It was the 5th of October last year when more than 20 of my colleagues and I met in Paris. We are all Volunteer Coordinators here at Greenpeace, and the question that took us to France on that day was "How can we take our demands for Arctic protection to the streets, and and make sure those in power hear the voices and creativity of an ever growing movement committed to saving the Arctic?"
So we started brainstorming. Ploi from Thailand, Sergio from Chile, Natalie from Canada, Raquel from Spain and many of my other colleagues from around the world.
When we made our way home the next day, all of us were thinking over the idea of tens of thousands of people coming together across the globe to show their love to the Arctic, to the planet, to the people. From then on we, together with the global network of Greenpeace volunteers and many friends and allies, worked towards a Global Day of Action that would send a loud and clear message to political decision makers: "People around the world love the Arctic and want to see it protected as a global sanctuary!"
That day is today - The I Love Arctic Global Day of Action! More than ten thousand people in 36 countries from Colombia to Taiwan and from Norway to South Africa are coming together in more than 280 cities to form human banners in the shape of a heart, spelling out I Love Arctic.
Volunteers in Bangkok, Thailand getting ready to form a heart shape this morning.
And as the photos and videos keep popping up in our I Love Arctic inbox, we see the absolutely amazing diversity, creativity and general awesomeness of the events all around the world.
Our friends in the UK are transforming an iconic building in London into the pristine Arctic, using a special 4D projection technique. Folks in Belgium are now finding out if the famous Belgian actress Francesca Vanthielen will jump in a tank of ice water, which she has promised to do if at least 1,000 people join the I Love Arctic day in Gent... (make sure you have a hot cup of chocolate ready for Francesca!)
Our Brazilian friends are at the beach in Rio de Janeiro with the Sugarloaf Mountain as a backdrop as they are doing a heart for the Arctic, and in Washington DC organisers have mobilised people into a big heart right in front of the Capitol! Activists in Thailand are taking a bike ride together and gathering in a central park in Bangkok to form a human banner, and in Sweden the I Love Arctic Day of Action goes alongside a high level Arctic Seminar in Stockholm, where politicians and scientists are discussing the future of the Arctic.
Volunteers in Rio, Brazil forming a heart shape to complete a massive banner on the beach
The plan of some governments and big oil companies - to drill for oil in the Arctic - puts the fragile Arctic ecosystem and the Indigenous Peoples who rely on the Arctic Ocean at great risk. If those plans become reality, one of the planet's largest carbon bombs will be tapped, setting us on a straight pathway to more and more extreme weather events and climate catastrophe across the globe. What happens in the Arctic affects us all - that's why we took joint action today and will continue to take action until we see the Arctic protected!
On Monday morning, I'll meet with Liv, a graphic designer. Liv will help us to gather all the impressive photographs from today's Global Day of Action in a big book that we will hand over to the top decision makers of the Arctic Council in just under a months time from now, when they meet in Kiruna, in the very North of Sweden.
Today's joint message of more than ten thousand people demanding Arctic protection is loud and clear - and we will make sure it is heard by those with the means and the power to save the Arctic for all of humanity.
Top photo: Over 100 school children create an I ♥ ARCTIC human banner in Warsaw, Poland