In mid-September, the Russian government seized the Arctic Sunrise, the flagship Greenpeace icebreaker focused on drawing attention to the impact of climate change in the Earth’s most polar regions. As of the date of this publishing, 20 of the 30 of the Arctic Sunrise’s crew have been released from captivity, most on bail, a few of judicial release. Since the initial seizing, Greenpeace and its supporters, including LA-based Urgency Network, have worked tirelessly to spread the plight of the Arctic 30 through various media campaigns, including #SavetheArctic. Last week, Portugal. the Man teamed up with Urgency Network to put on an intimate show to a crowd of 150 at San Francisco’s 21st century learning laboratory, The Exploratorium. Rabbits Black had the unique opportunity to talk to John Gourley and Zach Carothers of Portugal. the Man to learn why they are so passionate about Saving the Arctic.

portugal the man interview san francisco

Kat Clark, an organizer for Greenpeace based out of San Francisco, took Rabbits Black on a tour of Greenpeace’s newly minted Rainbow Warrior III, part of the multi-vessel fleet representing Greenpeace around the world. The Rainbow Warrior III currently boasts a crew of approximately 15, but can sleep up to 32. Whereas the Arctic Sunrise was focused on bringing environmental information about our polar caps, the Rainbow Warrior III helps Greenpeace work on conservation efforts. As the crew of all Greenpeace vessels think of one another as family more than coworkers, the men and women of the Rainbow Warrior III are deeply affected by the recent capture of the Arctic Sunrise.

The 30-member crew (including 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists) of the Arctic Sunrise was detained off the shores of Russia and charged with hooliganism for taking part in a peaceful protest at an Arctic offshore oilrig. In the two months that have transpired since the ship’s seizing, ten crewmembers still remain in detention. The majority of the now-free crew has been released on bail, in part because of Greenpeace’s fundraising efforts.

The Urgency Network is a start-up based out of Los Angeles, dreamt up by Donald Eley and Brandon Deroche. Their mission? “No good deed goes unrewarded.” The Urgency Network teams up with musicians to create a bridge between music fandom and social awareness. The Urgency Network supports and sponsors events and offers fans prizes (from a t-shirt to an all-expenses paid trip to see your favorite artist) for having a positive social impact. The more you do, the higher your chance of winning.

Here is where Portugal. the Man comes into the picture. As musicians with a solid following and a yet-to-be-formed conscientious message, Portugal. the Man have put their efforts behind The Urgency Network and Greenpeace. On Friday, November 15, The Urgency Network paired Portugal. the Man with Greenpeace to bring the Save the Arctic campaign to San Francisco.

The Top 10 reasons Gourley and Carothers believe you should become involved with Greenpeace and general social awareness:

  1. Portugal. the Man are, primarily, from Alaska and have witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of global warming.
  2. In their lifetime, Gourley and Carothers have watched as glaciers that once served as the backdrop to their playgrounds melted away into non-existence.
  3. The Permafrost, or lackthereof. Permafrost is an integral part of the Alaskan and Arctic environment, and as global temperatures increase, the Perfrast decreases, creating unknown and devastating impacts on the local ecology.
  4. Respect. One of the key messages Gourley and Carothers wish to send to their fans is the need for respect for all other living beings on the planet, including not only our fellow humans, but the living environment around us.
  5. The need to project goodness and ability to be mindful of the world around you.
  6. Fans of Portugal. the Man should carry their message by being conscientious of the world around them, including noticing environmental and human evils that permeate modern society.
  7. The native Alaskan community has relied on a steady environment for generations; they are now faced with adapting a centuries old culture to a modern catastrophe.
  8. Urgency Network specifically is a great platform for musicians, fans, and activists to unite and support a common cause.
  9. Portugal. the Man, like many of the band’s fans, are in a much more fortunate position than others in the world. It is a duty of the fortunate to aid those in less desirable circumstances.
  10. There are ten crewmembers of the Arctic Sunrise who remain in detention with no known date of release or bail.

Not everyone has the ability to become a full-time Greenpeace activist, but any effort you make will have a palpable positive impact, no matter the magnitude of your efforts. So how can you help?

  • Make a small monetary donation to Greenpeace or another charitable organization you believe in
  • Follow the latest news about the Arctic 30 to stay informed
  • Send a message to your friends and include the hashtags #SaveTheArctic and #FreeTheArctic30
  • Head over to the Urgency Network and start with a small positive impact, which could result in any number of positives in your life (in addition to the benefits you’ll feel from doing good)

Portugal. the Man released their eighth full-length album, Evil Friends, in June of this year.

This post was edited on November 21, 2013 at 9:30 am to correct Kat Clark’s name.

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