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Shell abandons drilling in the Arctic – but the fight against fossil fuels continues

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Shell have abandoned their plans to drill in the Arctic following “disappointing” results and have no plans to return “for the foreseeable future”.

The decision follows months of campaigning by conservation groups and activists such as Greenpeace against the oil giant’s plans to drill in the area.

It also follows a tweet made by US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who took to Twitter to say “the Arctic is a unique treasure,” and “given what we know now, it’s not worth the risk of drilling.”

It’s thought that pulling out of the Arctic will cost the Shell £2.6bn – and that’s on top of the £5bn they have already spent on the project.

Following the news, Greenpeace had this to say: “Shell had a budget of billions, but we had a movement of millions. People all around the world took action against Arctic drilling. So, whether you spread the news in your own community, petitioned President Obama, took to the water in kayaks or canoes, or rappelled from bridges, today you’ve made history — and today we should celebrate.

“While this is a victory for everyone who hoped to avoid a catastrophic spill — or catastrophic climate change — from Shell’s plans, it’s also proof positive that drilling in the Arctic is too costly to be effective and a bad bet for other energy companies. It’s time to start making the shift to renewable energy instead of pursuing extreme fossil fuels.

“We’ve proven to Shell we mean business and we’re not letting up to declare Arctic oil off-limits for drilling, and keep federal coal and other fossil fuels in the ground. We will continue with passion and increased strength as the fight for climate change continues.”

Greenpeace say that President Obama still needs to commit to keeping fossil fuels in the ground, a move that will ultimately secure his climate legacy.

However, the US Department of Interior recently announced that 10.2 billion tons of coal on federal lands would likely be available for sale – all with the President’s approval.

You can ask President Obama to declare Arctic oil off-limits for drilling, and keep federal coal and other fossil fuels in the ground, by signing Greenpeace’s petition here.

 

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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