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Saving the Arctic: The Expedition

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Visit Into the Arctic to explore the beauty of the Arctic, the threats it faces and our struggle to protect it.

We've raised global awareness about the dangers of Arctic oil drilling, climbed oil rigs to obstruct operations, mobilized nearly three million people and celebrated as major oil companies backed off plans to drill in the Arctic.  View a timeline of our campaign. We won't stop until the Arctic is declared a global sancuary.

Last summer, six Greenpeace International activists, including Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, climbed a rig belonging to Gazprom, a Russian oil company. 

"We can't match Shell's enormous financial muscle, but we have creativity and millions of people behind us. This is the defining environmental battle of our time and we have only just begun."
-Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director

Saving the Arctic: Stopping Global Warming

Many of us may never get the chance to travel to the top of the world. Yet similar to the places often unseen, the Arctic needs our help. During our most recent Arctic excursion, a crewmember called the Arctic a "big air conditioner."That's because the sea ice in the Arctic regulates our global climate by reflecting sunlight. That ice is melting at a rapid rate meaning the ocean absorbs the sunlight resulting in a warmer earth. This of course causes more sea ice to melt. Sounds like a vicious cycle, huh?

Not only does the Arctic work to regulate the global climate, it's also home to a rich ecosystem and indigenous people who depend on that ecosystem. Polar bears, seals, walruses and whales are just some of the species that call the Arctic home. And it's all in danger.

What is the Threat?

Oil companies are eager to profit from the melting sea ice by drilling in the Arctic. While the entire oil industry is looking to move into the Arctic, Shell is leading the way. Yet they have proven several times that there are in no way Arctic ready with various mishaps including a rig on the loose and a fire aboard their drill ship The Noble Discoverer.  

Despite their very public and very embarassing mistakes, Shell is determined to profit from the Arctic, groundzero of global warming. They're planning to drill in the same spot where Greenpeace and University of Alaska scientist Kelley Newman discovered coral, recorded orca whale calls and talked to the amazing people of Point Hope, Alaska. 

Nevermind that Shell's plans to drill for oil contribute to the vicious cycle of global warming.  The climate in the Arctic can be severe and unpredictable making an oil spill likely-and catastrophic. You would think the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental body of Arctic governments and citizens, would have a solid spill-response plan to prepare for this likely occurence. We were pretty shocked to read in a leaked draft that the Council had no real plan established in the likely case of a spill.

In addition to the new threat from Shell, the Russian oil industry spills 30 million barrels of oil each year. That's seven times the amount that escaped during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Every 18 months, more than 4 billion barrels spews into the Arctic.

Media Contacts:

Travis Nichols (Atlanta)

The latest updates

 

Free the Arctic 30, and lock up fossil fuels

Blog by Truls Gulowsen | October 1, 2013

On Friday, peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise woke up in a freezing jail cell in Russia for trying to protect the Arctic and fight global warming. At the same time the UN panel on Climate Change released its latest report...

Arctic sea ice reaches minimum extent for 2013 as Greenpeace activists are held in...

Blog by Cassady Sharp | September 20, 2013

US Scientists have announced that Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its sixth lowest extent in recorded history this year. The news comes as 30 Greenpeace activists remain in the custody of Russian security forces, who illegally boarded the...

Meet Captain Pete Willcox

Blog by Nicole Sands | September 20, 2013

The crew of the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise remain in the custody of Russian authorities following an armed boarding of the ship in international waters. Meet the Captain of the Arctic Sunrise, Pete Willcox. Willcox grew up on the water...

Tell Russia to release peaceful Greenpeace activists

Blog by Cassady Sharp | September 19, 2013

After Greenpeace attempted a peaceful protest against Gazprom, a Russian oil company, from drilling in the Arctic, Russian authorities illegally boarded a Greenpeace ship via helicopter and are holding more than twenty activists on board at...

LIVE FROM RUSSIA: Russian Coast Guard illegally boards Greenpeace ship

Blog by Meena Hussain | September 19, 2013

A peaceful protest at an oil rig in the Arctic against risky oil drilling has resulted in two arrests, with Greenpeace activists currently being held at gunpoint by the Russian Coast Guard. The Russian Coast Guard illegally boarded Greenpeace’s...

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