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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.

In 2012, 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)

Media Contacts:

Cassady Sharp (Washington, DC)

The latest updates

 

Greenpeace delegation boards Arctic oil rig demanding missing spill plan

Blog by Nick Young | June 4, 2011 2 comments

It never really gets dark here in the Arctic but in the soft silver light of the early morning five inflatable speedboats left the side of the Esperanza. They carried a delegation of eighteen activists and headed for the giant Leiv...

Activists arrested and pod captured but this is not the end

Blog by Ben Stewart | June 2, 2011 4 comments

Climbers working with the Danish navy have just broken into our pod suspended from the Cairn Energy oil rig here in the Arctic seas off Greenland and arrested the two Greenpeace climbers inside. Hannah and Luke had been...

Amazing Photos: occupying the world's most controversial oil rig

Blog by Michelle Frey | May 31, 2011 7 comments

After more than 48 hours, members of Greenpeace are still attached to the underbelly of the world's most controversial Arctic oil drilling rig. Their action will prevent the rig starting dangerous deep water drilling 100 miles...

Update from the Arctic survival pod: 48 hours and going strong!

Blog by Hannah | May 31, 2011

We’ve now been suspended beneath the Cairn oil rig in our Arctic survival pod for over 48 hours. After leaving the Esperanza at 3am to scale the rig and then a hard day rigging up the pod and setting up camp we were pretty...

Live Action: Climbers in survival pod stop Arctic oil rig

Blog by Nick Young | May 31, 2011

In the freezing seas off Greenland, activists from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza are taking direct action against oil drilling in the Arctic. Here in the US, tell the government that you want them to halt oil drilling in sensitive...

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