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Russia, Greenpeace and the Tragedy of Indifference

I was going to write this on Thursday morning just gone but, as always, other things invariably got in the way and before you could say Gazprom, it was Friday afternoon and I was out in the car with my two dogs. I was driving to a local area where I could let the dogs off-the-lead and run around and enjoy doing what dogs do! Whilst driving, I was listening to Drive Time on BBC Radio 5. Peter Allen was recounting some of the day’s news events. Normally, when I listen most things tend to go in one ear and out the next. However, he got my full attention when he stated that Russian authorities were applying for an extension to hold the Greenpeace activists, who were arrested on September 19 while protesting about oil exploration in the Arctic, for a further three months! If you aren’t familiar with the events surrounding this outrageous seizure of people and assets, then the article Russian Military Storm Greenpeace Arctic Oil Protest Ship published by The Guardian newspaper on September 19 provides a sufficient contextual background, as does Greenpeace Artic 30 Face Russian Jail Extension published November 15. This behaviour by the Russian authorities was and is nothing more than an egregious acts of national self-righteousness befitting of any self-respecting pariah state!

Now, while the dogs were running around and sniffing this and that, tails wagging with happy contentment, I kept mulling over the matter, and as I did so, I got more and more angry. To be frank… I got pissed… really pissed! Not with Gazporm. Not with the indefensible destruction of the Arctic. Not even with the Russians and their ever obvious penchant for corruption. No, I was pissed with the average man on the street. Ever selfish and self-serving, and not in the least bit concerned with the matter of 30 Greenpeace activists languishing in a Russian jail. Just sheer bloody indifference! I concede that for most folk out there in the wider world, many have more pressing and immediate matters to contend with, but that being said, there are millions upon millions of people who could, if it weren’t too much of an effort or inconvenience, prise their butts out of the sofa and actually do something meaningful for the benefit of all!

When I was younger I was always spouting my opinion here, there, and everywhere, but like most folk, I never ever got round to actually getting up to go and do something about it. There was always some excuse; things to do; not enough time; I won’t make a difference, and so on. Then one day I took the plunge and joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare. I became an activist and demonstrator. It goes without saying that my activities were most definitely not on the same par as those from the Arctic Sunrise, incarcerated in Russia. Nor were they even remotely akin to those other Greenpeace heroes who crew the Rainbow Warrior or Esperanza, or to those who hung perilously from Rio’s Cristo Redentor in selfless acts of insane bravery simply to highlight the plight of our fragile Earth. Heroes all. Without fear or favour, driven by passion, they act on our behalf. But we really don’t have to leave everything up to others. In a world hell bent on self-annihilation and environmental collapse there really is no more room for indifference. We  can all have a role to play if we so choose. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture. My proudest moment was in 1989. Along with other activist from across the European Economic Community, as it was then, I traveled to Brussels and, following instruction form Hot Lips Hooulihan – Loretta Swit from M*A*S*H cheered at the friends of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and conversely, booed at its foes. That morning important legislation was passed regarding the culling of seals and in the afternoon, further legislation was passed to augment the ban in the trade of ivory amongst member states. I believe that in some way, the resulting hoarseness was worth every yell; that I and all the others present helped bring change about. Now I don’t expect folk to start traveling across their respective continents to protest in favour of the Arctic Sunrise activists. I fully understand that for some, such a proposition is completely impossible. But as I said, we can all do something. A simple email or letter is just as important as a dinghy criss-crossing the bow of whaling ship.

There are very few folk in this world who are prepared to risk everything and deliberately place themselves into harms way in defense of this planet. When they do so, they do so for all of us. They do so for me. They do so for you. They do so for our children.  This planet has few guardians and we, all of us, owe them our support.  The Greenpeace activists currently languishing in jail are there on our behalf. They need our help. Indifference is no longer an option. We cannot simply turn a blind eye and just assume that things will simply get better. So all I ask is that you do just one simple thing. If you live in the United Kingdom, please take a moment and go to the Greenpeace petition webpage. Just click here or on the link or image below.

Please add your signature.

I really cannot emphasis enough just how important your participation is to this petition. Your signature is invaluable. Once done, please share this petition with as many folk as you can and make make them aware of the facts. Copy this link and send it to your friends:


If you are elsewhere in our world, simply look up Greenpeace International or visit Greenpeace on YouTube to find out how you can help the Arctic Sunrise activists.

For a full account of the events as they effect the activists please visit: Latest Updates form the Arctic Sunrise Activists

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, we can all do something whether it’s to help the activists or to bring about change in some other matter. Be heard. Send emails and write letters. They do have positive effects; they are vitally important. I am a prolific letter writer and e-mailer. It brings a cheeky grin to my face to think that I am probably a thorn in several backsides but hey, I do what I can!

Greenpeace 2

One comment on “Russia, Greenpeace and the Tragedy of Indifference

  1. As an afterthought. We all know that money rules. If enough of us could convince our local bar owners to stop serving Russian alcohol I’m sure that someone would raise an eyebrow in Russia. Simply boycott Russian goods.

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