photo via greenpeace
After scaling the Cairn oil rig Leiv Eiriksson off the coast of Greenland and enduring a water cannon, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo was arrested Friday and taken into custody. Kumi's brave action came after repeated calls from Greenpeace for Cairn to produce its oil spill response plan which it has thus far refused to do. Kumi carried with him the names of 50,000 people who have asked Cairn to stop exploratory drilling in the Arctic. Here's incredible video of Kumi and another activist braving the water cannons, climbing the rig in extremely frigid conditions:
In his final radio transmission before being arrested, Kumi said:
"It looks like I'm being arrested now. They say I'm going to be taken to Greenland, but what happens after that I don't know. I did this because Arctic oil drilling is one of the defining environmental battles of our age. I'm an African but I care deeply about what's happening up here. The rapidly melting cap of Arctic sea ice is a grave warning to all of us, so it's nothing short of madness that companies like Cairn see it as a chance to drill for the fossil fuels that got us into this climate change mess in the first place. We have to draw a line and say no more. I'm drawing that line here and now in the Arctic ice."
This is just the beginning of the fight as oil companies rush into the melting Arctic to claim drilling rights to as the ice recedes. Failure to stop drilling in the Arctic would mean game over for attempts to stop climate chaos. Additionally, a spill in the Arctic would be catastrophic due to its remoteness and the difficulty of getting equipement there to mitigate the damage done by a spill.
(Full disclosure: Kumi is a former colleague.)