I ♥ Arctic Global Day of Action Toolkit

Thousands of people will come together on April 20th to form human banners spelling out I ♥ Arctic. Greenpeace supporters worldwide will call on international political decision makers. Here in the US we will call on the Secretary of State, John Kerry, to protect the Arctic from activities that put this fragile environment at risk, such as oil drilling and industrial fishing.

If you want to contribute to this global mobilization by organizing a heart shaped human banner in your local community, this toolkit provides everything you need.

1. Why save the Arctic? The case for Arctic protection

The burning of fossil fuels is driving catastrophic climate change causing the Arctic to melt at an unprecedented rate. Instead of seeing the melting Arctic as a warning, big oil companies see it as an opportunity to drill for more oil, which will only continue to fuel climate change.

These oil companies want to continue to drill in the Arctic waters, without sufficient plans on how they would clean up an oil spill. The problem is oil companies can’t develop this plan - extreme weather conditions and sea-ice will make it impossible to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean.

The exploration of Arctic oil puts one of the last remaining pristine wildernesses of our planet at the risk of major oil spills. At the same time it fuels more climate change, threatening the livelihood of millions of people all over the world.

For the future of people and planet, protecting the Arctic is one of the defining struggles of our time - this is why we will come together all across the globe on April 20th to demand Arctic protection from international political decision makers and specifically, Secretary of State, John Kerry.

2. Planning and registering an I ♥ Arctic event

The I ♥ Arctic global day of action is all about taking a large “I ♥ Arctic” human banner photo on April 20th. Along with the human banner photo we recommend hosting Arctic- themed events to combine a fun day with calling for action from international political decision makers and specifically, Secretary of State John Kerry.

You could host an Arctic-themed rally, a concert, potluck, and invite local leaders to speak about the Arctic - but no matter what you do, make sure to take an “I ♥ Arctic” photo at some point during your I ♥ Arctic event. This is so important because the photos are the primary way we will link up actions worldwide, telling our story to John Kerry and other international political decision makers.

Part of the beauty of I ♥ Arctic human banners across the globe will be the variety and creativity of the photos themselves. All of the human banners will spell out “I ♥ Arctic” but there is no limit to creativity! You could for example choose an iconic location, ask participants to hold up props like red balloons, ask participants to dress up or wear a specific color, or mobilize very specific groups of people.

3. Spreading the word and recruiting others

Recruit your friends, neighbors, and local organizations to assist and join you in sponsoring and organizing your I ♥ Arctic April 20th event. Think outside the box about who to reach out to - maybe the local church, mosque, synagogue, labor union, sports team, university, or arts cooperative would be interested in getting involved. Send out emails, create an event on Facebook, make and put up posters all over town, write editorials for local newspapers, get on the local radio station, ask organizations to include the action information in newsletters and bulletins. You want as many individuals and organizations to join you on April 20th. The bigger the photo and the more people involved the better! Need help with recruiting others to join you? We’ve lots of tips for you here LINK

4. Running a great event

Take care of your event’s logistical details as soon as you can (ask folks you have recruited to help out with the details). Depending on your event, the important things to consider include the timing of the actual I ♥ Arctic human banner photo, directions, transportation, bathrooms, sound system, permits for use of public spaces, sponsorships, alternative scenarios for bad weather, entertainment for children, snacks and drinks supply, etc.

5. How to make a human banner

The I ♥ Arctic human banners will be a powerful, expressive tactic to convey our call for Arctic protection to the Secretary Kerry and other world leaders. Here are five basic steps to make the heart take shape:
  • Recruit enough people to be able to form a ♥ - a smaller heart can already be done with 20 or 30 people, and there’s of course no upper limit to how big a heart can get! You don’t have to spell out the words “I” and/or “Arctic” (you can if you would like). Most people will simply use banners to do this. You can find tips about how to best produce these banners in the resources section.
  • Have a good location (space, view point, iconic background) and a camera that will allow you to get a nice bird’s eye view picture. The view point for the photo is very important. We aim for bird’s eye view style photos, so think tall buildings, ladders, or cherry pickers. Make sure to visit and test out the location before the actual event and photo.
  • Have a plan to quickly organize participants into the ♥ shape. Don't be afraid to get creative with your ♥!
  • Communication will be very important, make sure you have a way to communicate with a person on the ground and the photographer. We suggest cell phones, two-way radios, a megaphone, or a sound system with a wireless mic that allows you to talk to your participants from your birds eye viewpoint.
Remember, this is activism and activism is supposed to be fun so don't stress too much about making the ♥ shape perfect.

6. A guide on how to engage media

Holding an event is great, but holding an event your community and the world hears about is even better! This is why it's important to contact local and regional media to make sure they report on your I ♥ Arctic human banner and event. Think about what print, radio, television, and blogs you'd want to cover your event and start getting in touch now!

7. A social frenzy

From the Egyptian uprising to Occupy Wall Street, Twitter is an amazing tool for activism. Leading up to and during The April 20th I Love Arctic Day of Action events, we'll ask Greenpeace supporters to tweet at Secretary of State, John Kerry (@JohnKerry) using the hashtag #ILoveArctic. Our tweets will tell John Kerry that Americans all over the country have organized to show their love for the Arctic. Tweet your photos to @JohnKerry with the hashtag #ilovearctic and join thousands of others in a Twitterstorm before and on April 20th.

8. Report back

This part is very important: as soon as your I ♥ Arctic event is over, be sure to select your best I ♥ Arctic human banner photo and send the original file to with the subject: [country, city, # of people involved] In the email please also include your contact information.

This is so important because we need your picture to be able to deliver the strongest possible message to the political decision makers in the Arctic Council.

Good Luck Arctic Defenders! Let's make the magic happen!

Your I ♥ Arctic team at Greenpeace


I Love the Arctic: Background Briefing (PDF)

I Love the Arctic: How to Make Human Banner (PDF)

I Love the Arctic: Recruitment Plan (PDF)

I Love the Arctic: Event Checklist (PDF)

I Love the Arctic: Media Kit (PDF)