Let's Make the Arctic a Peace Sanctuary, Off-Limits to Oil Drilling, Industrial Fishing

NASA Goddard Photo and Video/CC BY 2.0

An idea who's time has more than arrived: Greenpeace has launched a new campaign to ban oil drilling and industrial fishing in the Arctic, as well as make the entire region a sanctuary owned by no nation, "dedicated to peace and science" similar to the status that Antarctica currently has.

The video above lays out the case pretty compellingly, and really should've probably been the intro Discovery's Frozen Planet series as it sums up the situation well.

Greenpeace reminds us, on its new SaveTheArctic.org site:

In the last 30 years, we’ve lost as much as three-quarters of the floating ice cap at the top of the world. The volume of that sea ice measured by satellites in the summer, when it reaches its smallest, has shrunk so fast that scientists say it’s now in a ‘death spiral’.

For over 800,000 years, ice has been a permanent feature of the Arctic ocean. It’s melting because of our use of dirty fossil fuel energy, and in the near future it could be ice free for the first time since humans walked the Earth. This would be not only devastating for the people, polar bears, narwhals, walruses and other species that live there - but for the rest of us too.

The ice at the top of the world reflects much of the sun’s heat back into space and keeps our whole planet cool, stabilizing the weather systems that we depend on to grow our food. Protecting the ice means protecting us all.

The campaign aims for 1 million signatures, and at the time of this writing there were roughly 17,000—including a whole host of celebrities, in case you need Paul McCartney's, Thom Yorke's, or Richard Branson's say-so on this sort of thing.

Which isn't intended as a shot against any of them—actually, everyone I've seen associated with the campaign is very much serious and sincere about it, are people that I respect—rather that in that both the BBC and Reuters reporting on the campaign launch, it's the celebrity endorsement that has grabbed the headlines, not the fact that the entire situation in the Arctic is royally messed up, has grave implications for the climate and for international conflict and that something needs to be done about it. But no, it's presented first as another celebrity-endorsed action.

Tags: Activism | Arctic | Rio+20