Greenpeace Launches 'Unprecedented' Campaign to 'Save the Arctic'

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Common Dreams

Greenpeace Launches 'Unprecedented' Campaign to 'Save the Arctic'

by
Common Dreams staff

Greenpeace today announced a new international campaign -- what they call an "unprecedented bid" -- calling for a global sanctuary in the Arctic.

"At some time, in some place, we need to take a stand. I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic.”
-Sir Paul McCartney

The campaign -- backed by international celebrities, scientists and explores, business leaders and environmentalists -- is demanding that oil drilling and unsustainable fishing be banned in Arctic waters and comes as world leaders gather in Rio de Janeiro to discuss sustainable development at the Earth Summit and as the Shell oil company makes final preparations for offshore drilling in Alaska this summer.

“The Arctic is coming under assault and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it," said Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo. "A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region and the four million people who live there. And a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the pole would in a stroke stop the polluters colonizing the top of the world without infringing on the rights of Indigenous communities.”

The campaign was backed by an A-list of celebrities, including Paul McCartney, Robert Redford, Penelope Cruz, Ed Norton, and many others.

“The Arctic is one of the most beautiful and last untouched regions on our planet," said Sir Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, "but now it’s under threat. It seems madness that we are willing to go to the ends of the Earth to find the last drops of oil when our best scientific minds are telling us we need to get off fossil fuels to give our children a future. At some time, in some place, we need to take a stand. I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic.”

According to Greenpeace, the Save the Arctic campaign was launched today because the Arctic Circle is defined as the area of the globe which on the longest day - June 21st – experiences 24 hours of sunlight. On June 21st the sun never sets on the Arctic. Anybody in the world can add their name to the Arctic Scroll and have their name planted beneath the pole by visiting www.SaveTheArctic.org.

“The fight-back starts here, with the launch of this campaign,” said Naidoo. “We’re drawing a line in the ice and saying to the polluters, ‘You come no further.’ People ask me why I, as an African, care so deeply about the Arctic, but the answer is simple. The Arctic is the world’s refrigerator, it keeps us cool by reflecting the sun’s energy off its icy surface, but as the ice melts it’s accelerating global warming, threatening lives and livelihoods on every continent. Wherever we come from, the Arctic is our destiny.”

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Reuters: Celebrities back Greenpeace campaign to protect Arctic

An unprecedented amount of seismic mapping by companies such as Shell and Maersk Oil of Denmark will be undertaken off the coast of Greenland. Russian oil giant Gazprom is pushing into the offshore Arctic, and in the coming weeks Shell is expected to start drilling exploratory wells at two offshore sites in the Alaskan Arctic.

In an earlier effort to halt the drilling, Lawless scaled Shell's Arctic drilling rig in February and occupied it for 72 hours in New Zealand. She will be sentenced in September.

The new effort to mobilize the global public focuses on pushing for a UN resolution demanding a global sanctuary around the pole and a ban on oil drilling and unsustainable fishing in the wider Arctic.

Organizers hope that the star-studded initiators of the campaign – who include nine Oscar winners, ten Golden Globe winners and five Grammy Award winners – will help to attract a million other supporters from the wider public via an online petition.

Timed to coincide with the longest day on 21 June, when the Arctic is bathed in 24 hours of sunlight, the campaign will be launched worldwide with "polar bears" appearing in many capital cities.

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The Guardian: Greenpeace and A-list celebrities call for Arctic 'sanctuary'

An unprecedented amount of seismic mapping by companies such as Shell and Maersk Oil of Denmark will be undertaken off the coast of Greenland. Russian oil giant Gazprom is pushing into the offshore Arctic, and in the coming weeks Shell is expected to start drilling exploratory wells at two offshore sites in the Alaskan Arctic.

In an earlier effort to halt the drilling, Lawless scaled Shell's Arctic drilling rig in February and occupied it for 72 hours in New Zealand. She will be sentenced in September.

The new effort to mobilize the global public focuses on pushing for a UN resolution demanding a global sanctuary around the pole and a ban on oil drilling and unsustainable fishing in the wider Arctic.

Organizers hope that the star-studded initiators of the campaign – who include nine Oscar winners, ten Golden Globe winners and five Grammy Award winners – will help to attract a million other supporters from the wider public via an online petition.

Timed to coincide with the longest day on 21 June, when the Arctic is bathed in 24 hours of sunlight, the campaign will be launched worldwide with "polar bears" appearing in many capital cities.

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