1000 strong voices taking a powerful stand for the Arctic

Yeb Saño Filipino Climate Change Commissioner in the Arctic. 09/10/2014 © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

This week the International Declaration on the Future of the Arctic has reached a milestone of 1000 influential signatories from all walks of life and all corners of our planet.

The document, a ten point charter for environmental protection was drafted to be signed and endorsed by influential leaders in society and communities around the globe and thus be used as a powerful political tool to be presented to the leaders of the Arctic States.  To demand a step forward for the protection of the Arctic and the creation of a Sanctuary in the International waters around the North Pole. To show them that the world is watching and and asking them to step up.

Reaching 1000 signatories has been no small feat. It’s taken trust, commitment and creativity. What started as the seed of an idea, has now taken root all over the world.

The journey began with the launch of the Act for Arctic project, a people-power based platform offering some simple tools and directions for everyone to start looking and reaching out to influential leaders in their own communities and ask them to join the call for the protection of the Arctic.

Already a handful of people like Paul McCartney, Sylvia Earl, and Desmund Tutu had signed the Arctic Declaration, but in order for the debate on the future of the Arctic to spread like wildfire and gain political traction, it needed a global grassroots effort.

The response was astonishing.

Using the Act for Arctic toolkits to become campaigners in their own right, people all over the world and from all ages and backgrounds began reaching out to leaders in their communities to save the Arctic.

In Spain, the Regional Parliaments of both Navarra and Catalonia were signed up.

In Sweden, many prominent professors and climatologists became signatories, not to mention nine time world champion in armwrestling, Heidi Andersson.

Campaigners were even able to approach and sign up both the legendary biologist Jane Goodall, as well as the Minister of Woman’s Affairs of Afghanistan, demonstrating the true nature and global concern for the future of the Arctic.

In Canada, everyone from Former Deputy Prime Minister, Sheila Copps, to renowned environmentalist, David Suzuki, and award winning author, Margaret Atwood, were signed up.

And like something out of a fairy tale, both Princess Irene of The Netherlands, and European Space Agency astronaut Frank de Winnie became signatories to the Arctic Declaration, giving  both, royal and intergalactic, support to the future of Arctic protection.

Reaching the milestone of 1000 signatories has been just the result of a global effort by a truly committed community of “normal” people around the world, that has been taking the campaign to Save the Arctic into their communities and raised the debate and profile of one of the most urgent environmental issues of our time.

The Act for Arctic project is the proof that anyone, everywhere can contribute changing the world.

This is why, everyone who contributed to make this happen deserves a very special thank you by a very special person, who on his recent trip to the top of our world stated that “Saving the Arctic means saving the planet”

Ethan Gilbert is a Volunteer Coordinator at Greenpeace Nordic.

PS: The project is still going on and we still need your help to get more and more people to sign up to the Arctic Declaration. Visit ActForArctic.org and start changing the world with us.

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