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

 

Freelance videographer, Kieron Bryan, denied bail in Russian court hearing

Blog by Carla Amaya | October 11, 2013

Yesterday, Kieron Bryan, a Greenpeace International contracted freelance videographer, and an activist, Philip Ball, (from the United Kingdom) attended a bail hearing at the Regional court of Murmansk. Kieron Bryan was commissioned by Greenpeace...

Greenpeace International responds to allegations from Russian authorities

Blog by Carla Amaya | October 11, 2013

Feature Story- On September 18th, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was involved in a peaceful protest at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, which is expected to become the first to produce oil from ice filled Arctic seas. Over a day later, the …...

September 2013 Photo of the Month

Blog by Robert Meyers | October 10, 2013

Early Sept. 18 in the Pechora Sea, freelance photojournalist Denis Sinyakov captured the moment when unarmed activists helping support a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Russian Arctic are threatened with knives and fired upon with...

“Sini, the quiet hero”: The friend of a detained Greenpeace activist speaks out

Blog by Harri Lammi | October 7, 2013

My friend Sini Saarela is in jail in Murmansk, along with many other Greenpeace International activists. They are some of the first people in the world to face long jail sentences because they followed their conviction and acted against climate …...

WATCH: Arctic Sunrise Captain Peter Willcox talks about seizure in Russia

Blog by Cassady Sharp | October 7, 2013

In secret footage filmed during Russian authorities’ inspection of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, Captain Peter Willcox, still handcuffed to an official, describes the moment when armed agents searched the vessel and seized laptops and...

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