03 December 2013
30 cities for Arctic 30
On 18th September 2013, 28 activists from Greenpeace, one videographer and one photographer were arrested by the Russian authorities when they tried to peacefully climb the oil rig owned by the oil company Gazprom in the Arctic. They are charged disproportionately with Piracy and Hooliganism and may face a jail term of maximum seven years.
India participated on the Global Action Day on 16th November. 30 cities came together to call on the release of the 30 climate defenders. The support for Arctic 30 was incredible, from Chandrapur in Maharashtra to Imphal in Manipur. In north India, Ladakh came out in solidarity and we even had our neighbour Nepal participating in the event.
The message was loud and clear. Arresting the 28 Greenpeace activists and 2 freelancers is not acceptable. The Arctic and its protection is everyone's responsibility. India is geographically located away from the region, but that does not mean we don't act on it.
Arctic oil drilling is dangerous to our planet. Potential of an oil spill is simply too big a risk to take, it's a catastrophe which we are not ready to handle. Imagine contaminating the habitat of the unique wildlife in the Arctic because the damage of an oil spill cannot be undone.
Bollywood celebrities like John Abraham, Sonam Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Dia Mirza and Nandita Das, have come forward to spread awareness about the Arctic 30 and endorse the cause. Almost 100 civil society members and 30 prominent scientists from India also appealed to the Russian ambassador to free the Arctic 30.
'Greenpeace India is humbled by this show of solidarity by people from all walks of life and we appreciate the effort that Indians are putting into drawing attention towards the plight of the Arctic 30 in the prison. The oil drilling in the Arctic by companies like Gazprom is destroying the already fragile environment of the Arctic. Climate change will impact all of us and no country is immune to it. The Arctic 30 bravely protested against the threat of oil drilling in the region and are now bearing the consequences of peaceful confrontation. We must do all we can in our power to help in freeing the Arctic 30,' said Samit Aich, Executive Director, Greenpeace India.
The 32 participating cities were - Delhi, Goa, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Patna, Kochi, Thane, Jaipur, Chandrapur, Bhuwaneshwar, Gurgaon, Noida, Coimbatore, Trivandrum, Dehradun, Kotakpura, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Dharamsala, Leh, Mumbai, Raipur, Balasore, Faridabad, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Imphal, Cuttack and Kathmandu (Nepal).
The Arctic 30 are out on bail, but it is important to remember that it's not finished yet, and we need to continue with our efforts to get them back home. It is because of environmental heroes like them that we have a voice in the farthest and most fragile environment.
To view more images of the event in 30 cities, click here for the slideshow - http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Multimedia/Nationwide-Protest-in-30-Cities-for-the-Arctic-30/