Greenpeace holds Titanic-themed musical protest at Shell HQ over Arctic oil drilling

Greenpeace held a Titanic-themed musical protest outside Shell's offices this morning after the oil company began drilling operations in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea last week.

Photo © John Cobb / Greenpeace
Photo © John Cobb / Greenpeace

The orchestral performance entitled ‘Requiem for Arctic Ice’ was inspired by the quartet playing on the Titanic as the ship went down.

Today's protest on the South Bank is part of a month-long campaign against oil drilling. Each Shell employee was offered a gift bag with a copy of the music and a whistle-blower email address.

In April, the Obama administration approved Shell's plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea. Since then the energy giant has faced increasing public pressure, with celebrities including Hillary Clinton and Al Gore speaking out against Obama’s support for Arctic drilling.

Mel Evans, an Arctic campaigner, said: "This protest is about reaching into the hearts of Shell employees, and asking them to help Shell avert disaster. The Titanic was doomed because its design couldn’t outsmart the icy ocean. Shell is also vastly underestimating the risks it faces in the Arctic. If Shell tries to drill in the harsh Arctic environment then oil spills are inevitable. And an oil spill in the remote Arctic would be impossible to clean up, leaving local people and wildlife to suffer the consequences for years."

A Shell spokesman said: "It is disappointing that Greenpeace continually chooses to focus on mounting publicity stunts rather than engage constructively in the debate about how to meet the world’s growing demand for energy while reducing CO2 emissions.
"We believe we can play an important role in developing the Arctic’s energy resources. We choose to explore there because we have the expertise and experience to operate responsibly and be profitable at the same time. Many Arctic peoples and governments agree with that judgment.

"We are working with many constructive NGOs and other organisations on these and other issues, in order both to raise the level of public understanding of the energy challenge and to ensure that the world moves towards a lower-carbon, higher energy future."

In May Greenpeace teamed up with the creative agency Don’t Panic and British montage artists Kennardphillipps to create a hard-hitting feature film film depicting iconic landscape paintings burning up to reveal dystopian alternatives of the future caused by oil spills and drilling.

Entitled 'A Song of Oil, Ice and Fire', the film is a nod to George RR Martin’s Game Of Thrones book series.

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