Cover Story: Harbinger of change

This article first appeared in Options, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 18, 2018 - June 24, 2018.
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Anchored in Port Klang recently to raise awareness on plastic use and pollution was Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior. The campaign ship of the non-governmental organisation was on a five-month tour around the region, conducting forums and engaging with local stakeholders. Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Yeb Saño speaks to Petrina Fernandez about his career in environmental activism and the need for urgent action.

A male pilot whale was found struggling to breathe in the waters off south Thailand recently. For five days, rescuers kept him afloat with buoys as veterinarians sheltered his exposed skin from the sun with umbrellas while fighting to save him. The small mammal threw up five plastic bags during the period before dying.

The very next morning, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior arrived in Malaysia in time for World Environment Day.

A North American Cree Indian prophecy, “When the world is sick and dying, people will rise up like warriors of the rainbow”, gave Greenpeace’s renowned campaign vessel its name. The first Rainbow Warrior started life in 1955 as Sir William Hardy — it was the UK’s first diesel electric ship and was used as a fishery research trawler by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. It was later used to protest against whaling, seal hunting, nuclear testing and nuclear waste dumping activities while the flags of Greenpeace and the United Nations fluttered proudly above the bustle.


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