I heart the Arctic

70 beats per Minute. That’s 4200 beats per hour. My heart goes out the Arctic today – beating as one with 59 others assembled today at Piha beach to express our love. Love for the arctic, love for the future generations, love for our planet.

On 20th of April 2010, 3 years ago, the Deep Water Horizon Disaster stopped some hearts from beating. 11 Workers were killed and the impact on marine life can still be seen today – not to mention the impact it had on people living along the beautiful coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico and the economy based there.

As the world starts running out of oil, governments and oil companies are jostling for position at the extreme frontiers to get at the last drops of ancient sunlight. This time it’s Shell, Exxon, Gazprom, Rosneft and again BP. And this time the frontier is the Arctic, one of the last unspoiled places on our planet, a place that seems to be so unapproachable and therefore intangible.

And that really is the problem. The Arctic, the top of our world, is covered with ice that makes it difficult (I would say impossible), to clean up the mess of an oil spill. Yet nobody, including all of these “pioneers of Arctic oil drilling”, has any clue how to do it. What audacity that they have, to want to take advantage of the retreating ice they have already caused to our planet!

Shell botched its foray into the Arctic in 2012 - ran out of time, and missed the short window of opportunity, in which arctic ice retreats far enough in summer due to the effects of climate change.

Today we are out on Piha beach, part of a global mobilisation in 278 places in 35 countries, standing up for the Arctic. It’s such a good feeling, that even at the other end of the world, so far away from the Arctic, people do care!

We had a forecast of thunderstorms and tornados for today and still so many of us came, and even better – some of the people on the beach joined us spontaneously. Luckily we caught a window of sun!

So here I stand shaping a heart for the Arctic with the others on a black sand beach – and no it’s not an oil spill – it’s iron in the sand thankfully! I can smell the salty water, feel the wind and the autumn sunshine on my skin, I am connected to this beautiful Earth. And I feel this one time it is ok to think things are most certainly black-and-white. Oil and ice do not mix.

We want no oil drilling in the high North. The Arctic doesn’t belong to anyone, and it belongs to everybody at the same time.

We want the arctic to be sanctuary – an unspoiled piece of nature for all living beings on this planet.

Join the movement – sign the petition http://www.savethearctic.org/


Katharina Wallner is currently working at Greenpeace New Zealand as an intern. "I have previously been involved in Greenpeace Youth in the local group in Duesseldorf (Germany) and volunteered in the local group in Mannheim/Heidelberg. I started working with Greenpeace to fight climate change and have been part of the anti-nuclear movement that started the energy revolution towards renewable energy in Germany."