Paul McCartney is one of the high-profile celebrities lending support to a new initiative by Greenpeace asking the United Nations to declare the Arctic region an ecological sanctuary. The environmental organization has drawn up a petition and is hoping to get one million people to sign the document, which calls for a ban on unsustainable commercial fishing and oil exploration in the world’s northernmost reaches.
Greenpeace is launching the campaign in reaction to the outcome of the United Nations’ Rio+20 summit, an international conference at which governmental groups and businesses discussed the integration of economic and environmental interests around the planet.
According to Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director, the summit failed to adequately focus on such topics as the importance of developing efficient energy and ending subsidies for companies that continue to exploit fossil fuels.
“The Arctic is coming under assault, and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it,” says Naidoo. “A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region.”
McCartney, meanwhile, issued a statement regarding his support of the campaign.
“It seems madness that we are willing to go to the ends of the earth to find the last drops of oil when our best scientific minds are telling us we need to get off fossil fuels to give our children a future,” says the Beatles legend. “At some time, in some place, we need to take a stand. I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic.”
Greenpeace plans to plant a copy of the petition with the names of all the people who signed it under the Arctic seabed at the same location that, in 2007, a Russian explorer planted a flag laying claim to the area in the name of his homeland. To find out more about Greenpeace’s initiative, visit SavetheArctic.org.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio