Firstly, I would like to thank all the people who are supporting the Greenpeace campaign in the Arctic with their letters, warm words and other deeds. Thanks to this, we feel we are not just a group of activists but a million people unhappy with progressive environmental degradation.
Nowadays, environmental protection demands more courageous actions. ‘Liking’ on Facebook sometimes proves to be insufficient. In order to protect what is valuable for us, we have to undertake further actions. Our planet is the only one we have for the time being and we cannot buy a second one for any money. Money is important for all of us but let us not forget that it is merely a virtual product of civilization and it will not give us back extinct species of plants and animals, clean air and cut-down forests.
We live in times in which values important to citizens are more and more often trodden on and disrespected and a country which is supposed to protect them, protects the interests of corporations and different interest groups instead. These are times when you can go to prison for protection of the environment and appear in the ranking of the world’s wealthiest people and on magazine covers for bank fraud.
As you know, I am one of the Arctic 30. I’m an employee of a cultural institution, a husband to my wonderful wife, a volunteer in a few organizations. I consider myself an active person, who is interested in what is going on and who likes to have an influence on his own environment.
In the housing cooperative I try to support other residents, in Gdańskie Towarzystwo Promocji Kultury Akademickiej, together with the students, we organise different cultural projects around the University of Gdańsk as well as the city of Gdańsk. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent local non-governmental organisations in the cultural policies of Gdańsk. Greenpeace on the other hand, as an international organisation, allows me to act on a global scale. Thanks to this, I feel fulfilled both in the micro- and macro-scale of my civic duties towards my neighbourhood, city and planet.
I do not conceal that I consider the activity of ecological organisations, e.g. Greenpeace, to be the most important and demanding of the most attention. These actions concern all of us: our parents, children and future generations. There is a proverb by Native American Crees which became a motto of Greenpeace: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” Even though today we are called “freaks” and “eco-terrorists”, if nothing changes in terms of our approach to nature, the world will unfortunately understand the meaning of that Cree proverb someday.
The Russian prosecutors have gone beyond all reason and charged a group of ecologists trying to hang a banner with one of the most serious criminal offences in Russia, subject to 15-year prison sentence.
I remember the moment when the border guards, after taking over the Arctic Sunrise, hooked up a line to haul us away to Murmansk. Suddenly, after a rain shower, a double rainbow appeared on the sky. This may sound pompous but in this difficult and stressful situation it was everything we needed. Mother Nature was with us, giving us a clear sign.
I hope that this story will end happily and our fate will not discourage the next generation of activists to take action to protect the environment. I am proud of my fellows from all non-governmental organisations. I think they are people with the great sense of responsibility who are able to devote their time, very often their career, to higher, noble goals.
I believe that thanks to the activity of Greenpeace many people will look at the world from another perspective. The world is interesting and exotic, full of beautiful nature and it is not worth wasting one’s life sitting at home in front of a computer. We have one life, longer or shorter, and at its end I would like to leave something greater and much more useful than a pile of waste on the urban rubbish dump.
With greetings from snowy and winter Russia,