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Greenpeace is working toward a day when all of the beautiful, fragile Arctic is set aside as a protected sanctuary.

It is already embattled by global warming, warming faster than any other region on the planet. And it is already under siege by greedy oil companies like Gazprom, with Shell and Exxon creeping up on it.

We need to urge companies and governments that the Arctic is off limits. Drilling in the Arctic might achieve short term profits for Shell now, but it will saddle the rest of us with catastrophic debt through climate change and the ‘clean-up’ efforts after inevitable spills.

We need to support indigenous people who live in or near the the Arctic, as they have the most at stake in what happens. Greenpeace is committed to working in ways that protect their interests and livelihoods and to cooperating with indigenous movements authentically.

We need to provide strict protections for the species and ecosystems of the arctic, all of which are dangling very near to catastrophe as it is. Keeping the Arctic off limits to oil companies and creating an Arctic sanctuary are vital steps toward this protection. And it is within our reach.

An Arctic Sanctuary

The proposed Arctic Sanctuary is a highly protected area that will be off-limits to all extractive and destructive uses. It will cover the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean, beyond the 200 nautical mile limit of Arctic coastal states’ exclusive economic zones.

Within the Arctic Sanctuary, there will be no fishing, no military activity, and no exploration for or extraction of hydrocarbons or other minerals from the seabed. Strict environmental controls will apply to all shipping in this area. Although not all shipping activity will be prohibited. Heavy fuel oil use will not be allowed, a practice that is already adopted in Antarctic waters.

The proposed Arctic Sanctuary is large — roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea, but still only a tiny fraction of the entire Arctic Ocean. And it is incredibly remote, lying beyond the traditional lands and waters of Indigenous Peoples, yet fundamental to the survival of their ways of living.

You can join the over 6 million people who have called upon their governments and the international community to create a high seas Arctic sanctuary. We are going to win this one.

Shell Oil has already tried to drill in the Arctic. It went horribly wrong. Even if it made any rational sense to drill for a resource the world doesn't need in a place the world can’t afford to lose, would we trust careless oil companies with records of epic fails to do the job?

Greenpeace USA and our supporters are urging the Obama administration to put a moratorium on leases to drill in the Arctic and to suspend those already granted. And we are pushing back hard on Shell to keep them far away.

South Africa, India, Argentina, Italy, Canada, and the United States—one thing these countries have in common is that more 80% of their populations support the creation of Arctic sanctuaries.