The North Pole. 2.7 million names. One flag. One Arctic.

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Feature Story - 15 April, 2013
Our four young explorers on a mission with Greenpeace have planted a flag on the seabed beneath the North Pole, at the same spot where a submarine planted a Russian flag claiming the Arctic for Moscow.

After a gruelling week-long trek across the frozen Arctic Ocean, over giant pressure ridges and around icy pools of open water, we planted our ‘flag for the future’ four kilometres beneath the ice at the top of the world and called for the region to be declared a global sanctuary.

The flag is attached to a glass and titanium time capsule containing the names of 2.7 million people who joined the campaign to Save the Arctic. We came to the Pole to demonstrate that this special area of the Arctic belongs to no person and no nation, that it is the common heritage of everyone on Earth.

As global warming melts the sea ice, companies such as Shell and Gazprom are moving in to exploit the region's oil.

We stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples across the Arctic whose way of life is threatened by the unchecked greed of industry. We're asking that the area around the Pole be made off-limits to oil companies, industrial fisheries and the claims of governments.

Here are a few snapshots from their incredible journey:

En route to the North Pole. Actor Ezra Miller, an Arctic ambassador with Team Aurora, keeps pace on the a trek with Greenpeace.

Here, things are getting very difficult for Team Aurora. Not only are conditions in the Arctic naturally harsh, but now they're facing a terrible southward ice drift. Wind and currents are driving the ice floes south as the team tries to move north. Even as they brave pressure ridges, blisters and frozen fingers to battle across the ice and no matter how hard they ski, they've found themselves right back where they started.

Renny Bijoux, from the Seychelles, an Arctic ambassador with Team Aurora.

En-route to the North Pole. Martin Norman, Greenpeace logistics, keeps pace on the trek with Greenpeace.

After seven days trekking through the Arctic, Team Aurora makes it to the North Pole.  Here, flags for the future decorate the ice at the North Pole.

Team Aurora, our four young explorers, Josefina, Renny, Ezra and Kiera, lower the time capsule into the icy waters of the Arctic.

The time capsule is lowered into the icy waters at the North Pole. A flag for the future is attached to the glass and titanium time capsule containing 2.7 million names of supporters who wish to protect the Arctic. The following words are enscribed on the capsule: 

"Placed at the North Pole 2013. If found please return to Greenpeace, a University or place of learning." 

Mission complete! Our Movement has reached the North Pole! Renny Bijoux from the Seychelles, an Arctic ambassador with the North Pole expedition team waves the Save the Arctic flag at the North Pole.