Greenpeace had to offer two separate apologies this week as the organization whose mission is a more renewable future – might have permanently damaged some of the most-sacred ground in Peru. Roughly 20 activists spread over the site of the Nazca lines and dropped down massive yellow lettering that read “Time for Change: The Future is Renewable.” The activists spread over the site on the cusp of the Lima Climate Change Conference, which is being held by the United Nations.
While Greenpeace said on their website that the purpose of the message was “to honor 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.” However, the move was taken as anything but a show of respect.
Those who want to go to the site must seek permission and wear special shoes that ensure the markings cannot be damaged or crushed. The Peruvian Government was very precise in their response to the move by activists. Deputy Culture Minister Luis Jaime Castillo called it “a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred.”
The area that the activists entered was one that was clearly marked as “strictly prohibited.” It was the region close to the hummingbird that is considered some of the most sacred ground on the entire property. Castillo went on to point out that “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. And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all.”
Even worse is that these activists could be facing significant jail time. The Peruvian government has full-intent of opening a criminal investigation which could lead to charges being formally brought to those who participated. In Peru attacking, an archeological monument carries a prison sentence of 6 years.
However, Greenpeace offered their second apology later in the week noting that they were “deeply sorry” and called the demonstration “careless and crass.” At this point though, it remains unclear whether charges will be brought to those individuals who participated and if they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.