Climate change is no laughing matter – but that doesn’t mean we can’t confront the Fossil Fuel Empire with subversive humour. Once again the Fossil Fool jokers were out in force celebrating the beginning of BP Tar Sans Fortnight of Shame, here's a round up of the actions that happened, let us know if you're isn't here.
London UK - BP ad campaign Hoax
BP today had to halt the launch of a multi-million pound ‘Back to Black’ ad campaign. That’s right, BP’s award-winning ‘beyond petroleum’ brand took a hit today when a, previously unknown, PR agency delivered 22,000 revamped BP logos and a new sign to the company’s headquarters in St. James’ Square. The ad agency misinterpreted the brief to come up with a new logo that took account of BP’s decision to invest in the Canadian tar sands, and launched the multi-million pound ‘Back to Black’ campaign. Posing as representatives of a PR company, climate campaigners played a Fossil Fools Day prank on BP today by delivering 22,000 new logos – one for every BP logo in the UK – to the company’s HQ.
The campaigners, from London Rising Tide and the UK Tar Sands Network, piled boxes of ‘Back to Black’ logos on BP’s doorstep and d-locked a matching sign onto the building in protest at the company’s reversal of its decision to stay out of Canada’s controversial tar sands.
BP’s ‘beyond petroleum’ brand was never more than a slick charade and BP’s plans to move into the tar sands reveal the company’s true colours. We visited BP today to present a logo that’s more fitting for a company about to invest in the most destructive project on the planet.
Today marks the start of the BP Tar Sans Fortnight of Shame, which will see actions taking place up and down the country, all with a common message. Extraction in the Canadian tar sands is fuelling climate chaos and trampling indigenous rights, and we won’t let BP go into the tar sands without a fight.
Bristol – Rising Tide disrupt Shell in Bristol
Activists from Bristol and Bath Rising Tide visited the Shell garage in Muller Road, Eastville at 8.30am yesterday to highlight the repression experienced by communities in County Mayo, Ireland who are trying to stop Shell building an onshore high pressure pipeline and gas refinery.
The community in Erris, County Mayo has seen continued harassment and intimidation by Gardai and Shell security, as well as the unlawful arrest and targeted jailing of key campaigners. In February fisherman Pat O'Donnell was sentenced to 7 months in jail for convictions of “breach of the peace” and of "obstructing a Garda". The community has been fighting this project for over a decade. Construction of the gas refinery has resulted in the pollution of the local drinking water. Untreated waste chemicals from the refinery, including lead, mercury, arsenic and radon would be pumped into Broadhaven Bay despite it being a designated Special Area of Conservation.
The action was part of Fossil Fools Day, a global day of creative action against corporations who contribute to and profit from climate change. Rachel Keevil from Rising Tide, chasing another activist with a large section of pipe, said “Shell are climate criminals. The gas pipeline in County Mayo will damage the environment and threaten the health and livelihoods of local people; all for the profit of Shell. It’s a pipeline to disaster. ”This street theatre was clearly a ridiculous representation of very serious events but opened up a space for talking with the public about the issues, many of whom took genuine interest, some saying they were inspired to write to Pat in prison.
Plymouth RT and Kernow Anarchist Network blockade BP garage in Ridgeway
Six people from the Plymouth Rising Tide (PRT) and Kernow Anarchist Network groups blockaded the BP garage in Ridgeway, Plymouth, to highlight the environmental destruction caused by the Tar Sands project.
Two chained themselves to pumps while the others handed out leaflets and held banners.
The station, which is run by a franchise but supplies BP petrol to customers, was shut during the protest. Sarah Mana of Plymouth RT, protested but was not one of those arrested, said “We saw it as necessary to make a radical call”.
To see some more photos from the day and read more, visit indymedia
Chatham UK - Medway Council installs renewables!
German energy giant EON have announced that they are shelving controversial plans for a massive expansion of coal and gas electricity generation in the Medway region. The surprising news emerged today as Eon contractors broke ground at the offices of Medway Council on Dock Road, Chatham, and started installing wind turbines and solar panels.
Eon media relations officer, Joe King announced, "We realise that continued investment in fossil fuels is a dangerous distraction from the urgent need to develop truly sustainable technologies so we've abandoned our dated plans to continue burning gas and coal. This wind farm for Medway council is just the beginning, we're also offering all our customers heavily discounted shares in future community wind farm schemes, so they'll actually co-own the systems that provide their
In a leaflet passed out to passers by, Eon admitted that until now, only a trivial amount of their investments had gone into renewables but promised that would now change. Acknowledging the urgent need to drastically cut emissions in order to curb global warming and avoid disastrous climatic tipping points, the company promised they'd abandon their plans to turn Medway into a CO2 pumping hub, end further investment into fossil fuels, and instead commit to truly sustainable energy such as wind and sun.
However, a local activist Bennie Factor, expressed disbelieve, "This is a joke! All this renewable energy rhetoric represents nothing more than cyclical greenwash from these energy giants. Sadly, the reality is that they are still committed to business as usual, damning us all to continued greenhouse gas emissions and catastrophic climate change."
Brighton UK - RBS out of order over Tar Sands
Royal Bank of Scotland cashpoints have fallen prey to an April fools prank in protest at RBS's investments in Canadian tar sands. The cashpoints were disabled by local activist group Brighton Against Tar Sands (BATS) with signs which read 'Investing in tar sands is OUT OF ORDER'. The signs were fixed to half a dozen cashpoints in Brighton and Lewes in the early hours of Thursday (1st April) morning.
The practical joke had a serious message. Tar sands oil extraction in Alberta, Canada is the single largest industrial CO2 emitter on the planet and has been responsible for destroying an area of ancient forest the size of England.
It is also home to First Nation tribes who have lived off the land for millennia. Due to the pollution they now have high rates of cancer and are losing their ancient hunting grounds.
BATS spokesperson Dan Stars said: "RBS is out of order. Tar sands is likely to be responsible for runaway climate change if the exploitation continues unchecked. It is wholly irresponsible for the bank to invest in what amounts to tarmageddon."
Canada - 13 Cities In Award Fossil Fools to Local and National Tar Sands Supporter
In the spirit of April Fools day, 13 Cities in Canada have pulled creative pranks on fossil fuel industry supporters, or “Fossil Fools,” pleasantly confusing security guards, police, and the general public. People for Climate Justice, a national coalition of concerned residents in Canada, announced 6 nominees for the dubious Fossil Fool of the Year Award: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Royal Bank of Canada CEO Gordon Nixon, and Shell Canada President Brian Straub. All nominees have a history of supporting Canada’s tar sands industry and related projects such as pipelines and refineries, with no consideration for the human rights violations and environmental atrocities associated with tar sands developments. In the spirit of Fossil Fools day, 13 Cities in Canada have taken action and pulled creative pranks and tricks on tar sands supporters.
7 communities in Canada: Toronto (ON), Waterloo (ON), Peterborough (ON), London (ON), New Westminster (BC), Duncan (BC), and Victoria all targeted RBC as the top financier in dirty tar sands projects. In Waterloo, one indigenous activist was arrested after a banner drop at a local branch of Royal Bank of Canada. This is the second day of action in which RBC was targeted. On March 3rd, the same day as the bank’s Annual General Shareholders Meeting where 11 communities in Canada held rallies and actions at RBC branches. “This is the second year that Royal Bank of Canada is receiving the Fossil Fool of the year award,” says Taylor Flook, organizer with the Rainforest Action Network Toronto.
USA - Fossil ‘Fools Day Protests Set for 30 Cities; Target Coal, Oil, Natural Gas and Big Banks
More than 30 cities throughout North America have organized demonstrations against the fossil fuel industry, corporate banks and big environmental organizations for April 1’st national Fossil ‘Fools’ Day. Demonstrations are being coordinated by Rising Tide North America , which has also launched an online campaign targeting “Big Green” groups that have taken money from the worst corporate polluters. Key targets of the campaign include Conservation International, National Wildlife Federation and Environmental Defense.
For more international fossil foolery click here.