Africa: Rainbow Warrior En Route to Cape Town

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In February 1978 Greenpeace purchased a diesel-electric powered ship, the Sir William Hardy. After months of tweaking, fine tuning, and some overhaul work, she was renamed the Rainbow Warrior and went on to play a critical role in our work to stop environmental crimes around the world.

Fast forward to 2012, and I am onboard the third Rainbow Warrior as we prepare to arrive in the beautiful city of Cape Town. As I write this, the ship is sailing enitrely with wind power, gliding through the waves without a sound.

We are using over 1200 Square meters of sail to harness the wind: making sure we travel in the most environmentally friendly, economically friendly, and energy efficient way we can.

Working for Greenpeace in South Africa, I often hear people call the organisation just another one of those European outfits that happens to have an office in Africa; that Greenpeace is just a tourist in third world countries. But as I sail to South Africa, I realise how Greenpeace has become a truly global organisation that tackles environmental abuse on the ground, working closely with local communities - often, in fact, driven by those communities.

We know that climate change will affect both rich and poor countries, however the impacts will hit the poor hardest - those least responsible for driving and creating the problem in the first place. And in South Africa, some of the social challenges we face - like poverty and access to water and electricity - will be intensified by runaway climate change.

But climate change is not the only environmental challenge facing the continent. For instance, deforestation in the Congo Basin Rainforest is continuing at an alarming rate, and Africa's oceans are increasingly being plundered by foreign fishing fleets.

Facing these threats head-on, we must thank all of you for helping us to build the Rainbow Warrior, such an incredible tool in the fight to stop environmental crimes.

Your labours of love and support are held in the highest regard by all of us that are privileged enough to sail on the ship. You have built a beacon of hope for generations of activists to come.

We hope to see you at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town this weekend. Come meet the crew, find out about our work in Africa, and the history behind the Rainbow Warrior.

From the South Atlantic,

Nick Mokobane

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