduce the amount of packaging paper you will have.

Electrical Systems

In the past, electrical wires were manufactured using cloth wires to enhance insulation, longevity, and safety in the workplace. You easily damage the wires during daily production activities, and its disposal could create large volumes of unnecessary plastics. 

Though you can recycle these wastes, the costs incurred compared to the systems’ service is a loss to the business. However, this industrial practice has been discontinued and restructured to alternative uses due to technological advancements.

Energy Sources

Using Renewable Energy Sources also plays a significant role in reducing energy wastage. There will be fewer emissions into the environment, and you will also reduce the energy costs you use. The employees need to be sensitized on efficient energy management practices like switching off machines and lights that are not in use, proper usage of specific equipment, and immediate repair and service of machines once they break down.

Building and Construction

Contractors involved in building and construction have included energy and environmental management in their practice. Several businesses have taken the liberty to redesign the buildings to use efficient energy sources and recycled materials. This development is a step in the right direction of environmental management.

Solid Wastes 

The wastes in the business need to be properly disposed of to observe hygiene and cleanliness. Poor garbage disposal techniques will endanger the health of the employees and the immediate community.

It would help if you employed recycling techniques like water treatment plants in the industry to reduce the toxicity of the waste. The types of strainers, baskets, and traps used in the water treatment plant play a significant role in the quality of the process equipment.

To ascertain the water treatment plant’s quality, you need to take a keen interest in the types of weaving employed in its manufacture. Be sure to investigate if the weaving matches your purpose of the plant and your content of waste. 

Waste management is a gradual process that has its profitable returns. It helps you to cut down on some costs and increases productivity. 

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How To Save Water At Work

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When you’re at home, you know how to save water and do better for your house. Living in a green way is easy at home, but what about at work? When you are not the owner of a business premises, it’s not always easy to be green. However, there are things that you can do as a business that will ensure that you are analyzing your water efficiency and you can then reduce the water use in your workplace.

Below, we’ve put together some of the best ways that you can conserve water in your workplace. You can continue your green efforts in the workplace this way!

Get Your Management Team On Your Side

If you are planning to start water conservation efforts at work, you need the rest of your management team on your side. They need to be happy to work with you and ensure that your water conservation efforts are successful. If you’re working as one team, you’re far more likely to save the planet a little aggravation and you can successfully prevent flooding, too.

Research 

You need to know the best ways to conserve water, and we’re willing to bet that you haven’t looked at whether you can get permission from your landlord about installing water tanks from  watertankfactory.com.au/water-tanks-dalby/. You need to research what you can and cannot do in terms of saving water in any way possible. 

Put Together A List

You need to know why you are saving water and what it will be for. Filtering rainwater for free, drinkable water in the office is a genius way to keep employees cool. You can also use it for the external garden of your business, as a way to flush the toilets and you can also use it to clean the floors. 

Know How You Already Use Your Water

How does your business consume water? Where is it mostly used through the working week? If you can ensure that you are using your water properly, you will be able to encourage your staff to do the same thing. Conservation only works when everyone is on board!

Bring In The Experts

Do you have leaky faucets? Are you dealing with pipes that are broken or cracked in any way? Any of these things can cause your water payments to shoot right up. Bringing in the experts to assess your current water systems and evaluate your pipework is the best way to ensure that you are saving water. You can stop the waste when you have someone in to assess what you are dealing with.

Save It

By buying rainwater tanks and saving the rainfall, you can use less of the water from the faucets and the pipes in the building. You can add a good filtration system and this will help you to get rid of the nasties in the water and reduce the contaminants that you could be facing.

Water conservation is not just for your house. And now you know how to get it right!

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