I feel ironically compelled to use electricity copy-typing words printed on a fragment of a dead tree I received from Greenpeace a while ago, thus generating more carbon dioxide…
‘We want to claim the Arctic region for all mankind’
Throughout human history, the North Pole’s very inaccessibility has been its protection. But the melting of the Arctic ice, as the global climate warms, is opening up the great frozen wilderness, the world’s most untouched ecosystem; to industrialisation.
Gluttonous eyes are being cast on the Arctic for what it holds, not least its 160bn barrels of oil*, both by the ‘supermajor’ oil companies such as Shell and Exxon Mobil, and the countries which surround the Arctic Ocean — Canada, Russia, the US, Norway and Denmark (via Greenland). They are looking to extend their territorial waters towards the North Pole and consequent sovereignty of the seabed.
What we need to do is say that the area of the High Arctic, which is currently not national territory, should be a ‘global commons’, collectively owned by humanity under the auspices of the United Nations.
It has huge symbolic importance as a pristine ecosystem. Yet the oil companies and the surrounding nations are saying ‘this might be at the ends of the earth, but we’re just going to go in and carve it up.’
Greenpeace is planning a global campaign to make the Arctic off-limits to industrialisation. This means no industrial-scale development. No oil drilling. No territorial claims.
After eight years of campaigning, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed on 4 October 1991. Now it’s time to treat the other pole of our planet the same way; except that we need to do it faster this time. We have less than two years before the UN retreats — behind closed doors — to decide who owns what part of the Arctic Ocean.
The melting Arctic is under threat from oil drilling, industrial fishing and military buildup. Ask world leaders to create a global commons around the North Pole and a ban on oil drilling and industrial fishing in Arctic Waters. Sign now to save the Arctic!
* 160 billion barrels of oil: enough to fuel the world’s oil gluttony for a whole three years… whoopee.