Thom Yorke releases track in support of campaign for vast Antarctic Sanctuary

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has released a solo track in support of Greenpeace’s campaign for a vast Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. The haunting song, entitled Hands Off The Antarctic, is set to stark black-and-white footage of Antarctic landscapes and wildlife, gathered during a three-month Greenpeace research expedition earlier his year. Campaigners lit up London’s Marble Arch on Tuesday night with a stunning animated 3D projection of Antarctic wildlife to launch the track, which was live-streamed on Greenpeace and Radiohead Facebook pages. 

“There are some places on this planet that are meant to stay raw and wild and not destroyed by humanity’s footprint,” Thom Yorke said. “This track is about stopping the relentless march of those heavy footsteps. The Antarctic is a true wilderness and what happens there affects us all. That’s why we should protect it.”

See the official video below:

At 1.8 million square kilometres, this sanctuary for penguins, whales and other Antarctic wildlife would be the largest protected area on Earth. Two million people globally have called for its creation when governments at the Antarctic Ocean Commission meet this month.

Music for the Antarctic

‘Hands off the Antarctic’ is part of a series of musical performances and songs written worldwide calling for the protection of Antarctic waters. As well as a host of live music performances, artists using their music to celebrate and raise awareness of the Antarctic, include:

  • British band, Penguin Cafe, has composed four new pieces, each inspired by a species of Antarctic Penguin
  • US musician, Alison Sudol, launched the first single from her new album with a video created from footage she gathered while in the Antarctic with Greenpeace
  • Electronic duo Eku Fantasy, featuring Metronomy’s Olugbenga Adelekan and producer Jumping Back Slash (Gareth Jones) last week released a new track in support of the campaign.
  • Israeli composer, Kutiman, live-streamed a solo performance in which he played dozens of different instruments.

“The Antarctic doesn’t have a voice,” said Frida Bengtsson, of Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign, “but we are a movement of two million people and we do.”

“We’ve seen around the world what happens when we don’t put areas off-limits to human activity. This vast wilderness is more fragile than we might think and plays an important role for the planet’s climate and ocean systems. When governments meet over the next two weeks, they have an opportunity to make history. Millions of people from around the world are urging them to seize this moment.”

The proposal for the vast sanctuary, in the Antarctic’s Weddell Sea, is on the table when governments meet at the Antarctic Ocean Commission in Hobart, Tasmania, between 22 October – 2 November. It would be five times the size of Germany and would be a safe haven for penguins, seals and whales to recover from the pressures of climate change, pollution and overfishing. The campaign has gained the support of over two million people, including celebrities and politicians, as well as the backing of nearly the entire krill fishing industry which operates in Antarctic waters.

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