Something incredible happened yesterday.
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 Ocean, over giant pressure ridges and around icy pools of open water, we planted our ‘flag for the future’ 4km beneath the ice at the top of the world and called for the region to be declared a global sanctuary. We ran into some technical difficulties on the first go, and had to try again before lowering the pod by hand. But not before filming some beautiful shots of the pod in the icy waters.
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 say 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 nation states.
Before lowering the pod, the four ambassadors held a ceremony at the top of the world, offering their wishes for the future, their dreams for a different tomorrow. Here’s what they said:
Renny: Young people like us are living in a world that has been shaped by others. We deserve a chance to set a different course. I come from the Seychelles, a beautiful island which could disappear under rising seas. The melting of the Arctic matters to my people, and billions more.
Josefina: Yet the world’s most powerful companies and governments are not trying to slow this melting. Instead they want to exploit the place where we stand today.
Kiera: We wish to create a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the North Pole and keep destructive industry out of the Arctic.
Ezra: We imagine a new politics that respects the next seven generations ahead and understands the connections between all things.
Kiera: We see a world where the rights and culture of Indigenous Peoples are honoured and respected.
Sol: We see a new economy that understands the value of life and puts people and the planet before profit.
Renny: We ask our leaders to recognize that climate change is upon us and to work together to fight it, for of us and for our children.
Ezra: By creating a sanctuary we will take a symbolic first step towards redefining our relationship with Mother Earth.
Josefina: We offer these words with respect for those who came before us, and hope for those yet to be born.