After two months in prison the Arctic 30 were released. Is the Greenpeace campaign in the Arctic now over? What are the next steps?
After three months in captivity, the Arctic30 are now finally free. We are relieved that they were able to join their families, but the treatment they received was not fair and very hard. However it´s important to note that our activists all expressed their will to stay committed and continue the campaign. So suddenly the campaign is very far from being over. We will intensify the campaign and push for the Arctic to become a global sanctuary, and the next steps include, also to reach out directly to governments to get them to say what their position is on the Arctic. So in addition of pushing for the Upper Arctic to become a global sanctuary we will enter alliances with other organisations to grow the movement and intensify our actions in 2014, and we will raise the question again if any company seeks to drill for oil in the arctic not only Gazprom but also for instance Shell in Alaska.
What are the main aims and objectives of Greenpeace International in 2014, besides the Arctic campaign?
Greenpeace will invest lots of efforts in changing it's organisational culture and broadening our presence in the developing world, and also in the places where we absolutely are needed to change and to win, as for instance in China, India, Indonesia and so on. This year we focus on laying a strong foundation for the climate treaty in 2015, to finally get the deal we already wanted in 2009 in Copenhagen, which we call a "fab" deal: a fair, ambitious and legally-binding treaty. We will also this year continue with our forrest campaigns and also stress out the importance of sustainable agriculture.
Greenpeace Luxembourg has a very active network of members and volunteers. Together with them we will celebrate Greenpeace Luxembourg's 30th anniversary in 2014. What's your message to Greenpeace Luxembourg and their adherents?
Greenpeace lives because of it's volunteers and supporters. The fact that Greenpeace is around for 30 years in Luxembourg is a very big achievement. Any organisation that survives for such a long time shows that they have a support base, a programme and values, and people out there understand it. I would like to send a special message, first of all, to our volunteers who are the backbone of Greenpeace, please continue as actively as you are and please stay involved and help us find more volunteers for our work here in Luxembourg. To our financial supporters that contribute so much I say thank you very very much, because you allow us to be independent of governments and business, which is critical, for the work that we do. Please continue and help us find more supporters, in that way we have impact in our work.
You've been to Luxembourg before, what do you take home from your stay in Luxembourg, the many meetings, and the concert and also from the people you met today?
I'm very inspired to have met my Luxembourg colleagues at Greenpeace. We sense that this is an office that is doing good work, that is expanding, that is reaching out to people and that is well connected to the civil society and to the government. I also take home, the very positive and constructive meeting I had today with Carole Dieschbourg, the minister of environment, and I hope that she will be an important ally as we prepare for the all important COP21, the climate conference that takes place in Paris in 2015, and I want to say thank all of the people in Luxembourg for the warm hospitality during my short stay here.
Photo& interview: Philippe Schockweiler, Greenpeace Luxembourg, 2014.