Celebrate all the ordinary people doing extraordinary things to safeguard our future.

Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa

My friends and colleagues — the Arctic 30 — remain in their cold cells for defending the Arctic, but they are not alone. The environmental movement is gaining significant support and momentum. More and more people are stepping up and claiming their right to defend our planet and demand the release of the Arctic 30. Today, Greenpeace celebrates the many ordinary people doing extraordinary things, all over the world.  

A wave of tributes
The Arctic 30 are not alone. Today Greenpeace and Reclaim Power are kicking off a global wave of tributes to celebrate local environmental heroes. Together, we demand a safe future, a safe planet, and an end to the Arctic melt.

Environmental heroes
Every country remembers their own environmental leaders: Wangiri Maathai of the Green Belt in Kenya or Ken Saro Wiwa, who was executed for his environmental activism in Nigeria. New heroes take the stage: Bill McKibben of 350.org in the US, the inspiring Vandana Shiva in India, and brave Nnimmo Bassey in Nigeria. So many environmental heroes all over the world are emerging, to claim their right to safeguard the future of our planet.

Worldwide support
What happens when the individuals who share this hope connect? Over 200 NGOs and world leaders have pleaded for their safe release, or signed the online petition for release of the Arctic 30. Last week alone, artists like the band BLUR, human right lawyers, more Nobel Peace Prize winners and the Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights joined them. Today, 77 laureates of the Right Livelihood Award praised their peaceful action against Arctic oil drilling and demand their immediate release. They consider the non-violent protests of Greenpeace against Gazprom’s Arctic oil drilling a service to humanity.

“We have never before had such a massive response from our laureates,” a spokesperson of the award told Greenpeace. Many supporters must recognize their own struggles in the plight of the Arctic 30. Ordinary people, artists, laywers, scientists and journalists have been confronted with injustice or opposition, too, as they worked on extraordinary things.

Passive politics
Don’t we all struggle for a fair and safe planet? The Arctic 30 do. The international community has long aknowledged the seriousness and impacts of climate change, but world leaders have been postponing urgent climate measures for over two decades. The Climate Summit COP19 starts tomorrow in Warsaw, but will the outcome be less disappointing this time? I certainly hope so.

Want to help?
It’s easy. Take part in today’s celebration of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Pay a tribute to your local hero on social media, share a picture, an action, or a name. Join the more than two million people demanding freedom for the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists, who were arrested on trumped up charges of piracy and hooliganism. There is an attempt to silence the people devoted to protect our future against dirty and dangerous oil. Join us and add your voice to the choir to say this is unacceptable.

No one can stop ordinary people from doing extraordinary things to protect our future.


Hilde Stroot is a campaign coordinator at Greenpeace Netherlands.