Greenpeace Stunt Infuriates Peru

Group placed giant message near sacred Nazca Lines

Dec 12, 2014
Outside Magazine
peru greenpeace nazca lines

The Peruvian government says Greenpeace likely damaged the site permanently.    Wikimedia Commons

Greenpeace has infuriated the Peruvian government by creating a large message near the Nazca Lines, one of the oldest and least understood antiquities in Peru.

The Nazca lines are thousands-year-old large-scale drawings of plants and animals that were etched into to the desert and are only visible from above. The environmental organization used large yellow cloth letters to write “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable” below one of the most famous drawings, of a hummingbird. They selected the site, about 280 miles south of the Peruvian capitol of Lima, because Lima was the site of this week’s United Nations Climate Change conference.

According to the Associated Press, Peruvian officials are looking to prevent the activists from leaving the country while the government file charges and against them for permanently damaging the fragile site.

Greenpeace has publicly apologized for the stunt. “We fully understand that this looks bad,” the group said in a statement. “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.” Greenpeace also stated that it would cooperate in any investigation.

The Nazca Lines have suffered damage at the hands of many groups, including the Peruvian government itself. Officials built the Pan American Highway directly through the lines, carving an alligator right in half. They plan to expand the road in the next few years. In 2012, the Dakar Rally trampled right over the lines. And according to the World Monuments Fund, displaced communities have been making their homes over parts of the site.

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