Thompson was in Longyearbyen this Saturday with her daughter Gaia Wise, Canadian actor Michelle Trush and her daughter Imajyn Cardinal.
"I am not an activist. I'm only human. The dream is that in 100 years we can point out that this was a turning point," Thompson said. She is a member of Greenpeace, has Oscar and Golden Globe awards on the shelf at her home in London, and has nearly 40 films to her credit as an actress and screenwriter.
Along for the ride were multiple camera teams, capturing her efforts to to draw attention to global warming.
In the fjord lay the Greenpeace ship Esperanza waiting. Early in the afternoon the group set out for a voyage around Svalbard.
"We will show them how beautiful the place is and put a spotlight on the vulnerable nature that is in danger of being destroyed by oil drilling in the Arctic," said Vladimir Votjakov, captain of the Esperanza. "The idea is that they will blog, take pictures and share on social media along the way."
Wise, Thompson, Cardinal and Trush will ensure international attention – across generations.
"I will see with my own eyes what is happening and tell about it," Wise said.
"I am noting and remembering everything I see, for who knows if I will see it again when I come back," Cardinal said.
'Be responsible, Lund'
The party of four is highly critical of the oil industry. The latter has never drilled farther north on the Norwegian side of the Barents Sea than now, with Statoil reaching nearly 74 degrees latitude north with drilling rigs a few dozen kilometers south of Bjørnøya. Greenpeace is also criticizing the Norwegian oil company for pushing recklessly in the Arctic. In addition, the oil industry is mapping the continental shelf around Svalbard.
"Everyone should stop oil drilling," Thompson said. "It is not good enough to say that jobs will disappear, for at the same time there will come new ones with alternative energy. This is not sustainable. Oil companies are involved in bringing about less ice and now they want to move after the ice."
What would she say to Statoil CEO Helge Lund if she met him?
"How can you logically, rationally defend what you do?" Thompson said before going aboard the ship. "Be a guide, be a role model, be responsible. Use all the power of renewable energy."
Greenpeace and the Esperanza was also in the spotlight earlier this summer. The environmental organization brought its ship to rest at the position where the Transocean Spitsbergen oil rig was planning to conduct exploratory drilling near Bjørnøya as Greenpeace protesters boarded the drilling rig itself. The incident ended with the protesters being removed from the rig and the Esperanza being towed away.
Is Greenpeace planning any actions during this trip?
"No, this is mostly about raising money and support," Votjakov said.
The plan, according to Greenpeace, was to sail around Svalbard – not just Spitsbergen – but a large amount of ice will make it impossible to sail past Nordaustlandet. Ice is packed in against the land there and is being forced inwards due to northerly winds.