How to stand up for the Arctic in your community

by Sarah Rasmussen

August 25, 2014

A young polar bear (Ursus maritimus) wanders on ice, seen from the Greenpeace ship during an expedition to document the lowest sea ice level on record.

© Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

This summer, thousands of Greenpeace activists around the world have been working in their communities asking their local leaders to stand up for the Arctic.

What does that mean? Its all a part of the global campaign to make the northernmost part of the Arctic a global sanctuary. As global warming causes the Arctic to melt, multinational corporations like Shell are chomping at the bit to be the first to exploit the uninhabited areas of the Arctic.

If were going to protect the Arctic, we need all levels of leaders from around the country to join this call. To make the Arctic matter on the national stage, leaders like President Obama need to know that it really matters in communities around the country.

Thats why were asking Greenpeace activists and supporters to do something a bit different this summer. Were asking people to start a community petition for the Arctic.

We’ve teamed up with to give Greenpeace supporters a way to start their own community petitions.This partnership with is brand new and we’re really excited about the potential to amplify grassroots power.

Well make sure you have everything you need to make a big difference in your community for the Arctic. If your petition gets at least 250 signatures, well share it with our Facebook fans in your community (our Facebook page has 300,000 followers nationwide). If it gets at least 500 signatures, well email it to everyone on our list in your area.

Because this is a new way were asking people to be involved, weve put together this step-by-step guide and Frequently Asked Questions.

Step-By-Step Guide

1. Pick a local leader to send your petition to. If you live in a city with a mayor, that is probably your best bet. Youll need his or her email address, which you can probably find by going to your citys website. If you dont have a mayor, another great choice is your state representative, senator, or Assemblyman.

2. Go to to start your petition.

3. Decide what you want to say to your local leader about why they should support the Arctic sanctuary. You can write your own petition language, or use this language:

Name: Protect our Arctic

Text: The Arctic is a truly special place, but it is under threat from rising temperatures, oil drilling, and industrial fishing. We ask that you use your status as a leader to endorse the International Declaration on the Future of the Arctic. This charter demands action on Indigenous Peoples rights, climate change, oil drilling, and unsustainable fishing. Learn more at, and please sign on today.

4. Youll be asked to say why youre starting this petition. Youll want to keep this short, but its a good way to tell your friends and neighbors why this is important to you. Stumped? Heres a sample:

“The Arctic is an amazing place, home to whales, polar bears, and other amazing creatures. We need to act now to protect it for future generations.”

5. Once you start your petition, youll be given options to share it on email, Facebook, and Twitter.This is the important part your petition will only be effective if you do everything you can to make sure your friends, family, and neighbors see it, sign it, and share it. And be sure to use the exact link that MoveOn sends you in an email. Note: MoveOn will only send you emails to help promote your petition.

Frequently asked questions:

Why is this through has built a really great tool that allows people to easily create and share petitions in their communities. Weve built this partnership with them because we have shared goals of empowering activists to drive change beginning in their own communities.

Who should I address this petition to?

Your mayor, state representative, or state senator is your best bet. They are closely connected to your community, and thus more likely to listen, but have a high enough profile to be listened to.

How do I find my petition targets email address?

If its your mayor, their email is probably on your city/town website. For state legislators, look at their individual page on the legislatures website, or call the switchboard.

But my mayor/representative is anti-environment – what should I do?

Its still worthwhile to let them know where their constituents stand. If they see a surprising number of constituents supporting this issue, it may lead to them reconsidering their position.

How do I get more involved or connect with other people working on this campaign?

Sign up for Greenpeace Greenwire and join the Act4Arctic group. Youll get more information and support, and be able to connect with other people doing the same thing.

I started a petition. What now?

First, share it! Then sign up for Greenpeace Greenwire and join the Act4Arctic group to get more resources and ideas for building a campaign for the Arctic in your community.

Ready? Start now!

Sarah Rasmussen

By Sarah Rasmussen

Sarah manages digital strategy for Greenpeace USA. She has worked in the nonprofit advocacy world for almost two decades and has degrees from Macalester College and the Harvard Kennedy School. She lives in Seattle, where she can be found walking her dog and telling people about the time she saw “Hamilton."

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.