Lucy Lawless: guilty, not sorry

Posted by Lucy Lawless — 15 June 2012 at 12:47pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: © Greenpeace
Activists at Auckland District Court

Several months ago, I found myself on the precipice of committing a crime. I was crouched in darkness with a bunch of Greenpeace activists, preparing to occupy a Shell drilling ship bound for the Arctic. I was suppressing the urge to run for the hills, to leave these greenies to it, to go back to being a mother in the ‘burbs. But that very fact – that I am a mother – was also the reason that I was there.

So I went ahead, and in the Auckland District Court this morning, I pleaded guilty to the charge of Unlawfully Boarding a Ship. In fact my activist colleagues and I stayed on that ship for four days doing our utmost – by hanging banners, doing media interviews, or writing blogs - to tell the world that Shell has to be stopped from going to the Arctic. 

This afternoon, as I write this, I am a free woman. I’ve been remanded on bail, to be sentenced in September. For a while, we were all facing burglary charges. This wasn’t because we took anything, but because technically, under New Zealand law, by boarding a ship without permission you can be charged with burglary. 

No one in their right mind would want to be labelled as a burglar. But had the police insisted on my being tried under that charge, I would still be just as proud of what I did. When the law allows a company like Shell to flagrantly and knowingly ignore the realities around the impossibility of cleaning up oil in the Arctic environment, or the fact that - thanks to mankind’s burning of fossil fuels - there may be no Arctic sea ice by the summer of 2030, then my fellow activists and I had a moral right to (peacefully) break that law. 

The Arctic ice cap acts as the world’s air conditioner. Scientists warn that without it our children will certainly inherit a world blighted by increasingly frequent extreme weather events, amongst the other many and varied effects of climate change . 

Thus, Big Oil’s desire to profiteer from its destruction could be termed ‘anti-human’ - not good business, I would have thought. 

And make no mistake; Shell going into the Arctic is a game-changer. It is the first of the big oil companies to move on extreme Arctic oil. It plans to go through with its plunder, even though estimates are that there is only another three years worth of the global oil supply down there. 

It is clear that we have to move away from fossil fuels anyway, so let’s do it while there is still an Arctic to save. 

It’s time for everyone with an interest in the future – which of course includes all of us - to tell those who would perpetrate these crimes against us, themselves, and all the world’s other species, that they must stop. The oil supermajors must stay out of the Arctic, and must stop their rush into deeper and deeper waters around the world. 

We must tell the oil companies that their survival depends as much as ours on a shift to clean energy. Anything else is a poisoned cup for our children.

Please send your own message to Shell now.

When it comes down to it, the law is being broken for the greater moral of a better world for our children. Hats off to Lucy Lawless for doing this, and all the Greenpeace people. Respect and Thanks.

Lawless by name lawless for nature...


We need more people like Lucy!

Well done.

Interesting blog.

Another way that Shell are doing their best to screw the Arctic region can be found in their plan for drilling in Beaufort Sea:

Check page 34, paragraph 5:


"During mobilization and subsequent drilling operations, every reasonable effort will be made to minimize conflict with the fall bowhead whale migration and related harvest conducted by the villages of Kaktovik and Nuiqsut. Shell has commenced negotiations for a Conflict Avoidance Agreement (CAA) with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC), a non-profit organization that manages subsistence whaling activity that will include the mitigation of potential impacts arising from the proposed 2010 drilling program. In addition, it is Shell’s intent to adopt a Good Neighbor Policy that specifically addresses and mitigates the impacts of a spill on the subsistence lifestyle of the local residents."

So, not content with drilling for oil in incredibly dangerous waters, Shell is also making sure that it doesn't disrupt whaling in the process. Way to go, folks!!!

Twitter: @willmau5


We need to reforest temperate forests @ US & EU asap

So you illegally boarded a ship and deface it to prove that they themselves shouldn't be damaging something?  I do think that you need to re-think your logic in this matter. Breaking the law is not how to prove a point! And the fact that you describe it as 'peacfully breaking the law' doesn't make it right. What if people were to follow your actions? Think of the consequences this may have in the future. Thanks.

Dear PeaceNotwar

Your thoughts are as laudible and well meaning as they are sweetly naive. 

Do you imagine civil rights for Black Americans would have advanced one iota if civil rights campaigners had not embarked on long campaigns of insurrection? And what about apartheid in South Africa? 

Who do you imagine owns the Law? Who exerts the greatest influenece on it?

Multinationals and vested interests spend BILLIONS bribing and lobbying governments to change laws that they find inconvenient, whilst the rest of us simply have to live with the consequences.

Don't forget Nazi Germany had 'laws' too, concerning race creed colour etc. Were citizens right to follow those laws.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that there is some kind of inherent morality in the law. After all countless governments and nations have waged 'legal' wars throughout the centuries.

If you want a planet worth living on, for you, for your children, for your grandchildren, be glad that there are still people with the personal courage to risk their own liberty, (or more), to fight for it.

If you can't find the courage to join them, at least salute them!

Follow Greenpeace UK