Getting ready for action!
Today, activists from Greenpeace Islington campaigned at Shell’s garage on Holloway Road against Shell’s plans for oil exploration in the Arctic. Other North London groups – Camden, Bethnal Green and Walthamstow were simultaneously taking action at Shell stations around the city. Since Thursday, when news of Lucy Lawless and Greenpeace NZ activists’ occupation of a Shell ship bound for Alaska broke out, Greenpeace local groups across Europe have been campaigning at their local Shell stations as the battle to #savethearctic begins.
Every time I participate in on-the-street activism, whether its getting the public to sign petitions or leafleting an area, I find myself reflecting on the potential contribution of our little action to the wider campaign. Today I felt our presence at the Shell station had an effect on Shell’s employees. We were watched throughout our action suggesting our presence was perturbing. What was especially rewarding was when a few station staff spoke with us after their shift and sympathised with the campaign aims. Fantastic!
We managed to speak to many motorists as they left the station as well as many pedestrians. It’s always rewarding speaking to actual people on the streets. Sometimes we speak with people who are simply unaware of the destruction being caused to the planet and our role is to plant a seed in their head. Hopefully these people will reflect on our exchange and might, down the line, support a worthy environmental campaign. Other times we speak with really passionate supporters and our role here is to mobilise these people because, we believe, our collective people power can save the planet. And of course not everyone is interested in hearing what we have to say – least of all the guy that ran away from us shouting “I love oil”. Oh dear.
Nevertheless, we had a successful session today and it’s a wonderful feeling of solidarity knowing other activists around the city, the country and elsewhere are simultaneously taking action to save our beautiful arctic, our awe-inspiring planet’s last great frontier. This is such an important campaign – one that I envision will be long and bitterly fought but I know we won’t give up. This is just the beginning. Whether it’s occupying ships, unfurling banners atop buildings, signing online petitions, campaigning on the streets or lobbying behind closed doors, each and everyone of us has an important part to play to #savethearctic. And #savethearctic we will.