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

 

The EnvironmentaLIST: 6 Awesome Artistic Contributions to the Arctic 30

Blog by Cassady Sharp | November 6, 2013

28 international activists and two independent journalists currently sit in Russian cells with charges of piracy and hooliganism as a result of a peaceful protest again Arctic oil drilling. The Arctic 30 were on the scene back in September at … ...

‘Arctic 30′ being moved from Murmansk to St. Petersburg

Blog by Keiller MacDuff | November 5, 2013

Amsterdam – Greenpeace International understands from diplomatic sources that the thirty men and women detained by Russia following a peaceful protest against an Arctic oil platform are being moved from a detention center in Murmansk to a jail in...

Do the math, fossil fuel investments add up to climate chaos

Blog by Kumi Naidoo | November 5, 2013

If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. We are facing a planetary emergency: climate change threatens the world and our collective future. Business and political leaders know this yet they do nothing. … ...

Russian Authorities fail to lift piracy charges against Arctic 30

Blog by Cassady Sharp | November 5, 2013

Prosecuting authorities in Russia were under fire today after it was revealed that they have failed to lift charges of piracy against the Arctic 30, despite pledging to do so. Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee announced last week that the...

Win a chance to see Portugal. the Man in San Francisco

Blog by Cassady Sharp | October 31, 2013

Ships have always been a big part of Greenpeace history, and no ship has been involved with that history more than the Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace’s newest version of the ship will be visiting the west coast of the United States this … Continue...

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