Shell-out Sponsorship = buying us off
By sponsoring our cultural institutions, Shell tries to protect its reputation, distract our attention from its environmental and human rights crimes around the world and buy our acceptance. When we challenge this, we strike a blow at Shell’s brand, chip away at its power and move towards the day when Big Oil – like Big Tobacco – is no longer seen as socially acceptable. As we once kicked the tobacco companies out of our cultural institutions we must now do the same to the oil industry.
Remember climate change?
Climate change may not be a fashionable subject these days, but it’s already claiming 300,000 lives a year. Glaciers are disappearing, sea levels are rising and extreme weather is becoming more extreme. As temperatures rise, we’ll see more flooding, drought, disease, famine and war, creating hundreds of millions of refugees and destroying entire ecosystems and species. We can’t afford to forget about climate change – or the fact that companies like Shell are at the heart of the problem.
Shell's sponsorship acts as a greenwashed blindfold to prevent us seeing the ravages of frontier oil extraction boundaries being pushed and the Global Climate being pushed to 6 degrees Celsius.
On 10th November 1995, Shell made sure that Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other young Nigerian activists had no future. Shell was complicit in their execution at the hands of the Nigerian military government for campaigning against the devastation of their homeland by oil companies, especially Shell. And every day, all over the world – from building dodgy pipelines in Rossport, Ireland, to mining the world’s most polluting oil from the Canadian tar sands – Shell’s oil exploration and extraction activities undermine our collective future by pushing us ever closer to the brink of climate catastrophe. At the same time, it rakes in billions in profit every month, in 2011 £35k a minute, while the rest of us struggle to get by. Shell doesn’t want us to remember these horrific things. So it channels a minuscule fraction of its obscene profits into sponsoring events like today's to influence and entertain.
That’s why we’re here: to remember – and to resist.
Nigeria: Shell’s dirty secret
Shell’s human rights abuses did not stop with the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his Ogoni colleagues, but continue to this day. Shell’s routine payments to armed militants exacerbate conflict and oil spills still devastate lives and the environment in the Niger Delta. According to Amnesty International, Oil spews into the Niger Delta every year equivalent to the BP "Deepwater Horizon" Gulf spill. But resistance continues as well, and one small step towards justice was made recently when Shell was forced to pay $410m in compensation for two massive oil spills.
Rossport - Ireland
Local residents in Rossport are resisting a project, led by Shell, to build a pipeline carrying raw, odourless gas through the village of Rossport to a new refinery built on a shifting bog. This high-pressure pipeline, never before built in a populated area (a ‘cost-saving’ measure
from Shell) is poisoning the land and endanger the residents who live just metres away. As building began local people saw their land being transformed from an area of outstanding natural beauty into an enviromental disaster zone where Shell are planning to pump their toxic waste into Broadhaven Bay, an important bird, whale and dolphin habitat. But now locals are fighting back!
Tar Sands - Canada
The tar sands development in Alberta, Canada covers an area the size of England, with toxic lakes so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. The effects that tar sands are having on local First Nations communities are devastating. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.