Oprah, protect the people & places we love
Dear Ms. Winfrey,
Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our world. As one of the most influential social change agents in the world, I sincerely applaud your efforts to address global warming and a range of other critical issues. More than ever before, real solutions need to come from prominent leaders outside of the government such as yourself.
In February, O, The Oprah Magazine announced a two-year partnership with Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. This partnership, called O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life, opens with a cruise in July to environmentally fragile areas in Alaska, including Glacier Bay National Park.
Many people are unaware that cruises and the shipping industry are one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. In 2015 alone, Carnival ships produced the equivalent of over 22.8 billion pounds of C02. Furthermore, on average, each Carnival passenger produced almost 2111 pounds of CO2 per trip in 2015.
This is largely because the shipping and cruise industry rely on Heavy Fuel Oil, the dirtiest fuel on earth.
- Exhaust from burning Heavy Fuel Oil causes cancer and other cardiovascular diseases and it is responsible for the premature deaths of tens of thousands of people every year.
- Heavy Fuel Oil spills are 50 times more toxic to fish than other oil spills.
- Burning Heavy Fuel Oil produces Black Carbon, the second largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. Almost 50% of the warming within the Arctic is attributed to Black Carbon.
Although Carnival’s leadership has started to mitigate the negative impact of its operations, the company must take stronger steps to fully address the harm to the environment and human health created by its ships.
Tragically, global warming will likely have severe impacts on the local communities and pristine natural wonders where Carnival ships operate, including Alaska. Glacier Bay National Park, your northernmost destination on Holland America, is not immune to the effects of climate change. Field measurements and repeat photography show that the giant Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park lost 640 meters to melting between 1948 and 2000.
As you prepare to embark on an adventure to see Alaska, I hope you will encourage Carnival to adopt the goals put forward by Stand.earth regarding the environmental impact of its global fleet.