Taking action against Arctic oil, in freedom

May 1, 2014

Greenpeace International activist Faiza Oulahsen (from the Netherlands) at the Leninsky District Court of Murmansk. Together with other Greenpeace crew members, she is being held following an Arctic oil drilling protest in the Pechora Sea. The crew faces possible charges of piracy, which Greenpeace insists are not valid under international law.

© Igor Podgorny / Greenpeace

Today is the day. The very first barrels of Arctic oil I tried to stop with 27 other activists in the Russian Arctic last September has found its way to my home country. Gazprom, Russias biggest energy company, has shipped the first tanker with crude oil from the Arctic to Rotterdam harbor in the Netherlands.
[caption id="attachment_26317" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Faiza during her bail hearing at the Murmansk Regional Court, when she was detained as part of the 'Arctic 30.' Faiza during her bail hearing at the Murmansk Regional Court, when she was detained as part of the 'Arctic 30.'[/caption]
I have to admit, Gazproms pursuit for Arctic oil has been relentless. 5 million angry people, countless dollars spent, three years of delays and 30 prisoners later, the glorious day of controversy has arrived. It would be almost admirable if it weren't all about risking a fragile region and all life on the planet for oil that is supposed to stay beneath the seabed anyway.
[caption id="attachment_26318" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Greenpeace activists aboard inflatables paint No Arctic Oil on the side of an oil tanker carrying the first shipment of oil extracted from Arctic waters. Greenpeace activists aboard inflatables paint No Arctic Oil on the side of an oil tanker carrying the first shipment of oil extracted from Arctic waters.[/caption]
Despite the darkness of this day, the millions of voices did no go unheard. The Arctic is a fragile environment that needs to be protected and preserved, stated a member of the Labor party in the Dutch parliament. Common sense more politicians seemed to share: as a response to Gazproms announcement of the shipment to the Netherlands, the Dutch parliament adopted a resolution calling for an international ban on the transport of heavy crude oil through the Arctic.
[caption id="attachment_26319" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Greenpeace swimmers, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior and Greenpeace inflatables protest against first shipment of arctic oil in the harbour of Rotterdam. Greenpeace swimmers, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior and Greenpeace inflatables protest against first shipment of arctic oil in the harbour of Rotterdam.[/caption]
Unfortunately this didn't mean that Gazprom's tanker was refused. And thats why I believe we sometimes need to take action, like we did at Gazproms oil platform in the Arctic. But you might ask: "Whats the point of doing actions, Gazprom is still drilling for Arctic oil?"
Its simple: Because things arent moving fast enough. Because sometimes having talks and writings letters to a company doesnt cut it. Because history shows that change can occur when people take action. Mankind is running out of time. And if we want the save the Arctic while its still there, we need to move today. Join me?

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