Third Annual Ambassadors Dinner on environmental issues, hosted by Slava Foundation and National Geographic Society took place on 13 June in Moscow. Ambassadors from 26 countries came together to discuss environmental challenges and solutions. UN Environment Patron for Polar Regions Viacheslav Fetisov delivered the following speech calling for protection of the North Pole’s glaciers.
Your Excellences, dear friends,
It is a great honor for me to be speaking to you today.
Thank you for coming.
The planet that we share is in big trouble. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand. Even a hockey player understands. When I was a kid – I was out on the ponds, rivers here in Moscow – skating every day, every winter. Now that is impossible. You can’t use skates – you need a bathing suit.
All of you understand. My friend Ambassador Nomasonto Maria Sibanda-Thusi from South Africa, she understands. The drought in Cape Town cries out very loud. We all can hear it.
My friend Ambassador Gerardo Penalver Portal – he understands – there have been a series of destructive storms attacking Cuba – a type no one has seen before.
The world is punching us in the face. When we play hockey there could be no passengers on the team. Or we lost. On our planet, there can be no passengers. For passengers there is something waiting. Something very hot. It is going to be our home made hell – hell in temperature, hell morally and spiritually.
But – we have a chance to win. If we all try.
So next year, together with the UN Environment Program, the National Geographic Society, the Vatican and the Arctic Council nations we will organize the first hockey game on the North Pole. It is a global call for action about the climate change that is happening in this region, a region that has influence on all of us, on the whole planet. We will join together as sportsmen, sports woman and world citizens in a game in which we all will be winners.
This game is a difficult mission:
- It’s a huge task to build the right teams – on the ice and diplomatically and scientifically;
- I was told that it is impossible to get all the Arctic Council members involved – but they have all endorsed the project. Tonight we have Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Iceland. But everyone is supporting us;
- The logistics will be tough but we will solve that too.
We will organize the game so it gets the most attention and organize it in the most responsible way – so it has minimal effect on the North Pole and respects our planet.
This game is just a symbol. But it is a symbol of our concern, our commitment and the start of our cooperation – wherever we are – to work together to save our world.
You see in the streets around you – the spirit that the World Cup can bring to us all. To those of you who have teams here – good luck!
But more important – I ask you to join me – as we make our own luck – all over the world. To save the world that we love.
In fact we have some ice here, in the next room. Symbolically – it is plastic ice. The real ice would melt – just like the North Pole. But if you want to join me and my hockey stick – we can start practicing today. And if you want to join us at the North Pole I will teach you to skate.
Let us every day work together.