Tweeting from the rooftops: Shell, keep out of the Arctic

Posted by bex — 21 February 2012 at 5:00pm - Comments

It’s official. On Friday, Shell got a step closer to drilling for oil in our planet’s last wild ocean - the Arctic. 

The company’s oil spill response plan for the Chukchi Sea off Alaska was given the all clear by US authorities, even though it’s a work of almost complete fantasy.

While Shell prepares to start trashing this stunning wilderness, putting it at risk of catastrophic oil spills and more melting as a result of more climate change, its PR people are getting busy. This evening, they’ve invited influential guests to an event at the National Gallery in London, in the hope that those guests will lend the Shell brand a veneer of respectability.

We’ve decided to tell their guests the truth: this year Shell is planning to drill for oil in the pristine waters of the Arctic, and its plans will change this fragile wilderness forever. 

So our climbers have made sure that guests at the National Gallery are met with an unexpected picture when they arrive; a short while ago, they evaded security and are preparing to unfurl a huge banner with the words “It’s no oil painting”. Our climber Hannah is tweeting from the rooftop using the hashtag #SaveTheArctic

Meanwhile, Paula Bear has emerged from her wintry den to mingle with the crowds in Trafalgar Square, where dozens of Greenpeace volunteers are talking to curious passers-by. 

Shell sees the Arctic as a resource to be exploited for profit. We think it should be protected. What do you think? Join the discussion on our blog and on Twitter: #SaveTheArctic.

Polar bears – like other Arctic species including beluga whales, narwhals and walruses – are already under severe pressure in the Arctic from climate change. In just 30 years, the Arctic has lost 75% of its sea ice, and temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth. 

While more and more people recognise the changing face of the Arctic as a stark warning about climate change (earlier today, several scientists gave evidence to this effect to the parliamentary inquiry, Protecting the Arctic), Shell sees the melting ice as a business opportunity – a chance to drill in newly accessible areas to find more of the oil that caused the melt in the first place. 

And Shell's plans pose a new threat to the Arctic’s stunning – and ecologically fragile – coastlines and oceans: the threat of a catastrophic oil spill, which would be impossible to clean up. 

Shell is just first of the so-called ‘supermajors’ - the big oil companies - to make exploitation of the Arctic a key part of their strategy. But if it strikes oil this summer, other global oil giants may follow. 

Shell sees the Arctic as a resource to be exploited for profit. We think it should be protected. What do you think? Join the discussion on our blog and on Twitter: #SaveTheArctic.

Excellent !! Well done Greenpeace activists Keep up the pressure and exposure !!!


Thanks Clare - we'll pass it on! 

Well done folks!

Drill Baby Drill !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well done all!!!

Thanks for your action. we support you! Keep the Arctic Oil free, and stop Shell and others from drilling there.


Well done ! Tell them to remember Brent Spar ! We have done it ones and we can do it twice if we have to =)

All the best to the comrades on the roof !!!


I passed Trafalgar Square on my way home from work. Banner was looking great, and lots of people on the square talking about it. Shocked to hear what a joke Shell's oil spill response plan is. Great job, keep up the good work.

I'd agree remember Brent Spar - Shell has relapsed into old dark ways - and needs reminding about why it invented corporate social responsibility - Greenpeace can beat them again

There appears to be no place left at all that corporate greed won't rape and pillage. God bless you Greenpeace.

Fantastic stuff! If you can, please let the world know that Shell has been a regular sponsor of major exhibitions, and is currently a ‘Corporate contributor’, along with a host of other dodgy corporations, including Finmeccanica, a large Italian arms manufacturer which the Coalition Against the DSEi Arms Fair currently has its sights on, campaign-wise:

Good luck!

Sam from Art Not Oil

Amazing and once again brilliant Greenpeace, were lucky to pass by around 4 when all the action were starting to unfold. Great atmosphere at Trafalgar square and lots of people engaging, almost like being at a gig or football anxious awaiting the banner to unfold and great timing with Paula making and entrance. A funny moment stod next to a police man when he was told over the radio that apparently a polar bear had just arrived...

what a good action! well done - more of it.

time for talking is now over. 

I was there.

In the afternoon when I entered the gallery, the police blocked the main entrance,I thought some one steal the painting......then I realised  it's a protest when I went out there from the wing exit.

The polar bear charming.


Really well done guys !

Dramatic picures and very effective and urgent wake up call to Shell's supporters.

You were invited to the shell reception so why didnt you go and present your case directly??

So awesome

@petrolhead - we did both!

Hope that Shell have the ability to hear and the decency to act.



 Sorry but I heard that Greenpeace did not take up the invite to the Shell event at the Nat Gallery.

 Never mind but shame the media did not give you much coverage after all that effort.

Excellent work! Lets become completely beholden to the Middle East and corrupt South American states for our energy supply. Lets send 100s of billions to human right violating countries. I notice that we don't see much activism in countries with low ethical or human rights standards and instead confine ourselves safely to the most regulated countries.

Still waiting to see that comment I sent. Surely you believe in open expression of views!

Fantastic you brave people! I saw you as I crossed Trafalgar Square last night at 6 o'clock. It is simply inspiring what you do, and restores in me some hope for the future.

Reality: I published it a few minutes ago (it got caught up in our automatic spam filter, sorry).

Yes we believe in open expression. For info, here are our house rules.



Fantastic job, you brave climbers;  glad to see Shell getting the message - heaven help us if they go ahead.  I assume they've written off the Exxon Valdez disaster as a "little error" and that they've learned from Exxon's mistakes.  Or from BP's?  Apparently not.  They want to make their own, at the expense of the entire world, in every sense.

@petrolhead: Yep, as John Halladay says above, we did take up Shell's invitation to attend. Our executive director went to the event, along with our chief scientist. John (exec director) spoke to several Shell employees, including Peter Vosser - Shell's CEO - for 20 minutes.






We cannot allow these monsters to have their way. Well done Greenpeace, well done're an inspiaration to thousands....

Is there anyway Greenpeace can be involved in the 'event', I mean, actually inside the building to redress the balance of their PR bolony?? Hope so....Or maybe, can we get a list of the individuals, companies and groups invited tonight?

Environment before PROFIT!!!!


I was in Trafaglar Square yesterday and saw the disgrace that was your protest. First of the cost. The police operation would have cost thousands of pounds and this is a time of cut backs. Who do think paid for the policing including the police helicopter? Of course it was the taxpayer. Shouldn't Greenpeace pay for policing not the hard pressed taxpayer? Also the police and ambulance personnel that were on the scene could have been doing their jobs ie protecting the public from criminals and saving lives.

How did your protesters get to London? Unless they walked they would have used transport that required oil and since your protest was about oil don't you think thats a bit hypocritcal of yourselves? Using oil to get to a protest about oil!!!

Most of the people I spoke to in the Square said that the protesters were stupid. Public opinion isn't on your side

I have posted my thoughts earlier but my post didn't seem to be posted. Censorship?

Cor there's a tired old argument.

Shell, BP, Exxon Mobils, Chevron and a host of other oil companies are plundering the Arctic, muddling through disasters from the Gulf of Mexico (Deepwater Horizon) to the Alaskan coast (Exxon Valdez), clear cutting the Borrel forests and strip mining Madagascar (Tar Sands) to reach the last drop of unconvential / suicidal oil all for the sake of a quick profit underwritten by the government and the people who pay the taxes to clear up these messes, and deal with the consequences of climate change.

And so the insightful response, to the few brave people who expose this disaterous oil rush, is to complain about whether they took the bus, the tube or shared a lift down to the National Gallery,

Oh and I don't seem to have any problem posting on this site, the comment above - which I can see, clearly demonstrates this site is open to diverse views and your point (although daft) hasn't been censored.

Equally the site rules suggest if you're worried about your comments getting clased as spam, then simply register on the site. There's alot of spam and bad advertising out there.

Are my points daft? Who paid for the emergency service operation? The taxpayer not Greenpeace. That demo costs the taxpayer thousands and prevented those officers and paramedics who attended from doing useful work rather watch half dozen or so idiots trespassing on the roof of a public building and risking their lives. I saw a dozen or so police vehicles on scene, one paramedic car, one ambulance, police helicopter and a military helicopter. That does not count the emergency responses in the various foreign Embassies that surround the square. Greenpeace don't care that their protests cost the taxpayer million to police in this time of national austerity. Don't you think that public money could be better spent? I suggest that Greenpeace should foot the bill for the protest and compensate the National Gallery for the disruption that was caused

Or if we consider things in perspective; Shell and the other big oil companies should foot the bill, for the spills that are waiting to happen, and/or deploy enough ships and safety measures to deal with the spills. Their current plans are a joke, and the people who will pay for these spills are the ordinary citizens and taxpayers, not to mention the natural environment and future generations.

Shell, the big oil companies, the rest of the fossil fuel industry and all those who profit from these irresposible pursuit of the last drop of oil, should also be paying up front, to pollute our atmosphere, and to either deal with the impacts of climate change or more importantly to develop the technologies to reduce emissions and stop pullting out atmosphere. Estimates currently stand at £190 billion per year by 2030, a cost that will be born by you and I, not the big corporations who profited from creating the problem.

Finally if the Greenpeace activities to expose the problem, caused some minimal cost to the state, then this is nothing compared to the vast bill that's coming if we don't stop Shell drilling in the Arctic. Something they are simply doing for profit, whereas I applaud those Greenpeace activists who are risking their lives, and their liberty to do something they believe in (not sure my back is up to doing what they do).

So yes, I think complaining about the way those activists got to the national gallery is, when considered in perspective to the size of the problem, daft.

When I asked how the demonstrators got to the National Gallery I was saying how hypocritical Greenpeace is demonstrating about oil (a natural resource) when everyone uses oil. My main grip is the cost to the tax payers for policing and providing medical cover for this criminal activity which the protest was as it involved gaining access to somewhere where the idiots had no right to go. Greenpeace should compensate the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service, the National Gallery not to mention the taxpayers for the costs of the operation. The guests of the event didn't have to go through Trafalgar Square to get to event as the entrance was the side next to the entrance of the National Portrait Gallery so would not have even seen those 8 or so reckless idiots doing a spiderman impression at the front.

Greenpeace campaigns are a joke for example a nuclear free world. Without nuclear power there would be no life on earth. There are countless nuclear reactors in the universe. They are call stars and are the providers of life.

I telephoned a news organisation about the protest a I was witnessing it and the responce was it is only Greenpeace and they don't count any more. That is what the general public think of Greenpeace. They don't matter in everyday life. It is more important to pay the bills and put food on the table than worry about some cranks on a roof

Well done guys!Great work!

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