In August, Greenpeace posed a challenge to our supporters across Canada. We asked them to step up to our Arctic Ambassador Petition Competition, becoming campaigners for the Arctic and growing our movement in their own networks and neighborhoods by collecting signatures for our Save the Arctic petition. Over 200 ordinary people signed up to become Arctic Ambassadors and achieved extraordinary success. By getting their friends, family, neighbours, coworkers and/or classmates engaged with the campaign, 2500+ new supporters have joined our movement to Save the Arctic, demanding Prime Minister Harper put his oil agenda aside and protect the Arctic from oil spills.
Greenpeace wants to offer huge thanks to these spectacular volunteers for their work and accomplishments. From Trois-Rivières (Quebec), Chilliwack (British Columbia), Williamsburg (Ontario), Northwest River (Newfoundland and Labrador), Airdrie (Alberta), Brandon (Manitoba), St. John’s (Newfoundland), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), and so many other communities – Arctic Ambassadors campaigned from where they were and took the Save the Arctic message further than we thought possible.
In particular, we would like to highlight the tremendous work of Sheena Tolland from Orillia, Ontario who gathered the most sign-ons for our petition. As I write, Sheena is aboard our ship the Rainbow Warrior III in Vancouver, continuing her work as an Arctic Ambassador. A spotlight on Sheena and reflections on her experience are soon to come.
Although we have accomplished so much, now more than ever we need Arctic Ambassadors to continue to defend the Arctic and the activists who campaign to protect it around the world. As you may have heard, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has been illegally boarded in international waters and is being held in Murmansk, Russia. Thirty individuals – 28 crew, a freelance videographer and a freelance photographer - are now being held behind bars in Russia for their involvement in a peaceful protest against Gazprom’s dangerous oil drilling. This includes two Canadian crew members, Paul Ruzycki from Port Colbourne, Ontario and Alexandre Paul from Montreal, Quebec. All of the “Arctic 30” have been refused bail, and have been charged with piracy, an absurd accusation that carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence.
At this time, we’re asking all Arctic Ambassadors old and new to take action below and be on alert for future calls to support the Arctic 30 and defend the Arctic.
How you can help now:
You can also tune into live updates and news about the Arctic 30 here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
Natalie Caine is an Arctic defender based in Toronto who has been a Greenpeace volunteer, volunteer organizer and is currently working with the Arctic campaign.