The author and the Rainbow Warrior crew members offer condolences to victims and families of the 11/18 plane crash in Russia and acknowledge the day of mourning.
The names and faces of the Arctic 30 crossed the streets of San Francisco yesterday morning, carried in the hands of their friends and colleagues. Rainbow Warrior crew members, volunteers and Greenpeace staff traveled from Pier 15, where the Greenpeace flag ship was docked, to the General Consulate of the Russian Federation where a silent demonstration took place.
In the 3-mile long walk, they carried more than 4,450 petitions collected in the last four weeks. Women and men, kids and seniors, locals and visitors, demanded the U.S. Russian Ambassador act to immediately release the 28 Greenpeace activists and two independent journalists who still sit in prison after a peaceful protest against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic September 18th.
Petitions were collected during the Rainbow Warrior public ship tour along the West Coast, where the ship stopped in Seattle, WA., Portland, OR., and San Francisco, CA. It’s headed to San Diego today.
Once at the main gate of the Russian consulate, we waited. Without blocking any entrance nor sidewalk, we waited for more than an hour. We stood, in silence, holding the portraits of the Arctic 30, facing them to the consulate with their eyes frozen in the picture but full of life and hope for a better, greener and peaceful world.
Unfortunately, we weren’t received. So we placed a big postcard calling for the freedom of the Arctic 30 and the petitions inside the gate of the consulate which staff later collected.
The petitions we delivered yesterday were just an example, a small indication, of what nearly 3 million people around the world are demanding of the Russian government. Defending the climate is no crime.
The Arctic 30 took action to alert the world how Arctic oil drilling threatens the surrounding ecosystem, the climate and the people who live in the Arctic. In doing that they took a bold stand for one important value: we must protect the Arctic for current and future generations. Leaving the very top the the planet in the hands of the big oil companies like Gazprom or Shell will not only endanger this pristine ecosystem with inevitable oil spills, it will also accelerate catastrophic climate change by adding more CO2 in the atmosphere if the Arctic oil is tapped.