Punk pioneer Patti Smith joins chorus of voices standing up for the Arctic

by Keiller MacDuff

July 21, 2014

The Godmother of Punk, influential American musician, poet, writer and artist Patti Smith has pledged her support for the protection and preservation of the Arctic, adding her name to academic, political, artistic and activist luminaries from around the globe who have signed theInternational Declaration on the Future of the Arctic.

Smith and her band are in Norway headlining theBukta Music Festivalwhere she met with the crew of Greenpeaces ship, the Esperanza and signed the Declaration.

Hundreds of influential voices including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, musician Sir Paul McCartney, writer Margaret Atwood and a long list of mayors, ministers, scientists and organizations have pledged their support for the Declaration, declaring the Arctic ice cap the common heritage of mankind which must be protected for future generations instead of exploited for profit.

It was an honour and a joy to hear Patti weave improvised lyrics about Greenpeace, our ship, the Arctic and icy floes into a once-in-a-lifetime version of the title track from her latest album, Banga, said Richard Page, Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

Returning to the stage for her encore Smith, stuck a Save the Arctic poster to the front monitor and launched into the anthem People Have the Power.

Page continued, Patti Smiths message couldnt be clearer – we have only one planet and in order to protect it for our children and our childrens children, we all must use our voice. Only by joining together can we Save the Arctic.

The Esperanza leaves Tromso on Sunday for the next leg of its Arctic tour, heading towards Svalbard to observe fishing vessels moving into waters once protected by sea ice and to document the marine wildlife of an area sometimes described as the Galapagos of the Arctic.

Since its launch just two months ago, theArctic Declarationhas secured widespread international support with its list of political demands that include a ban on offshore oil drilling, an end to destructive overfishing and a sanctuary around the North Pole.

The Declarations call for Arctic protection is bolstered by more than five million Arctic Defenders who have voiced their readiness to stand up for the region, signing theSaveTheArctic.orgpetition calling for a global sanctuary around the North Pole.

The growing list of signatories will be presented to the foreign ministers of Arctic coastal states and world leaders gathering in New York in September to attend the United Nations 2014 Climate Summit. The declaration is facilitated by Greenpeace.

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