This weekend hundreds of peaceful Greenpeace protesters stood side by side across the UK on Shellday and told Shell to keep out of the Arctic. This action came just days after Greenpeace UK activists shut down 78 of the company’s petrol stations but on the same day the world saw some of the most extreme weather ever documented. In Beijing, storms killed at least 37 people as the authorities were quickly overwhelmed by the deluge. Meanwhile in the USA, farmers were forced to abandon entire crops after temperatures soared above 40 °C, exasperating an already devastating drought.
But I digress from the Arctic, one of the few places left on Earth humans have not plundered for oil and gas. Sadly in a few days that could change dramatically if Shell is allowed to drill for oil in the Arctic Circle. Outraged that such a delicate ecosystem could be exploited for profit I joined my fellow Camden Greenpeace activists outside Watford Shell petrol station for a day of protest. Armed with a banner, a few flyers and a Polar Bear costume we set up shop on the grass verge next to the garage and began our protest. The manager of the store (run by Waitrose) arrived to greet us and we duly handed over a letter explaining our position which was graciously accepted. We kept in contact with our fellow Greenpeace activists across the UK by Twitter as by following #TellShell and #SavetheArctic we could see that there had been a large turnout for the protest at many petrol stations which kept spirits high.
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There was exceptional support from passing motorists who honked their horns, accepted our flyers and waved furiously at Mr. Polar Bear. I have to say dressing up as a Polar Bear was a new experience for me and I learned quickly why they choose to live in cold climates as that fur heats up fast! During the day a journalist from the Watford Observer stopped by and took our photo and as we were packing up we checked the newspaper’s website and saw that we had made the front page already! That Watford Observer really is first for local news. Click here to read the article and post a comment.
All in all it felt like a very successful day, our highly visible protest was very warmly received by locals, the station manager accepted our letter hand delivered by Neil and we told Shell to get out of the Arctic! Mr. Polar Bear is ready for Shell’s next move.....