Confronting the Nordica

By the time you read this I will be in a Greenpeace boat in the Baltic Sea to confront the ice-breaker Nordica that Shell has contracted to help it drill for oil in the Arctic.

As I write this I don't know how things will turn out but you can see it unfolding live on the Greenpeace website.

I'm a long way from my home in Whangarei and, as I bunked down with a group of Greenpeace activists in Germany last night, I will confess I was a tad nervous about what we're hoping to do.

But there are lines that shouldn't be crossed and for me, drilling for oil in the Arctic is one of those lines - just like the deep sea oil drilling we face back there in New Zealand - it's a step too far.

In February, seven people including Lucy Lawless scaled Shell's Arctic-bound drillship in Taranaki. They occupied the ship for 4 days and inspired a worldwide wave of opposition to Arctic drilling. As Lucy said, there were seven who climbed up that day - but 130,000 that climbed down. That's how many people rallied for the Arctic and sent a protest message to Shell in just 4 days.

But it hasn't stopped there - the ripples of their action in Taranaki have reached Finland this week and continue to multiply.

On Tuesday more than a dozen activists boarded the Nordica in a Helsinki port - and as they did, the number of people who've joined us rose to 400,000 - and continues to climb.

Then yesterday, as the same icebreaker began its voyage to the Arctic, another team of activists met it at sea near Sweden, climbed aboard and delivered the message once again. Their presence on the ship delayed it for at least 10 hours before they were taken off and arrested by police.

Now it's my turn.

The Arctic is one of the last untouched natural areas on the planet. It's home to the polar bear, narwhal and Arctic fox. It's wild, it's fragile and it's precious.

Because of climate change, the Arctic sea ice is melting at an accelerating rate, which is opening it up to oil exploration. Shell is the first of the big oil companies to make a move but if we don't stand in their way, there will be more.

But you and I can make a difference!

Together we can stop Shell and other oil companies from destroying the Arctic. Not everyone can board a ship to demand that change. But today, you can send a message direct to Shell and tell them there is a line in the ice that should not be crossed. Please ask 10 of your friends to do the same. If you've already done it, do it again.

The Arctic is the last place on Earth anyone should be drilling for oil.

If enough people say NO, not in the Arctic, not now, not ever - together we can save it for future generations to treasure.

In solidarity,

James Bellamy
Greenpeace volunteer, Whangarei