Vermont College Alum Suspended in Arctic Pod to Protest Oil Drilling Off Greenland (VIDEO) | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Vermont College Alum Suspended in Arctic Pod to Protest Oil Drilling Off Greenland (VIDEO) 

Published June 2, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.

***Update - Thursday, June 2***

After four days inside the arctic survival pod, McHardy and her fellow Greenpeace protesters today were forcibly removed from the oil rig and arrested by the Danish Navy, according to Greenpeace. Photo and video below.

Prepare to be boarded!

A 25-year-old graduate of Vermont's Sterling College is going to great lengths to protest deep-water drilling in the Arctic. Hannah McHardy is currently suspended in an "arctic survival pod" under an oil rig off the coast of Greenland with two other Greenpeace activists.

McHardy and her companions are hanging underneath Scottish firm Cairn Energy's massive Leiv Eiriksson oil rig, 100 miles west of the Greenland coast. They have enough food and water to last 10 days and are "demanding an end to reckless deep-water oil drilling."

And they're tweeting, blogging and v-logging the high-stakes hijacking in real time. In this clip, McHardy explains why she's doing it. (Spoiler alert: It's to prevent another environmental catastrophe like the Deep Water Horizon oil spill).


Seven Days readers will recall McHardy as the college grad who is researching whether fungi spores can help clean up the toxic mess left behind from an old asbestos mine in Eden. Now she's upped the ante with a daring exploit that's garnering international media attention.

The Greenpeace activists deployed the semi-submersible pod from one of two Greenpeace ships at the drilling site and attached it to the 53,000-ton oil rig on Monday.


Since then, McHardy and her cohorts have been posting regular updates from inside the pod.

McHardy blogged at 10 a.m. this morning:

The fog and snow has closed in around us and we can barely make out even the silhouettes of the Danish Navy ship and the Esperanza. We can’t see the other Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise but we know it’s not far away. I can’t tell you how good it is knowing we have so many amazing people nearby supporting us as we make a stand against oil drilling in the Arctic.

 She continued:

The rig seems to be preparing to drill but as long as our pod remains up and attached to the flare booms they will not be able to begin. We are prepared with food, water, and a book or two, to stay as long as we possibly can to stop Cairn Energy from beginning this dangerous and risky operation.

Right, that’s enough from us for now…time for tea!

In this video, McHardy gets a care package while aboard the pod.

A New Orleans native, McHardy graduated from Sterling in May 2010 with a degree in conservation ecology. At the age of 17, she founded the Seattle Rainforest Action Group to protect the region's endangered old-growth rainforest. Her work earned her the prestigious Brower Youth Award for young environmentalists from the California-based Earth Island Institute.

Click here for more photos, videos and live updates.

****Update - Thursday June 2****

McHardy and her the other Greenpeace protesters were taken into custody by the Danish Navy and their arctic survival pod was removed from undernearth the oil rig, where it had been suspended for four days.

Greenpeace posted this photo of a Danish Navy ship moving in on the pod, and this YouTube video about the incident.

On the video, the Greenpeace narrator says, "They're in jail but we'll continue to oppose the madness of drilling in this fragile and unique environment. Our campaign will go on until we get all companies out of the Arctic."

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Andy Bromage

Andy Bromage

Andy Bromage was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2012, and the news editor from 2012-2013.

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