It’s pretty flat out on the Arctic campaign these days and there often isn’t much time to stop and reflect on things.
But if the 2 year anniversary of what is possibly the defining environmental battleground of our time, and the incredible effort of millions of heroes from all walks of life who are at forefront of its defence, isn’t worth a pause then nothing is. So let’s take a little trip down Save the Arctic memory lane…
Save the Arctic was born out of frustration stemming from inaction. The Arctic was under siege, with sea ice melting at such eye-opening rates that our global air conditioner was at risk of vanishing. Yet instead of being concerned by this in-your-face climate change warning and using it as a spur to take some real action, governments and companies were instead getting hot under the collar about the prospect of carving up the far north and plundering its resources.
This frustration was not just felt within Greenpeace; it was felt by many thousands of people, from all around the world. The birth of the Save the Arctic movement helped give this frustration a name, a focus, and a banner under which we could all unite. And here are some of the best bits we’ve all shared:
Ice ride. Thousands of Arctic defenders around the world hit the streets in a global display of polar peddle power. The date coincided with the annual sea ice minimum, when Arctic sea ice melts to its lowest point and exposes the dangerous consequences of climate change.
And let’s not forget Arctic Ready, a web collaboration with Yes Lab designed to heighten awareness of Shell’s barmy plan to exploit melting sea ice to drill for oil in the delicate and remote waters off Alaska. We ran a contest to create an advert to tell the real truth about Shell’s Arctic plans – you submitted over 10,000 entries online and we made the winner into a billboard to put outside Shell’s US HQ.
Then there was the incredible support you gave the Arctic 30. What more can we say? Thank you.
And the moment 5 million people – more than the population of Sydney – signed the petition to create a global sanctuary around the North Pole and ban offshore drilling and destructive fishing in the Arctic.
And with so many voices, all shouting the same message, the politicians had to start taking notice. Some even took action. The European Parliament and Finland Government both came out in support the idea of an Arctic sanctuary. A sanctuary would mean permanent protection of one of the largest and least exploited areas on Earth. It would be the biggest conservation zone in existence, protecting fish stocks, ice-dependent species, and a huge variety of cold water species.
So where are we at now? Well, the next National Geographic Atlas world map will be noticeably missing a big chunk of Arctic ice. We all know the Arctic is still melting and governments and companies are still greedily grabbing at its once hidden resources.
But what has changed is that there is now a global movement standing up for the far north. It started 2 years ago and it is growing stronger and stronger every day. And you are part of it. And so are we. And together, we can Save the Arctic.
We’d love to hear your best bits! There have been so many special moments and amazing achievements for us to look back on and we hope you will take a minute this week to celebrate everything we’ve done together.
Ana Mules is a Communications Officer at Greenpeace New Zealand.
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