Oil drilling in the Arctic (Photo: GettyImages)Environmental activists Greenpeace have launched a campaign aimed to "save the Arctic. "Greenpeace is campaigning for the United Nations to declare the Arctic ocean a sanctuary, much like the Antarctic.
Over 50.000 had signed the petition on Friday.

Although the Arctic is an ocean, surrounded by countries, the opposite of the Antarctic which is a continent surrounded by oceans, Greenpeace is adamant the Arctic needs to be saved.

"The Arctic is under threat. As you read this, oil companies and politicians are plotting to carve up the icy north, extending their national territories and searching for drill sites. But with your help, we can draw a line in the ice and put the Arctic out of the polluters' reach – forever," the Greenpeace website reads.

Greenpeace is aiming for a million signatures on their website and already have the backing of several famous people, among them Paul McCartney, Penelope Cruz and Robert Redford.

Before Greenpeace has criticized the ongoing Rio+20 summit as an "epic failure".

"The fightback starts here," said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International to the BBC. "The Arctic is coming under assault, and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it. A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region and the four million people who live there."

This is not the first petition to "save the Arctic," proposals date back to the 1970s, but have never gained political traction.

In 2007, acting under instruction from Moscow, explorer Artur Chilingarov planted a Russian flag on the seabed beneath the pole, laying claim to the area.

The Greenpeace action aims to counteract that by planting a scroll signed by at least a million people in the same place, claiming it as a sanctuary.