Finland is first Arctic nation to support North Pole sanctuary

• September 11, 2013
north pole sanctuary

Arctic Ice, Creative Commons: US Geological Survey, 2008

Finland is now the first Arctic nation to support the creation of a North Pole sanctuary, which would cover the uninhabited area around the High Arctic. Their statement marks a crucial first success for global efforts to protect the Arctic from the dual threats of climate change and oil drilling.

Last week the Finnish government adopted a new Arctic Strategy that includes strong language on protecting the Arctic and preventing its unrestrained use for industrial activity.

As Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo previously said about the campaign:

The Arctic is coming under assault and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it. A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region and the 4 million people who live there. And a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the pole would in a stroke stop the polluters colonising the top of the world without infringing on the rights of indigenous communities.

A report released in August warned that Arctic and deepwater drilling will prove too costly to exploit as governments work to limit temperature rise to below 2°C.

The Greenpeace Save the Arctic campaign is working to establish a global sanctuary specifically around the North Pole that would respect the land rights of the indigenous people living in the Arctic region more broadly. They are also calling for a ban on offshore drilling and industrial fishing in the wider Arctic region.

Several celebrities have also lent their support for an Arctic sanctuary, including Actor Edward Norton, Actor Robert Redford, Actress Penelope Cruz and former Beatle Paul McCartney.

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