Prior to today I hadn’t heard anything about this, so I’m not sure if it had been planned for a while and kept secret, or if it just wasn’t heavily publicised to make sure they weren’t stopped by the police, but if you head over to twitter right now then the #iceclimb hashtag is probably pretty popular at the moment.
Starting at 4am this morning, six women, Victo, Ali, Sabine, Sandra, Liesbeth and Wiola (pictured), from Greenpeace are currently scaling the Shard building in London – Western Europe’s tallest building – in protest of Shell’s current Arctic drilling campaign, which is obviously having an affect on the local environment. Why the Shard? Well…
This building – modelled on a shard of ice – sits slap bang in the middle of Shell’s three London headquarters. They don’t want us talking about their plan to drill in the Arctic. We’re here to shout about it from the rooftops. Join in by sharing this far and wide.”
This quote is from iceclimb.savethearctic.org, where you can see a live streaming video of their progress and also sign their petition. They also have helmet cameras for multiple camera angles, which you can see in Channel 4’s coverage below. The news broke at 7.30 am this morning when Greenpeace posted pictures of the climbers, presumably giving them a chance to get started before any authorities could get involved, as they climbed onto the roof of the London Bridge railway station to gain access to the Shard building.
The Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police are on the scene to try and prevent them getting any further, but they obviously don’t want to risk injury or death in the process, so there’s not a lot they can do. The owners of the Shard have also urged them to stop, due to the dangers involved, but at the moment it looks like they are going all the way to the top – at the time of writing the six climbers have just reached the 230 meter mark.
Shell have released a typically corporate statement:
Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others, including Shell personnel and customers in mind. Oil and gas production from the Arctic is not new. The Arctic region currently produces about 10 per cent of the world’s oil and 25 per cent of its gas. If responsibly developed, Arctic energy resources can help offset supply constraints and maintain energy security for consumers throughout the world. Shell has been operating in the Arctic and sub-Arctic since the early 20th century, giving us the technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas responsibly. We work extensively with global Arctic stakeholders to research and develop standards and best practice on biodiversity, ecology, marine sound, oil spill prevention and response, safety and health.”
I’ve got a lot of time for Greenpeace, and as protests go, I’m sure you’ll agree, that combined with the social media PR push Greenpeace have smashed it. I’m sure they’ll easily reach the target of 31,000 names on the petition at the rate they are going, which will hopefully bring about some change, but even if it doesn’t at least it has brought the issue to the attention of the general public.
Images via: GreenpeaceUK