A Russian Coast guard officer approaches a Greenpeace activist. This is one example of the disproportionate use of force by the Russian authorities during a peaceful protest.
My wife is in her last week of pregnancy. The baby is due any moment now. I am nervous, worried and have been thinking of many different things. My mind should be completely focussed about this big day in my life. But there is one thing that has been disturbing me a lot which might have nothing or everything to do with my baby.
One of the things that I can't stop thinking about is the fate of the 30 activists who were on board Greenpeace's ship, the Arctic Sunrise protesting oil drilling in the Arctic on September 18.
They were arrested by the Russian authorities and will possibly face piracy charges, which could have them spend 15 years in jail. It is difficult to believe that a group of activists who have been worried about the state of the planet and who took action through a nonviolent protest are treated with such severity. Fifteen years is a long time for a person to spend in jail, especially so when they have committed no crime at all! If I put myself in their shoes, I can see my life go past me. My unborn child will be a teenager and living in a world full of corruption and tyranny by the powerful if things don't change now for the better.
I can't help but compare the recent events that involved Russia trying everything they could to stop countries from a war with Syria by arming the rebels. On the other hand, now the Russian government has threatened peaceful activists by using unnecessary force for bearing witness to the oil drilling that possesses a serious threat to the Arctic region.
Five Greenpeace International activists attempted to climb the the oil platform operated by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom.
I believe these 30 activists are individuals who don't just represent a country, but also the planet as a whole. Rather than remaining silent on their plight for their bravery and their act of confronting climate crimes committed by big oil companies like Gazprom, the world must send their support and lend them a collective voice that stands against climate change and its agents.
The oil companies are in a mad rush to drill the remaining oil they might find in the Arctic. The implications of this on climate change and the people living in the region are completely ignored by these oil barons who have the support of corrupt politicians and public servants.
I don't want my child to ask me questions like, "Dad, what did the Arctic look like before all the ice melted?" or "What happened to the people who lived there?" I just hope that when I become a father, I will be able to welcome the baby with the happy news that the 30 activists who bore witness to a climate crime are free and there are people like them who are doing everything they can to make sure that you grow up in a beautiful world.
To show your support for the activists and the Arctic, do give a missed call at 080-00848070.
Sachin Singh is Mobiles Campaign Manager with Greenpeace India.