Flag for the future Arctic competition winner chosen by Vivienne Westwood

Press release - 15 March, 2013
London, 15 March 2013 — Dame Vivienne Westwood, the world renowned fashion designer, has selected the winning flag design that will be planted on the seabed at the North Pole next month, closing the global competition run by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Greenpeace as part of Greenpeace’s campaign to Save the Arctic.

The contest inspired youth from around the world to create a flag that would symbolise peace, hope and global community, as a statement of the commitment of millions of people who have signed a petition to protect the Arctic from oil drilling and overfishing. The contest ran for three months and inspired designs from young people from 54 countries.

The winning design was submitted by Sarah Bartrisyia, a 13-year-old Girl Guide from Malaysia, whose winning entry featured seven brightly coloured doves and an Arctic starflower. The seven doves, she said, represented each of the seven continents; each carrying an olive branch which when brought together formed a laurel wreath, a symbol of Arctic protection

Sarah’s winning design will be produced as a titanium flag to be planted at the North Pole, four kilometres beneath the ice, and put on the seabed in a time capsule containing the signatures of millions of Arctic defenders. At the moment, no single country owns the international waters around the North Pole, but as climate change causes the sea ice to melt, countries and companies are moving in to exploit the resources including oil and fish in the Arctic Ocean.

"The creativity of young people is one of the most powerful tools we have to build a better world. The winning flag for the future is a fantastic representation of peace, hope and global community, and I am proud that it’s on the way to the North Pole,” said Dame Westwood.

The judging panel also included two Canadian Northern Indigenous artists, Hilary Tam (Chinese/Canadian tv presenter), and 15-year-old Aishah Morshed, a Girl Guide from Ireland. [1] Aishah is passionate about the environment, which she learns about through guiding, school and from regular visits to see family in Bangladesh where she has witnessed the impacts of climate change firsthand.

“I am delighted to represent Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world and hope that this competition inspires more young people to take action to tackle climate change and to safeguard the Arctic region for future generations,” Aishah said. “I can’t bear to think of an Arctic without icebergs and polar bears; even though the North Pole is far from where I live, I feel a personal sense of responsibility to protect it, which I hope others will share and join the campaign to Save the Arctic.”

The Arctic is one of the last pristine places on earth, home to more than four million people as well as unique animals found nowhere else on the planet. Greenpeace is working with youth organisations like the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to ensure that this precious region is protected for generations to come.


For more information including photo/video, please contact:

Jessica Wilson, Greenpeace International Arctic communications, +44 7896 893118
Greenpeace International Media Hotline, +31 20718 2470

Notes to editors:

[1] For more information about the judges on the panel, please visit www.greenpeace.org/international/meet-the-judges

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) is a worldwide movement providing non-formal education where girls and young women develop leadership and life skills through self‑development, challenge and adventure. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts learn by doing. The association brings together Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting associations from 145 countries, reaching 10 million members around the globe. www.wagggsworld.org