Today Kumi Naidoo, international director of Greenpeace, is handing a bottle of Arctic meltwater to the UN Secretary General in New York, calling for the Arctic to be protected from oil and gas development. It contains six million drops, one for each of the six million who have supported the Greenpeace Arctic campaign with their signature. Let’s hope, for the future of our world and children, that this message in a bottle is not ignored.
Sadly the track record is not good. Back in 1997 when I was a Greenpeace director I asked our campaigners to visit the huge (and to many scientists unexpected) crack that had appeared in the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Greenpeace called for stronger against on climate change. Politicians took shelter behind ‘scientific uncertainty’. As usual, many in the media accused Greenpeace of scaremongering.
Here’s a bottle of Antarctic (Larsen) meltwater I asked the team to collect for me. A bit dusty and sitting on my shelf here in England. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the Larsen Ice Shelf has ended up somewhere in the ocean, getting warmer and warmer.
Today Scotland votes on independence from the UK and politicians of all stripes are calling it the ‘most momentus decision that any Scot will ever take’. To be honest I doubt it, whichever way it goes. What a shame that they can’t muster up as much interest in a vote to keep the ice intact. And how tragic that the only ice-water left may one day be in such bottles.