Breaking: Lucy Lawless and Greenpeace climbers board Arctic-bound Shell oil drillship

Posted by bex — 23 February 2012 at 8:26pm - Comments

LIVE: Greenpeace activists are taking direct action against Shell's plans to drill the Arctic for oil. Follow the action live and support them by sending your own message to Shell CEO Peter Vosser.

Right now Greenpeace activists are stopping a Shell drill ship from leaving the Port of Taranaki in New Zealand for the Arctic.

Climbers - including actress Lucy Lawless - have scaled the rig's drill derrick and set up camp, equipped with enough gear to last for days.

Using a solar-powered laptop, our brave activists will be posting updates and photos to the a live feed on the Greenpeace NZ home page.

They are asking you to join them - by sending a message to Shell demanding it stays out of the Arctic.

Here's why:

This is an industry that sees its own demise on the horizon. To survive it is prepared to go to the ends of the earth and take extreme risks in search of the last drops of oil. From the Great South Basin below New Zealand to the far reaches of the Arctic, nothing is sacred to Big Oil.

So we have to act.

Shell's planned incursion into the Arctic signals the beginning of an Arctic oil rush that could cause irreparable harm to this fragile frozen world and its inhabitants.

A major oil spill in the Arctic would be an environmental disaster. Experts say it would be virtually impossible to clean up, due to the harsh weather conditions and the sheer lack of vessels and infrastructure in the area. More than 6,000 vessels were pulled in to deal with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and even so only a meagre 17% of the oil was recovered. The US Coast Guard has made clear there is no way they could deploy thousands of vessels to deal with a blow-out in the Arctic.

The Arctic's already under huge pressure from climate change. Temperatures are rising faster there than anywhere else on earth and the ice is melting rapidly.

If we're going to have any hope of keeping a lid on climate change then we have to leave Arctic oil in the ground. We can't watch the ice retreat then watch the oil giants send in their rigs. This is a fight for our survival.

That's why we can't let this drill ship get to the Arctic. The stakes couldn't be higher.

Shell and the other oil giants need to hear this message loud and clear from people all around the world - the Arctic is off-limits to your oil rigs.

Take action now and send a message to Shell's CEO Peter Vosser at

With Xena on our side we cannot lose :)

Why not commit yourself (unequivocally and very publicly) to refrain from breeding for your entire life? i.e. Keep out of maternity wards. Then shut them down. Sack all obstetricians and midwives. Make medical fertilisation of women illegal and punishable by lengthy prison sentences.

If you and all your friends do that we will not have to worry about oil exploration. A rapidly falling world population is what will stop it stone dead.

Much more effective that all that Arctic posturing.

Simple, and you can do it without getting your photo taken in the arctic, and burning fossil fuel to get there!

Here is a message to "our brave activists". Be REALLY brave and tackle human overpopulation. OK, just talk about it. Mention it. Occasionally.

Not nearly as much fun as a free adventure holiday though.


Here is a preview of the front page story on a new sunday paper, coming out this week.

Lucy and the "brave warriors" all agree to be sterilised in the name of saving the earth. They consider that this is the single most practical thing to do. Beats meaningless posturing any day.

The sterilisations are absolutely free as part of the government's "Voluntary Sterilisation for the Planet" progremme.

See you on Sunday.



Regardless of the two earlier posts, by people who are clearly and deliberately ignoring the point, this is one of the most serious issues the world faces today. Nobody can go out and cull the human population: it will look like mass murder. While it's true that human beings do need to stop breeding, this article is about the Arctic. It's the planet's final frontier. We can't allow its destruction, not after what has already been done to our beautiful ancient forests and oceans just in the name of consumerism and money.

Only the people, united in their determination to stop this destruction, can win this battle. It's time to take a stand and heal the wounds we've dealt to our Mother. 

I totally agree that ruining our planet for a few extra years of dirty oil is not a fair price and groups like Greenpeace should increase the pressure on governments to curtail the oil companies dangerous activities.

Clean nuclear is the only way to go.  Kudos to the UK government for finally taking action and commissioning new reactors.  We need to pour money and expertise into researching ways to clean up nuclear and to get fusion working.  There is no other way.  An infinite amount of windmills and solar panels will not provide the power the world's billions require and short of mass extinction, what else is there to do?

Thank you to Lucy Lawless and the courageous Greenpeace activists who are stopping the New Zealand oil rig from getting to the Arctic. I can't believe we have to continue this discussion after the Exxon Valdez spill and the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil corporations only see profits as their vision, no matter what the consequences. This is my way to stop the madness by supporting Greenpeace's action now.

Cannot believe the derogatory comments! Keep up the good work.We have to stop using oil and go for clean renewables, not nuclear.Overpopulation is a big issue, but education and adequate provision of family planning and sexual health is the main answer to that one.Congratulations to the brave activists!          

Sad that Jarvis has to use this forum for his own posturing. John Sauven, head of Greenpeace UK, has written on the subject of population growth in Greenpeace publications (you have read those, haven't you Jarvis?) and Greenpeace routinely uses wind,solar and sustainably sourced biodiesel to the maximum possible extent to minimise its carbon footprint when campaigning ( you know that too, don't you Jarvis?). Making a stand for what many people believe is right is not posturing, Jarvis. Even the biggest corporations can be shamed into doing what is right if enough people stand up and denounce them, and it is often just a handful of brave people who begin that shift.

Doubly sad that oil companies such as Shell and BP, whose previous CEOs had agreed the need to move away from oil and who had very publicly signalled their intention to invest strongly in renewables, have back tracked and are now risking the viability of future generations in a reckless assault on the world's last reserves of fossil fuels. Those who finance this damage to the environment need to examine their consciences - and that includes many of the general public, through their ISAs and pension funds. Do you know where your pension money is invested (if you are fortunate enough to have a pension pot)? Some commentators of the investment scene are saying that if we want "responsible capitalism", then we all need to get involved if we want our money not to be spent on exorbitant bonuses or ethically dodgy schemes. Is part of your pension pot invested in Shell, and do you remember what happened to BP's share price after the Gulf of Mexico disaster?


God bless Greenpeace.

[Growing global populations primarily come from poverty developed by the industrial and colonial powers.]

The industrial world's two main afflictions are: The exploitation of people and planet required by capitalism - I don't believe that capitalism can have a truly responsible dimension; Waste on a vast scale - note that a vessel being prepared for activity in the North polar circle is being prepared and will travel from New Zealand!!

(Apologies if you've read this following bit before, but I feel it it needs repeating from time to time)

Exploration and extraction of oil comes from markets - that's us - for the black stuff.  Sixty (yes, 60) percent of non-transport energy is wasted (that's us again!).  Billions of electrical devices using transformers, LED lights, motors, light-bulbs etc are left running or switched on when there's no one there using them - that's us not around!  Billions more bits of property, unrepaired or not reused, are sent to anywhere that will 'dispose' of them'.  Landfill is a very handy, positive term!

When we Really start to tackle this unbelievable - above figures won't be believed by most people even though it's true - waste of the planets resources and the associated exploitation of low/non industrialised people, then we will truly be protecting the Arctic and millions of other vulnerable places on planet Earth.

Chris A.

Greenpeace Supporter


Dear Lucy Lawless Team

I applaud you action in taking this personal risk to send a
message and stand up for your beliefs, our beliefs in a non violent, but
nevertheless singularly effective way.

It is not enough for like minded people to agree that anything
is wrong and should not be allowed to proceed over coffee at home. Unless those
who make these decisions are made aware of the extent of public opinion and
there are demonstrable consequences for their actions, then nothing will

Demonstrable consequences have to include pressure on
governments and politicians, commercial consequences through boycotts, bad
publicity and operational inconvenience such as Lucy Lawless and her team are

Once upon a time everyone was busy in the fields all day trying
to put food on the table. Nowadays we are busy earning money all day to
accomplish the same imperatives. This makes it difficult to find the time and
resources to oppose all the many actions of the few that are so often self
serving and have little to do with altruism and the needs of the many. A poor
education and deliberate withholding of information that should be in the
public domain and is certainly in the public interest makes it very difficult
to know what is going on and to effectively combat things we are opposed to in
time to make a difference.

Add to this the wealth of powerful organizations, the hijacking
of the legal system that is often constructed to the needs and benefit of powerful
organizations, and not nearly enough in the interests of the majority, and it
becomes a very uneven contest at present. This makes the contributions like
that of Lucy Lawless and her companions invaluable, not least for its uplifting
effect on the majority, but it is regrettable that people must take these kinds
of personal risks to have any likelihood of combating the self interest of
powerful organizations.

I don't know whether international law imposes any liability and
consequences for accidents in international waters, but drilling for oil in the
Arctic has to be one of the most flagrantly risky ventures we have ever
witnessed. We have seen the consequences of the Exxon Valdez disaster and have
yet to fully appreciate the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Considering we recognize that accidents happen whether they
should or not, it is breathtakingly reckless to take these same risks in a
place that is at one of the three extremes of human ability to accomplish
anything safely, the bottom of the oceans, outer space and the polar regions.

Any mid winter disaster in the Polar Regions is likely to go
unaddressed until the arrival of the polar spring. Crude oil could gush into
the environment and ocean(s) for up to 6 months, damaging and destroying
ecosystems, habitat and wildlife alike, not to mention displacing human
population for one or more generations.

If the disaster is entirely the responsibility of a small
company, their well or platform may put as much contaminant into the environment
as a big company's well or rig, but they won't have the resources to deal with
a disaster under the best of circumstances, let alone on the scale of one in
the Arctic. They may have to abandon cleanup to a larger company, and that
might not occur until the government of the nation which registered the company
signs a cleanup agreement with a large oil company, committing the respective
taxpayers to another super fund bill.

As far as I am aware there have been no talks and certainly no
binding agreements between the world's governments about how such a disaster
will be dealt with. Left unchecked for months, some of the contamination will
spread southwards on currents and driven by winds, and eventually affect the
coastlines of many nations. The remainder, whatever cannot be cleaned up, which
could be most of it, will probably desecrate the Arctic for at least decades.
The organisms which consume oil may not exist in the cold regions of the
Arctic, and the clumping and coagulating effect of the cold may create floating
oil islands of tar.

This has nothing to do with the supply and cost of oil today or
the availability of oil and world stability or social upheaval in the future.
It is purely and simply about commercial exploitation of a new wilderness area,
because global warming and climate change in the Arctic has made this possible
for the first time since the dawn of the age of oil. It is about what oil
companies do - drill for oil, not about what they could do now and in the
future with respect to energy production, if they chose to.

If nobody does anything, Big Oil will do what they always do,
drill and plunder, with only as much care for the ecosystem and environment as
they are legally forced to take in most cases.

Until human consciousness is fully awake and the combined voice
of our billions call for action consistent with the needs and interests of the
majority, and of the planet, we rely heavily on the actions of dedicated and
courageous groups like Lucy's.

Thanks and my very best wishes for a successful outcome go with
this message from Cardiff in Wales to all of you.





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