Greenpeace captain Peter Willcox on the bridge of the Rainbow Warrior II.
Greenpeaces own Captain Peter Willcox just won an Observer Ethical Award, which is known in the United Kingdom as a Green Oscar. The award is meant to honor and publicize the work of extraodinary peoplethat are bringing about ethical change.
Captain Willcox has skippered Greenpeace ships since 1981, and he was the captain on the firstRainbow Warriorthat was bombed in New Zealand by the French secret service in 1985.
Last year, Willcox and his colleagues became an international news story when they took part in a peaceful protest against Arctic drilling in international waters off the coast of Russia. Armed Russian commandos seized Willcox and the rest of the Arctic 30 after the activists attempted to attach a banner to an Arctic oil platform operated by Gazprom.
After the Arctic 30 had spent over two months in jail without trial, The Duma (Russian parliament) granted the group amnesty following a global campaign to free them.
Willcox grew up on the water in South Norwalk, Connecticut, United States. Hestarted sailing for the environment in 1973 on the Clearwater, the boat started by folksinger Pete Seeger.His experience on the Clearwater helped him fall in love with sailing for a purpose.
Other winners this year include former Queen guitarist Brian May and Mama Margarets, a craft business run by British school children to support women in Dagoretti, one of the most impoverished areas of Nairobi.