In support of Greenpeace's Antarctic campaign, this may be the prettiest video I've ever watched – and the cause couldn't be more important.
Thom Yorke – he of the fluid limbs and singularly emotive voice that have been the hallmark of the band Radiohead – has made a solo track in support of Greenpeace’s campaign for a vast Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. And it’s breathtaking.
The song is called Hands Off The Antarctic and even though it is without lyrics, its hypnotic thrum will be familiar to anyone who has ever listened to Radiohead. What makes it all the more spectacular is that the track has been set to monochromatic footage of Antarctic landscapes and wildlife, filmed during a Greenpeace research expedition earlier his year. Think Ansel Adams meets BBC, all wrapped up in a haunting Thom Yorke instrumental. Sold! (Yes, I’m obviously a Radiohead fangirl, but still.)
The video was debuted in London, projected on the Marble Arch – what a sight that must have been.
The aim is to bring attention to the upcoming Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), in which 25 governments will be meeting to discuss protection for the Antarctic Ocean. If things go well, we could see the creation of the largest protected area in the world. At 1.8 million square kilometres (around 700,000 square miles) an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would be five times bigger than Germany, or 200 times the size of Yellowstone National Park.
"This sanctuary in the Weddell Sea would create a safe haven for marine wildlife like penguins and whales to recover from the pressures of climate change, pollution and industrial fishing. Creating a network of ocean sanctuaries around the world is also essential to help us all avoid the worst impacts of climate change."
"This is an exciting display of the creativity and global reach movement of over two million people who are calling on governments to protect the Antarctic by creating an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary this month," notes Louisa Casson, a campaigner in Greenpeace UK's oceans team.
The CCAMLR will be meeting at the end of the month. All 25 governments – 24 countries plus the EU – will need to approve the sanctuary. The EU and the UK have already said they are in favor of the measure, but it is not clear how countries with commercial fishing interests in the vast area will vote.
We will report more on the meeting when it happens. In the meantime, watch the beautiful video below, and add your signature to a Greenpeace petition asking the leaders to help protect the Antarctic, here.