Amsterdam, 20 June, 2016 – Italian pianist and composer, Ludovico Einaudi, today performed one of his own compositions, Elegy for the Arctic, on a floating platform in the Arctic Ocean, against the backdrop of the Wahlenbergbreen glacier (in Svalbard, Norway). [1] Through his music Einaud has added his voice to those of eight million people from across the world demanding protection for the Arctic.

Speaking onboard the Arctic Sunrise, Einaudi said:

“Being here has been a great experience. I could see the purity and fragility of this area with my own eyes and interpret a song I wrote to be played upon the best stage in the world. It is important that we understand the importance of the Arctic, stop the process of destruction and protect it.”

The musician, known for his composition for the film, “Black Swan” and the television serial, “Doctor Zhivago”, travelled onboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise on the eve of the week-long meeting of the OSPAR Commission, which could secure the first protected area in Arctic international waters. [2]

The massive early retreat of sea ice due to the effects of climate change allowed the construction of a 2.6 x 10 metre artificial iceberg, made from more than 300 triangles of wood attached together and weighing a total of nearly two tonnes. A grand piano was then placed on top of the platform.

Today marks the start a meeting by the OSPAR commission in Tenerife, Spain during which a decision could be made to set up a protected area in international Arctic waters under its mandate. The area, in size, would be equivalent to the United Kingdom and nearly 10% of the area for which Greenpeace Spain is demanding Arctic Sanctuary status. Greenpeace is demanding that a decision be taken in light of recognition by OSPAR’s scientific committee that there is sufficient evidence of the region’s huge ecological value and that there is a serious loss of ice caused by climate change with a resulting impact on natural resources.

Speaking onboard the Arctic Sunrise, Greenpeace Spain arctic campaigner, Elvira Jimenez, said:

“Despite nearly eight million people calling for a Sanctuary in the Arctic, Greenpeace Spain is very concerned that the OSPAR Commission will bow to pressure from Norway, Denmark and Iceland. These three countries are opposed to the only Convention with the power to to recognise the Arctic’s environmental value by protecting a part of international Arctic waters.”

Despite the significance and scale of the Arctic problem, it is actually the least protected ocean. International Arctic waters, increasingly accessible due to receding sea ice, are firmly in the sights of oil, fishing and transport multinationals. The Arctic Ocean is the leading player in one of today’s greatest ecological disasters; the continuing loss of sea ice volume caused by rising temperatures. This not only puts its rich biodiversity at risk but is also having a direct impact on the rest of the planet. The deterioration of the Arctic Ocean could be linked to increasingly frequent extreme weather events in the Northern hemisphere, such as flooding, superstorms and droughts.[3]

ENDS

Photos and videos will appear here.

Notes for editors:

[1] Ludovico Einaudi, defined by the Guardian as a “classical superstar”, is one of the most popular pianist and composers in the world. He has sold out concert halls worldwide including the Royal Albert Hall and the Scala of Milan, composed a string of award-winning film scores and has been nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ at the BRIT awards.

[2] OSPAR is the organisation that governs international cooperation for the protection of the marine environment in the North-East Atlantic.

[3] What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic, report here.

Contacts:

Elvira Jimenez, Greenpeace Spain arctic campaigner, +34 618 54 81 93, email: Elvira.Jimenez@greenpeace.org

Marta San Roman, Greenpeace Spain communication: +34 680 40 06 45, email: Marta.San.Roman@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org