I had ideas for umpteen blogs. Here is where they all somehow converge and I attempt to do something productive with my sprawling web presence.
Monday, June 15, 2015
#ShellNo: 'Kayaktivists' slow oil rig's departure from Seattle with blockade
The U.S. Coast Guard detained 24 protesters Monday morning who were trying to block Royal Dutch Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig from progressing any further in their search for oil in the Atlantic ocean. This instance was one of many protest attempts to stop Shell’s plans to explore for new oil.
The protestors, or kayaktavists, employed social media (#shellno) and a live streaming feed to reach out to others on the internet while they set up their blockade. At its peak, approximately 1,100 viewers were watching on and commenting on the feed. Hundreds of activists with the ShellNo Action Council were in communication via social media, keeping each other abreast of the oil rig’s activity.
Al Jazeera reports June 15 that about a dozen kayaktivists entered the water at 4 a.m. Monday morning after they had heard that the oil rig was pulling out. People who watched the streaming feed saw protesters being reminded that they could face up to a $40,000 fine for obstructing the oil rig’s movement, before being collected onto Coast Guard boats where the detained activists were treated peaceably.
Activists held their ground for as long as they could, but eventually, the Polar Pioneer continued its journey towards Alaska. “They’re telling us to go away and we’re staying,” said JenJen, one of the activists filming the event who was later loaded onto a Coast Guard ship.
The activists won’t stop. According to a message on the ShellNo Action Council Facebook page, “Kayaktivists are heading to Port Townsend ... to continue to protest the Polar Pioneer.” Some are getting into boats to form another blockade. Others are urged to stand close with signs of protest. It’s a long way still between Washington and the exploratory wells in Alaska which were approved by the U.S. government last month.
Annie Leonard, the Executive Director of Greenpeace US, was quoted in a press release relating why the activists will keep trying to stop the rig:
Shell wants to haul its 40,000 ton Arctic destroyer to Alaska as soon as possible, but these courageous individuals are saying, ‘Shell No.’ Every minute that brave protesters can delay Shell’s Arctic drilling plans is another chance for President Obama to reconsider his disastrous approval of oil drilling in Alaska. The President’s decision on Arctic drilling will be a dealbreaker for his climate legacy, but it’s not too late for him to stop this catastrophe before it starts.
For updates on the protest movement, follow The ShellNo Action Council at Facebook, Twitter or by way of their blog.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com