Rally Cry: Shell just got one step closer to the Arctic, so we must step up

by Aliyah Field

April 1, 2015

Editors Note: This post was written on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, where six volunteers are followingShell’s ship the Polar Pioneer as it makes its way to the Arctic. Visit #TheCrossingto follow their journey across the Pacific.

First thing this morning, we gathered to discuss the announcement from the US Department of the Interior: Shells lease to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea has just been approved. A disappointing result.

Its only the first step in a long process for Shell to obtain permission to go up to Alaska and begin drilling, but it does mean one less hurdle for the Polar Pioneer on its way to the Arctic. This decision must be a rallying cry for all of us who dont want Shell to drill in the Arctic. Theres still an opportunity for the government to stop Shell as the process continues. We must demand that they realistically and truthfully look at Shells preparations and readiness to drill in the Arctic, and fairly evaluate whether or not that is possible. I think we all know that the answer is they are not ready and it is not safe. And even if it was safe, this planet cannot tolerate any oil being removed from the Arctic. The worst consequences of climate change will be unavoidable if oil production begins in the Arctic. Its that simple.

There is a lot more that needs to be done onshore with your help, to make our message clear and loud, that Arctic drilling cannot come to pass. Together we can stand firm. And I do believe that we can change the outcome of this decision and prevent Shell from drilling in the Arctic.

And if President Obama was reading this Well, President Obama, I voted for you in 08 and I was part of the masses that were out on the streets within seconds celebrating your victory. I voted for you again in 2012, because I really do believe you care about this planet and its people. Your own scientists are telling you that we cant take oil out of the Arctic and your people are now telling you that we cannot drill in the Arctic. Id ask you to listen us, and honestly evaluate whether we, as a people can sustain the consequences of Arctic oil. I think you already know the answer. Now you just need to act.

Where I am now, the waves rock the Esperanza as it journeys behind Shells rig. The sky is bright and blue, and there is a warm breeze. The view from the bridge has been consistent for days: white capped waves roll out as far as the eye can see. The only break in the horizon is the derrick of the Polar Pioneer, but its barely a dot on the horizon. Shells oil rig has gotten very far out in front of us today. Although the view hasnt changed, the importance of this journey just got a lot more real.

– Aliyah Field on board the Esperanza

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