There was good news this month when the European Parliament passed a resolution supporting the creation of an Arctic Sanctuary covering the vast high Arctic around the North Pole, giving official status to an idea that has been pushed for by Green activists and campaigners for several years.
The proposed sanctuary, lying outside of Exclusive Economic Zones, would cover “one of the largest and least exploited areas on Earth: a 2.8 million square kilometer zone of the global commons,” writes Neil Hamilton, the Senior Political Advisor Polar with Greenpeace Norway. “That would be the biggest conservation zone in existence, protecting fish stocks, ice-dependent species, and a huge variety of cold water species.”
Greenpeace has been campaigning for a global Arctic Sanctuary for several years, including gathering some 5 million signatures from around the world, because there has been rising interest from governments and industries to exploit the once inaccessible wilderness for fish and fossil fuels.
The resolution notes that “climate changes in the Arctic will have a major impact on coastal regions globally, including coastal regions in the European Union, and on climate-dependent sectors in Europe such as agriculture and fisheries, energy, reindeer herding, hunting, tourism and transport.”
In addition to supporting an Arctic Sanctuary, the European Parliament’s resolution would ban fisheries in the high Arctic seas “until the establishment of appropriate regulatory mechanisms and protection.” It also calls for “strict precautionary regulatory standards” when it comes to fossil fuel exploration and extraction in the region.
Last December, Gazprom become the first energy company to begin pumping oil out of the Arctic seabed. In response to this the European Parliament expressed “strong concern regarding the rush for oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic without adequate standards being enforced”.
Be a Seed for Change
Last week, along with five other women, I scaled Europe’s tallest skyscraper to show our leaders and Shell that we don’t want Arctic drilling.
Now we need you to take the reins and make sure the whole world knows why we need to protect the Arctic.
This feat took us 15 hours of climbing. Despite our exhaustion, the outpouring of support from tens of thousands of people all over the world kept our spirits high. When we reached the top, we waved a flag for the Arctic in direct view of Shell’s three London headquarters.
There were only six of us up there, but there are millions of us in every corner of the world who want the Arctic protected. The most effective action we can do now is to make everyone else care for the Arctic as we do, and to do that we need to make it big…
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A group of six female protesters from Greenpeace were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass after scaling London’s 72-storey Shard tower on Thursday.
The group of female activists climbed all day and reached the top of the Shard in central London at around 7pm on Thursday night after 15 hours of climbing in protest at oil drilling in the Arctic. After reaching the summit of the 72-storey building, two of the campaigners unfurled a huge flag with “Save the Arctic” written in white across it.
Greenpeace said: “This building – modelled on a shard of ice – sits slap bang in the middle of Shell’s three London headquarters. They don’t want us talking about their plan to drill in the Arctic. We’re here to shout about it from the rooftops.”
Greenpeace posted pictures at 7:30am of a group of female protesters, and said the team had started climbing at 4am. It named the group as “Sabine, Sandra, Victo, Ali, Wiola and Liesbeth”, adding: “Wish them luck, they’re awesome”. You can watch the climb here.
Pic by Greenpeace
An unexpected thing happened on Wednesday. Shell cancelled its plans to drill this summer in the Alaskan Arctic this year after a series of costly accidents.
“Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people,” said Marvin E. Odum of Shell.
President Obama ordered a federal inquiry into Shell’s Arctic drilling programme after the oil company suffered numerous setbacks last year in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including running its drilling rig aground on Sitkalidak Island, and the US Coast Guard has listed 16 safety violations on the rig.
“This is the first thing Shell’s done right in Alaska — calling it quits,” said Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. “Now the responsible decision is to make Arctic drilling off limits, forever.”
Waitrose has suspended plans to expand its partnership with the Arctic oil drillers Shell, after 12 days of intense campaigning by Greenpeace.
The UK supermarket had been considering opening new shops in Shell petrol stations across the country, but Waitrose managing director Mark Price has confirmed that these plans have been put on ice until after 2013. The supermarket has also declared its support for the creation of an Arctic sanctuary, a move that would help protect endangered species, such as the polar bear, Arctic fox and narwal, by making the polar region off limits to oil drillers like Shell.
The announcement was made after nearly 40,000 people signed a Greenpeace petition urging Waitrose to break off the partnership with Shell. Activists also sent emails, posted hundreds of messages on Facebook, and staged demonstrations in Waitrose stores, including the appearance of a life-size polar bear in Islington.
Greenpeace, which has worked with Waitrose to develop its sustainable fishing policies, said it was “shocked” that the retailer, which prides itself on its environmental initiatives, would link itself to Shell. This summer Shell tried, and failed, to drill for oil in the Arctic, after a catalogue of disasters which included breaking the oil spill response equipment during testing.
You can support Greenpeace’s campaign to save the Arctic by visiting http://www.savethearctic.org
Amsterdam District Court has rejected a bid by Royal Dutch Shell to ban Greenpeace International from holding protests on or near its property.
“Future Greenpeace actions against Shell cannot be banned in advance provided that they remain in a certain framework,” the court ruling said in response to Shell’s suit. “The judge took as starting point that organisations, such as Greenpeace, are in principle free to carry out actions to let the public know about their point of view,” it added.
The court did, however, hand Greenpeace a set of protest guidelines, including the requirement that the group will not be able to occupy gas stations for more than an hour at a time.
Shell had sought a ban on any Greenpeace protests in the Netherlands within 500 metres (yards) of its operations, including petrol stations or offices, after the group organised several protests against the oil company’s drilling in the Arctic.
Shell loses suit against Greenpeace – Business – CBC News.