Today was a beautiful day to Save the Arctic! As we trundled up to the Shell garage at Playing Place, we were met by a riot van containing six police officers and a sky full of sun. After a brief chat and assurance that we weren’t going to be too mischievous, the smiling uniformed chaps settled down on the other side of the forecourt.
When we got over to the footpath, there were some new faces and a photographer waiting for a quick briefing and a cheeky photo or two respectively. The photographer left after some snaps with the six of us holding placards, but if he had waited just a little longer then he could have captured quadruple that number!
After Colin had handed in his letter to the garage, a steady drip of people began to join the group. We soon had several bikes, a pram, a dog and twenty-four activists – including the Mayor of Truro - spreading our message, sixteen of which were first time protesters!
Everyone was absolutely fantastic, but by far the most energetic were a group of women from Stroud, brandishing rainbow pinwheels and yelling ‘give us a toot!’ at traffic with admirable gusto. In their retirement, they had been lucky enough to actually visit the arctic, and said it was the most beautiful place in the world they had visited.
With whoops of encouragement at every beep and plenty of excited waving, we certainly drew a lot of attention! Most drivers were brilliant too, especially the several wedding parties that passed by, waving, giving us thumbs up and sometimes cheering us on. It was satisfying to see cars indicating to come into the Shell garage, noticing our signs and carrying on straight past it!
Quite a few flyers were handed out, though of course we couldn’t pounce on vehicles entering or leaving the forecourt if they didn’t approach us. We even managed to convert a pedestrian who was adamant that what we were doing was wrong; he struck up an argument with two protesters, but after a calm discussion he left with a smile on his face saying ‘keep up the good work’!
We befell a slice of serendipity when a friend of Zoe’s pulled up on his motorbike, saw our banners and offered us use of his megaphone! Soon we could announce to traffic, general passersby and customers of the garage alike to ‘TELL SHELL TO STOP DRILLING FOR OIL IN THE ARCTIC’ at a much louder volume than our lungs could manage unaided. Spreading our message even further, AND it was a lot of fun!
After a few hours we packed up satisfied, sun-warmed and with several contacts for future meetings. As we left the garage it was noticed that the flow of traffic through it had considerably decreased throughout the day, which was great! Thanks to everyone that made it and to everyone that listened, it was a fantastic day and we can’t wait to get back out there!
If you’re a tweeter, follow us @GreenpeaceCornw and check out our updates from today! While you’re there chuck in a couple of cheeky hastags - #TellShell and #SaveTheArctic – and get involved!