Celebrities have joined advocacy group Greenpeace in seeking a ban on oil drilling and excessive fishing in Arctic waters.
A ban would scuttle plans by ExxonMobil and Rosneft to extract petroleum there.
Paul McCartney, boy band One Direction and entrepreneur Richard Branson are among those named on a scroll calling for the ban, Amsterdam-based Greenpeace said Thursday during a news conference at the UN's Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.
Exxon, Rosneft and Royal Dutch Shell are among the companies seeking to drill for oil in the Arctic, which is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"It seems madness that we are willing to go to the ends of the Earth to find the last drops of oil when our best scientific minds are telling us we need to get off fossil fuels," McCartney in a statement. "We need to take a stand."
Greenpeace intends to collect 1 million names for the scroll, which will be planted on the seabed 4 kilometers below the ice at the North Pole.
Greenpeace activists occupied a Shell icebreaker in Finland in May to protest the company's plans to drill for oil off Alaska's north coast.
This month the company won authorization from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to disrupt animal habitats in the region, moving it closer to starting drilling in the area this year.