The air was abuzz this morning in Kiruna. As delegates and
press were mingling in the breakfast hall, Foreign Ministers were entering
their policed motorcades and a group of Greenpeace volunteers was making final
preparations to greet the decision makers with banners and signs along the
road. But in the midst of all this, we were honoured with a quiet yet very
In a branch of the hotel lobby we gathered with four
representatives of Arctic Indigenous Peoples; amongst them were Chief Michael
Stickman, International Chair of the Arctic Athabaskan Council, and James
Gamble, Interim Executive Director of the Aleut International Association, both
Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council, who received two of the I Love
Arctic photo books that we brought to Kiruna.
In support of the I Love Arctic project, Chief Bill Erasmus
of the Arctic Athabaskan Council carried four books with him into the Arctic
Council Ministerial meeting to distribute them on our behalf to the four
remaining Permanent Participants. We waved him goodbye in the cold air, warmed
by the sight of over 17,000 people’s hopes and dreams for the Arctic making
their way into the exclusive meeting.
Already yesterday, as delegates and Ministers were shuttled
from the airport to Kiruna's city centre, they were greeted by activists
presenting I Love Arctic photos on huge banners along the road.
Inspired by the events so far, we still had one goal to
fulfill: the handover of the books to the Arctic Council member states. Today's
final appointment was with the outgoing Chair of the Arctic Council Gustaf Lind
and the Danish Arctic Ambassador Klavs Holm, who received the last eight of the
I Love Arctic photo books.
Despite the weak
outcome of the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting, which was full of nice
words, yet failed to sufficiently address pressing issues like greenhouse gas
emissions of the Arctic States, Black Carbon or the real risks of Arctic oil
drilling with concrete plans of action, we leave tomorrow knowing that the call
of our ever-growing global movement for the Arctic was heard loud and clear in
Bringing the voices of people across the globe to the Arctic
Council meeting was an important milestone. The struggle to save the Arctic and
the future of our planet is a marathon, not a sprint. Together we celebrate the
culmination of our achievements - tomorrow it's back to work.