7 People-Powered Moments That Helped Defeat Shell in 2015
by April Glaser
October 1, 2015
Monday’s news of Shell’s decision to stop searching for oil in the Alaskan Arctic marks a milestone in the ongoing fight to rein in runaway climate change. We’ve traveled far to get here, yet the road ahead of us remains a long one.
© Marcus Donner / Greenpeace
Together, all over the world, communities organized and built a movement to protect our planet for future generations in an unprecedented showing of people-powered action for environmental justice. Looking back over the past year, we’re still reeling from what’s been a truly global and grassroots effort to fight one of the largest corporate powers in the world. If it weren’t for the courage, creativity and support from millions of individuals who were troubled enough by Shell’s drilling in the Arctic to do something about it, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
The oil giant retreated after spending years trying to drill in the Arctic, as well as $7 billion – no small amount . This isn’t the kind of thing a company like Shell backs away from lightly. Everyone who signed a petition, shared the news, got in a kayak, joined a protest – you all made this happen.
Some highlights from what’s been one incredible year:
1. The Aerial blockade of Shell’s Arctic-bound icebreaker in Portland, Oregon
2. Aurora’s Parade, a giant people-powered polar bear the size of a double-decker bus was pulled through London and parked outside Shell’s world headquarters for weeks
3. Hundreds of Alaskans greeted President Obama at the ‘Rally to Confront the Glacial Pace of Political Action’
4. Seattle led the world in activism to save the Arctic and keep fossil fuels in the ground, from kayaktivism to city council meetings and more
5. Thousands of people across the world marched and took to the water for a march against Arctic oil
6. More than a dozen communities across the United States rallied on land and on water to say #ShellNo
7. Six Greenpeace activists scaled Shell’s drilling rig to send a message and save the Arctic
Shell is the fourth-largest company in the word. It has a lot of political power. Sure, Shell might want us to think its decision to pull out of Arctic drilling was purely economical, but everyone knows that’s not true. Every move Shell made as it inched towards the icy Arctic waters was under intense public scrutiny.
Shell has privately admitted that it didn’t expect so much public opposition. And in the oil company’s own statement on why it decided to abandon Arctic drilling operations, Shell cites a “challenging regulatory environment” as one key reason for halting its search — thanks to your activism.
The fight to save the Arctic isn’t over yet. We’re going to need to find a way to keep other oil companies out and make drilling in the region off-limits — for good. It’s time to turn the energy from Shell halting its search for Arctic oil into a revolution against fossil fuels.
Look at all that we’ve been able to accomplish together. Think about what more we can do. Stay tuned.