Photo of the Month – February


February 28, 2011

February was an amazing month at Greenpeace and the pictures capture the spirit and energy of our global and diverse campaigns to make life better in communities impacted by dirty energy from coal, deforestation and the overfishing of the world’s last remaining stocks of fish.

Visual excitement is more in the campaigns we are just starting than in the final agreements of the battles we have won, and won we have. I find inspiration in this photo by Michael Nagle of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, a sturdy 150-foot, 949-ton icebreaker steaming past the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

Taken from a helicopter in the dawn’s early light, it makes me think that Lady Liberty is holding up her ceremonial torch to light the way from the far oceans where the Arctic Sunrise has campaigned for Greenpeace the past 15 years. Kept running by a hardworking international crew who daily scrape, paint, lubricate, replace, rebuild and remake her, this ship has penetrated the ends of the earth to bear witness to the frightening pace of climate change, confronted both the plunderers of the ocean and the tropical rainforests.

The ship was back in New York on an eastern U.S. Quit Coal Tour to provide support to local activists and information and engagement to anyone who cared to listen. In eight days at New York’s Chelsea Pier hundreds of people were welcomed. You can bet that David Koch, the richest man in New York, was not among them, but many people whose one vote equals his, did. The message displayed on the Starboard side of the ship as it steamed into New York was clear. “Still Yearning to Breathe Free, Quit Coal” The images by Sean Gardner from the water are fantastic.

This image though, with Lady Liberty looking like she is ready to step off her pedestal to guide the ship to safe harbor, inspires me. Let’s let Lady Liberty, symbolic of opportunity and enterprise, inspire us to turn off dirty energy. Let’s stop choking on coal pollution and losing irreplaceable mountains in Appalachia and take the opportunity to move forward with clean energy solutions. Just as the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, journeyed far from the lands of their birth to build an America of freedom and innovation, we can quit coal, and we can do it now.


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