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13 year old Malaysian girl wins Greenpeace’s Flag for the Future Arctic competition

winner Sarah Bartrisyia of Malaysia

March 16, 2013

LONDON – Dame Vivienne Westwood, the world renowned fashion designer, has selected the winning flag design that will be planted on the seabed at the North Pole next month, closing the global competition run by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Greenpeace as part of Greenpeace’s campaign to Save the Arctic.

The contest inspired youth from around the world to create a flag that would symbolize peace, hope and global community, as a statement of the commitment of millions of people who have signed a petition to protect the Arctic from oil drilling and overfishing. The contest ran for three months and inspired designs from young people from 54 countries.

The winning design was submitted by Sarah Bartrisyia, a 13-year-old Girl Guide from Malaysia, whose winning entry featured seven brightly colored doves and an Arctic starflower. The seven doves, she said, represented each of the seven continents; each carrying an olive branch which when brought together formed a laurel wreath, a symbol of Arctic protection.

Sarah’s winning design will be produced as a titanium flag to be planted at the North Pole, four kilometres beneath the ice, and put on the seabed in a time capsule containing the signatures of millions of Arctic defenders. At the moment, no single country owns the international waters around the North Pole, but as climate change causes the sea ice to melt, countries and companies are moving in to exploit the resources including oil and fish in the Arctic Ocean.

“We need to protect the Arctic because it is the home of many indigenous peoples and many animal species. It should be declared a global sanctuary,” said Sarah.

"The creativity of young people is one of the most powerful tools we have to build a better world. The winning flag for the future is a fantastic representation of peace, hope and global community, and I am proud that it’s on the way to the North Pole,” said Dame Westwood.

The judging panel also included artists and atv presenter, as well as15-year-old Aishah Morshed, a Girl Guide from Ireland. Aishah is passionate about the environment, which she learns about through guiding, school and from regular visits to see family in Bangladesh where she has witnessed the impacts of climate change firsthand.

“I can’t bear to think of an Arctic without icebergs and polar bears; even though the North Pole is far from where I live, I feel a personal sense of responsibility to protect it, which I hope others will share and join the campaign to Save the Arctic,” Aishah said.

The Arctic is one of the last pristine places on earth, home to more than four million people as well as unique animals found nowhere else on the planet. Greenpeace is working with youth organizations like the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to ensure that this precious region is protected for generations to come.