Greenpeace protesters have damaged a site around the sacred Nazca Lines in Peru according to the Peruvian government.
In an attempt to call attention to the issue of climate change, Greenpeace activists trespassed on an area near an ancient hummingbird carved in the ground more than 1,500 years ago. The Greenpeace members laid out a giant banner next to the Nazca Lines that read, “Time for change! The future is renewable. Greenpeace.” The activists were hoping to increase pressure on UN negotiators meeting in Lima, but the primary result of their stunt was the ire of Peruvian officials, who now say they will prosecute and sue the participants in the protest.
The Nazca Lines in Peru are immense depictions of animals, including a monkey and a hummingbird that are etched into the arid ground in Southern Peru. The lines represent a vital part of the country’s heritage. Visits to the Nazca Lines, which can only be realized fully from the air – something that makes them special since they were created between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago – are supervised extremely closely. Visiting ministers and presidents have to get special permission and receive special footwear to venture anywhere near the area where the Nazca lines are cut into the ground according to the BBC.
The Greenpeace members that tread on the sacred ground earlier this week had no such permission. Twenty Greenpeace members from seven counties trespassed into the area and unfurled an immense banner very close to the hummingbird Nazca Lines.
One of the activists, Mauro Fernandez, explained what the Greenpeace members were trying to accomplish.
“With our message from the Nazca lines, we expect politicians to understand the legacy we need to leave for future generations. It is not a legacy of climate crisis.”
According to Peruvian authorities, however, all the Greenpeace activists did was damage the Nazca Lines site. The government there say that the Greenpeace members left footprints all over the area. They are currently seeking out the violators for prosecution which could land the Greenpeace protestors in prison for years.
Deputy Culture Minister Luis Jaime Castillo was furious when he spoke to reporters.
“It’s a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred.”
The Greenpeace organization quickly issued an apology, saying that they are deeply concerned about any “moral offense” they caused to the Peruvian people. Greenpeace issued a statement saying that they intended to draw attention to climate change on the environment without affecting that same environment.
“Without reservation Greenpeace apologizes to the people of Peru for the offence caused… We are deeply sorry for this. We fully understand that this looks bad. Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass. We have now met with the Peruvian culture ministry responsible for the site to offer an apology. We welcome any independent review of the consequences of our activity. We will co-operate fully with any investigation.”
Furthermore, the statement went on to read that Greenpeace is willing to face “fair and reasonable consequences” for its actions. Whether or not that means they are willing to face the Peruvian punishment for breaking the country’s laws, or are intending to “negotiate a settlement” is currently unclear.
— Nick Grealy (@ShaleGasExpert) December 11, 2014
— Olivier Fehr (@ofehr_en) December 11, 2014
Further proof that Greenpeace couldn’t care less about our natural environment. http://t.co/mbaYy9L4tM
— A Man out of time (@DVATW) December 11, 2014
Our apology to the people of Peru http://t.co/w8ccVgEnEr We take personal responsibility for actions, willing to face consequences
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) December 10, 2014
What do you think? Did Greenpeace go too far in their protest of climate change, or is the subject of climate change worth getting a few footprints in the area of the Nazca Lines? Sound off in the comments section below.