In just over two weeks I will be standing on the frozen Arctic ocean, preparing to ski to the North Pole. I’ll be wearing four layers of fleece and a special hat that someone knitted for me. In my pockets I’ll carry some almond chocolate, an iPod, and a declaration of hope for future generations.
Like most of the 16-person team, I have absolutely zero Arctic experience. None. Zilch. In fact, my outdoors experience is mostly limited to camping in the garden with my friend Barnaby when I was 7. So why on earth is Greenpeace helping me and a bunch of inexperienced kids ski to the top of the world? Well, here’s the short story.
We’re going to the North Pole to declare it protected on behalf of all life on earth. Once we arrive, we’ll make a hole in the ice and plant a flag for the future on the seabed. Attached to the flag will be a glass pod containing the names of nearly 2.7 million Arctic Defenders who joined us at savethearctic.org.
We hope to start a new conversation about the Arctic that involves every person on earth. Right now the only real discussions going on are about how to carve up the oil, gas and fish that are uncovered as the ice melts.
In other words, if you put your hand up and say “um, excuse me, but isn’t it a bit stupid to see melting sea ice as an opportunity to drill for more oil?” you’re laughed at, called naive, and sent to the corner until you behave yourself.
We think there’s a better way. We’re calling on those in power to work together to protect the Arctic and fight climate change with unity, cooperation and a spirit of peace. We’re starting by asking President Obama to ban offshore drilling in Alaska, but we need to broaden this conversation out.
Alongside polar guides, camera experts and technical wizards, I’ll be joined on this expedition by four amazing young people who all have stories to tell about the Arctic, about climate change and about hope.
Renny is from the Seychelles. His island nation could disappear completely due to rising sea levels, but you wouldn’t tell from talking to him. When we trained for this expedition in Norway he laughed continuously, even as he fell out of his sleeping bag.
Kiera lives in Denendeh in the North West of Canada. She is a powerful activist, singer and defender of indigenous rights. She’s also great fun to be around and is bringing a drum.
Josefina is a member of the Sami People in Sweden, one of the oldest Indigenous Peoples in Europe who have relied on the Reindeer for hundreds of years. She is also making a special hat for the expedition.
Ezra is a hugely talented young actor from New York. He’s seen the impacts of a climate charged ‘superstorm’ in his hometown, and is attending Zumba classes to get ready to do something about it.
It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be difficult, and we have no idea what to expect. You can send us messages and check in on our progress here, and we’ll reply to as many as we can before our chocolate runs out. Wish us luck.
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