This summer the Dutch/British owned oil company Shell will start drilling for oil in the Arctic. They can do this because the sea ice has melted enough to expose the oil rich sea floors of the high north. This oil will be burned, resulting in more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and an even stronger greenhouse effect… Besides, we’ve seen in the Gulf of Mexico what can happen when something goes wrong while drilling for oil. And with the cold temperatures oil degradation takes much longer as in the warmer Gulf of Mexico.
Since I came to the high Arctic for the first time in 1999 I’ve seen islands emerge from glaciers, I’ve reached places that used to be locked in ice every summer and I’ve seen Polar Bears change their behavior because of the changing ice conditions. When I made my first visit I expected to visit a true unspoiled wilderness area. At first glance this is really true. There are only few signs of human disturbance noticeable at first sight. But under the surface there are many influences. Climate change, oil drilling, commercial fisheries, pollution drifting north with sea or air currents from more southern latitudes, all influences threatening the Arctic.
Greenpeace has started the action “Save the Arctic” with which they want to ask politicians to create a sanctuary in the Arctic, protecting it from at least some of these human influences. Wouldn’t it be great, a global sanctuary of pure nature in the North?