Greenpeace treads on ancient Nazca lines site to urge renewable energy

Greenpeace treads on ancient Nazca lines site to urge renewable energy

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Peru officials expressed dismay after Greenpeace environmental activists trod on the ancient geoglyphs of Nazca in Peru, to place a huge message printed in removable cloth urging the world to use renewable energy. The non-profit organization has certainly gained the world-wide attention they were hoping for, but for the wrong reasons, their positive message stained by their irresponsible actions.

No one is allowed at the world-famous Nazca site without special authorization by Peruvian authorities, and without wearing special shoes to prevent damage on the fragile landscape, neither of which the activists did. The activists left footprints in the area surrounding a hummingbird figure at the site.

Scientists believe Nazca artists incised the lines in the surface of Peru’s coastal desert between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago, though the exact reason for this still remains a mystery. The lines, which measure up to 600 feet long, depict animals, plants, geometric shapes and fantastic figures. To create them, people scraped the rock surface and removed red pebbles underneath the surface.

The world-renowned Nazca lines

The world-renowned Nazca lines.

Peruvian officials said they intend to arrest the 20 Greenpeace activists. Peruvian deputy culture minister Luis Jaime Castillo said the government would try to prevent the activists responsible from leaving the country and pursue charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a felony that carries up to six years imprisonment, The Guardian reported .

Greenpeace’s action coincided with a UN meeting on climate change.

“The activists entered a ‘strictly prohibited’ area beside the figure of a hummingbird, the culture ministry said,” reports The Guardian . “They laid big yellow cloth letters reading: ‘Time for Change! The Future is Renewable.’ The message was intended for delegates from 190 countries at the UN climate talks being held in Lima.”

Castillo says he has no problem with Greenpeace’s message but protested the group’s methods, which he says endangered the precious U.N. World Heritage site.

“They are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years,” he told The Guardian . “And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognised of all.”

The Greenpeace Web site announced the action December 8: “Greenpeace activists from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Germany, Italy and Austria displayed the message, which can be viewed from the sky, to honour the Nazca people, whose ancient geoglyphs are one of the historic landmarks of Peru. It is believed that one of the reasons for the Nazca’s disappearance can be linked to massive regional climate change. Today, manmade climate change caused by the burning of oil, coal and gas is threatening our future.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Greenpeace spokeswoman Tina Loeffelbein said the activists took absolute care in protecting the Nazca lines. She said Greenpeace is investigating the action.

Parrot geoglyph at Nazca

Parrot geoglyph at Nazca. Source: BigStockPhotos

Despite a plethora of research on the amazing creations at Nazca, the purpose of the lines continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Some scientists believe they are linked to the heavens with some representing constellations in the night sky. However, research has found that there are just as many lines not related to constellations as those that are, meaning that this theory cannot provide a complete explanation. Other experts believe that the lines played a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals.

UNESCO succinctly conveyed the wonder of this ancient place when they said: “The Nazca lines and geoglyphs form a unique and magnificent artistic achievement that is unrivalled in its dimensions and diversity anywhere in the prehistoric world. This unique form of land use bears exceptional witness to the culture and beliefs of this region of pre-Hispanic South America.”

Featured image: Greenpeace message imprinted in the landscape at Nazca next to an ancient geoglyph ( Image source )

By Mark Miller

Comments

Roberto Peron's picture

No respect!  I hope they do arrest them and imprison them.  Outrageous!

The organization should be fined substantially and the perps brought back to clear out the ad as best as can be managed.

I remember they told a indigenous group, I think it was Inuit, they were bad for their traditional whale or porpoise hunts and followed this by then condemning them for allowing natural gas exploration. This annoyed the locals to the extent that they pretty much guaranteed there would be gas works where they didn't want them. 

Greenpeace does seem to have an impeccable aim for its own foot!

Roberto Peron's picture

Greenpeace has issued an apology stating that they are "deeply concerned about any offense" officials in Peru may have taken.  LOL really?  No!  What Greenpeace is REALLY concerned about is their activists going to a Peruvian prison and that's all.  Fact is they marred a very important archeological site.  Their tactics are deplorable!

 

mrtkpc's picture

Brainless people with "good intentions", such as these that think they have a right to demonstrate what they stand for with such careless and disrespectful actions belong in crackpot organizations like Greenpeace. Perhaps at their founding Greenpeace may have stood for something honorable, but now they have deteriorated into an environmental cult that seeks to harass any one interacting with nature in what they feel is a negative way. Longstanding traditions don't matter to them, (as GEOB mentioned with the Inuit, condemning them for tradional whale hunting. Newsflash!!! The whales are endangered not because of Inuit hunting, but because of greedy first-world countries killing them off at a rediculous rate for amongst other reasons, sport.) and personally I think the ones who participated in putting forth this message should suffer some time in Peruvian jail. Did they honestly think this was ok? 

I like to be careful when it comes to religion and politics when putting my mouth in gear but this is a good opportunity to test the collective waters of this site, which I have, by the way, become pretty fond of.

     I find Greenpeace to be on the whole quite disengenuous, and when I'm 4 fingers into a fifth of burbon at night I always come up with choice adjectives to desribe them, but this self centered and purile little stunt is an all new level of low in my book. The following snippet tells it best; these are the the ones who in the 80's and 90"s drove their stinky, smoking, smog monser VW microbuses to a demonstaration against the consumption of fossil fuel and then in all Pharisitic self rightious splendor, drove their spoiled little hippy a.....es back home, somehow coming to the conclusion that theirs does not smell. It makes me mad enough to wanna eat blubber and  stock up on cans of tuna safe dolphin.

     This in no way means I oppose a sensible and curative look at what we are doing with our enviornment.

 

Tsurugi's picture

Bravo, sir.

Though I in no way approve of damaging ancient monuments, it often amazes me how people can quietly accept years of corporate wholesale destruction of our environment -land, sea and sky- but when an organisation which successfully exposes the stinking secrets and lies of these corporations and governments makes a small mistake (and any organisation makes mistakes), then lots of pent up anger surfaces. Why not use your anger to act against the culprits who make the existence of Greenpeace necessary in the first place? Or are you on their payroll?

Why am I not the least bit surprised that somebody with your name would post something so entitled, willfully ignorant, and wantonly disrespectful?

Nothing excuses a "mistake" that mars an ancient site for posterity. Imagine such a sign painted onto one of the pyramids or other historic treasure. These are no place to commit vandalism, no matter the cause.

Tsurugi's picture

I think the problem here is one of perspective. Show me any "corporate wholesale destruction", and I will show you similar "destruction" wrought entirely by Nature, and on a much vaster scale.

This is not to say I support wanton destruction of environments by human organizations. What I am saying is that Nature itself is a huge grinding wheel of destruction and renewal.
How many extinction events have happened on this planet? Five? Six? Humans are blamed for causing several hundred species extinctions. We're way behind Nature on that one. 99% of all species that have ever existed on this planet are now extinct, thanks to Nature. This is perspective.

You think our usage of "fossil fuels" are damaging the natural environment? That's funny. Where do you think we get the fuels? What do you think made the fuels? Answers are, nature, and nature. And if you really buy the whole "fossil" fuel thing, what do you think nature made that fuel with? Answer: Living things she made dead. Entire ecosystems of them. Multiple times, all over the planet.
This is perspective.

You maybe think our mining activities, or our cities perhaps, are scarring the planet? There is glacial scarring on this planet of such immense size that when you're zoomed out enough to see them in their entirety, you can't find any cities or mines because they're too small to show up at that scale.
This is perspective.

Perhaps you think we are running out of resources, using them all up, overpopulating the planet? The continental crust is 40-60 miles thick. We mostly poke around in the first two miles of that. Ten at the most. We aren't using up all the resources; we've barely scratched the surface. And we cannot, by definition, be overpopulated, because if we were, we would be dying en-mass. Overpopulation is self-correcting that way. Besides, why worry about overpopulation when Nature comes 'round every so often and kills pretty much everything?
This is perspective.

The point of all this perspective is, stopping humans from doing stuff does not save anything, because Nature will destroy everything anyway. There is perhaps a slight chance that humans could learn to stop Nature from destroying everything, but not if we're too afraid to do anything, lest it be destructive.

I agree 100% with Tsurugi. Perspective is the compass we should be using . Which perspective you ask? The simple formula is to metaphorically step far enough back to see the largest picture possible without looseing sight of the details. No matter how far we evolve, even to the point of eradicating war and hunger, it will do us little good. Those who eat, will also be eaten.

Back in the early 80s, I joined that organization, thinking that it was a force for positive change. Then I saw how they were promoting their agenda and what sort of tactics they used to force people to comply and thought better of renewing my membership.

Now I know why I was right in doing that.

Activists are lightweight terrorists at the worst of times, and this action is one of those times. Some day they will desecrate some religious site and really put their feet in their mouths. But given that these criminals are probably in their 20s, any punishments that are given out will probably make them more arrogant and fanatical, not more remorseful or thoughtful. It's their lack of upbringing that makes them so.

Exactly: they were in my city centre a few years back. I couldn't help but notice how exasperated the student aged kids looked. They were unable to see that the universal rollicking they were administering by megaphone to passers by wasn't encouraging those people to sign the petition they had on the go!

This is really getting out of line with these schmucks from GP - get their asses and punish them and I suggest Peru ban GreenPeace from their country forever.

I seriously can't believe anybody would do this. I'm just beyond myself right now, and so unbelievably incensed.

I'm not surprised though. This is what their type do, no matter what group they're protesting with. Look at the ridiculousness these types pulled in Seattle during that one summit or in Pittsburgh (anarchist? Yeah okay, kid. Love to see you be an "anarchist" in the Badlands of North Philly), not to mention "Occupy".

This might be the most disrespectful thing done to these people since the end of the colonial era.

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