Today Greenpeace launched a counter-advertising campaign in response to Shell’s latest ad, which portrays a girl reading a book in bed by lamp light, with the caption ‘let’s keep the lights on when she’s your age’. A polar bear sits on her bedside table.
At 5am this morning, activists scaled the outside of a railway bridge on York Road next to Waterloo station to attach a billboard, facing Shell’s central London offices. As staff walked to work, they read the message ‘let’s keep the drills on, so the Arctic’s gone when she’s your age’. Two activists remain attached to the outside walls of the bridge and they intend to keep the billboard up until 1.30pm. See photos.
And more than 2,300 Greenpeace supporters donated to place a counter-advert in the Metro, Independent and Telegraph today, with the headline ‘Shell’s Arctic drilling plans are the stuff of nightmares’. See the newspaper advert.
Shell’s adverts have appeared in a broad spread of newspapers, and have been going up on billboards and train platforms all around the country. It’s been calculated Shell spent approximately £280,000 on the ‘Keep the lights on’ campaign. .
Sara Ayech, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “We were inundated with calls from our supporters who were appalled by the hypocrisy in Shell’s latest ads. Shell just got dumped by LEGO for threatening to drill in the Arctic, but it’s back using kids once more to try to clean up its public image. Far from safeguarding kids’ future, its Arctic drilling plans risk polluting a pristine region and exacerbating climate change. And now Shell is even including polar bears in its adverts, despite the fact drilling for oil in the Arctic would threaten this unique species.”
On 28 August 2014 Shell submitted new plans to the US administration for offshore exploratory drilling in the Alaskan Arctic , meaning it’s on course to resurrect its Arctic drilling plans as early as summer 2015.
Shell’s past attempts to drill in the Arctic have been plagued with multiple operational failings culminating in the running aground of its drilling rig, the Kulluk. The extreme Arctic conditions, including giant floating ice-bergs and stormy seas, make offshore drilling extremely risky. And scientists say that in the Arctic, an oil spill would be impossible to clean up meaning devastation for the Arctic’s unique wildlife .
Sara continued: “Shell is planning to go back to the Arctic as early as next summer if regulators let it, so this isn’t harmless PR. If Shell can trick people into thinking it’s a caring company acting in the best interests of our planet, then it’s less likely to face challenges to its Arctic oil grab. That’s why we have to challenge Shell wherever, and whenever, they spin their lies. And why so many thousands of our supporters were compelled to chip in for this counter-ad campaign, to get their voices heard.”
In the past two years, a massive global movement has emerged calling for a sanctuary around the North Pole, to protect the Arctic and its unique wildlife from the onslaught of oil drilling and industrial fishing. More than six million people have joined the movement, and more than 1,000 influential people have signed an Arctic Declaration, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Emma Thompson and Sir Paul McCartney.