Thursday, June 21, 2012

Richard Branson launches campaign to save the Arctic

On the day that the sun never sets on the Arctic, Richard Branson has launched a campaign with Greenpeace to save the Arctic.  Branson joins Hollywood actors who have joined forces with rock stars, environmentalists, polar explorers and business leaders to launch a bid for a global sanctuary in the Arctic. The campaigners are demanding that oil drilling and unsustainable fishing be banned in Arctic waters. 

Paul McCartney, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford and a host of other stars including nine Oscar winners, ten Golden Globe winners and five Grammy Award winners are demanding that the uninhabited area around the North Pole be legally protected and made off-limits to polluters. 

The focus of the Greenpeace campaign will initially be on pushing for a UN resolution demanding a global sanctuary around the pole, and a ban on oil drilling and unsustainable fishing in the wider Arctic. Twenty years ago in Antarctica, something similar was created when the mining industry was banned from operating there and the continent was dedicated to science and research.

These celebrities are the first one hundred names to be written on an Arctic Scroll, and once a million others add their own names, Greenpeace will embark on an expedition to plant it on the seabed at the North Pole, 4km beneath the ice. The spot will be marked by a Flag for the Future designed by the youth of the world.

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said: "The Arctic is coming under assault and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it. A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region and the four million people who live there. And a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the pole would in a stroke stop the polluters colonising the top of the world without infringing on the rights of Indigenous communities.”

Anybody in the world can add their name to the Arctic Scroll and have their name planted beneath the pole by visiting

Photo courtesy of Nick Steel