Hollywood actors, business leaders, polar explorers and rock stars, including Canadian Bryan Adams, have joined with Greenpeace today to launch a bid for a global sanctuary in the Arctic. The campaign to "Save the Arctic" is demanding that oil drilling and unsustainable fishing be banned in Arctic waters.
Sir Paul McCartney, Thom Yorke, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, Javier Bardem and Sir Richard Branson are among the luminaries demanding that the uninhabited area around the North Pole be protected by the UN and made off-limits to polluters.
Theirs are among the first one hundred names to be written on an "Arctic Scroll" Greenpeace intends to plant on the seabed at the North Pole. The spot will be marked by a "Flag for the Future" designed by youth from various countries, Greenpeace announced via news conference at the Rio Earth Summit.
“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, as the campaign launch was being marked in Canada by people in polar bear costumes in Niagara Falls and Montreal's Olympic Stadium.
Right now, the huge expanse around the North Pole is defined under international law as high seas territory. But as temperatures rise and the ice melts, Arctic states like Canada are making territorial claims on the seabed so they can open the door to oil companies. Arctic sea ice has retreated dramatically in recent years and scientists say the North Pole could soon be ice free during the summer time
“Today's launch is the next chapter in Greenpeace’s campaign to protect the Arctic from the impacts of climate change,’’ said Yossi Cadan, campaigns director at Greenpeace Canada. ‘’The battle to protect the climate is one of the defining environmental struggles of our age and it’s one we have to win.”
The focus of Greenpeace's international campaign will initially be focused on pushing for a UN resolution demanding a global sanctuary and a ban on oil drilling and unsustainable fishing in the Arctic.
Shell is due to begin exploratory drilling at two offshore sites in the Alaskan Arctic in the coming weeks. If Shell is successful this summer, an Arctic oil rush is expected and the push to carve up the region will accelerate. The Canadian government has already announced a massive auction of Arctic oil drilling leases in the Beaufort Sea, clearing the way for energy companies to obtain exploration rights.
People around the world can show their support to Save the Arctic by adding their name to the Arctic Scroll at www.SaveTheArctic.org.