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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

 

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...

Shell announcing return to Arctic drilling in 2014 despite disastrous previous attempt

Blog by Cassady Sharp | October 31, 2013

Despite a season of “uh-ohs” last winter, Shell is bound and determined to try, try again to drill in the Arctic. Among Shell’s mishaps were equipment failures, failed safety inspections and a runaway rig off the coast of Alaska. The … Continue...

The Arctic 30 sends messages of thanks to supporters from Russia

Blog by Birgitte Lesanner | October 25, 2013

Many of you, all around the world, have been kind enough to show your support for the Arctic30 who continue to be detained in Russia with dark prospects. From the little news we get out of the Murmansk detention centre, … Continue reading →

New hooliganism charges are “inappropriate and should be dropped,” says Amnesty...

Blog by Cassady Sharp | October 24, 2013

In response to charges of hooliganism from the Russian Federal Investigative Committee, Amnesty International released a statement supporting the Arctic 30 and condemning the charges. “The piracy charges originally brought in this case were...

Orthodox Cathedral in Alaska shows support for the Arctic 30

Blog by George Pletnikoff | October 21, 2013

On a bright sunny fall afternoon, on the steps of St. Innocent of Irkutsk Cathedral in Anchorage Alaska, assembly members, priests and delegates from the church gathered to show support for the release of the Arctic 30 currently held in … ...

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