Here is my (Jessica Bell’s) take on the top 10 activist stories of 2013, in no particular order. Let these victories be an antidote to cynicism, hopelessness and apathy. Activism works. Activists win. Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for 2014.   

1. Greenpeace’s Campaign to Free the Arctic 30

Earlier this year, Greenpeace activists attempted to board an oil platform to stop Russian oil company, Gazprom, from drilling in the Arctic. That was awesome enough. But what really kicked the Arctic campaign into high gear was Russia’s unwise decision to illegally detain and charge 30 activists who were on board Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship. Greenpeace turned a scary situation into a campaign opportunity (they kind of had to) and organized around the clock and around the world to pressure Russia to release their activists.  

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, set to begin in two months, this December Russia, in a bid to improve its human rights record, granted amnesty to 29 of the 30 Greenpeace activists. Russia also released two members of the feminist punk band, Pussy Riot. Canadian activists, Alexandre Paul of Montreal and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., were part of this amazing Greenpeace team.

Read about the other 9 awesome activist stories that made the top 10 here: