Saturday, 26 January 2008

'Wild Lie': greenwash protest in the UK

Shell Oil has been trying to "greenwash" its environmental record by partnering with the BBC. Recently, it sponsored a wildlife photo exhibit and champagne reception for the Bristol elite. Dressed to the nines, eco-activists infiltrated the event; one got access to the microphone. The following is a transcript of his satire on Youtube:
Good evening, my name is Derek Leavussum, public relations director for Shell. I want to welcome you all to the 2007 Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. As you can imagine -- I don’t have an easy job, what with all this fuss about melting glaciers, extreme weather and wildlife extinctions. I’d like to thank the Bristol City Council, BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum for making my job all that much easier by allowing us to sponsor your wild lie -- I mean wildlife -- exhibition.

We prefer not to see the melting of the Arctic ice cap as a threat to human civilization. We see it as a business opportunity. After all, there are millions of barrels of oil under there just waiting to be extracted. And we’ll need all the energy we can get since we’ve just abandoned our solar program. When you see the Shell logo, we don’t want you to think about the whale habitat we’re destroying in Siberia and Ireland, human rights violations in Nigeria, and especially not climate change. This may all be true but the fact is that the world needs oil and this is simply the price of progress.

Some say it’s ironic that the world’s second largest oil company is sponsoring a wildlife photography exhibition -- but Shell is truly committed to preservation of the polar bear and other wildlife -- in photographs if not in the real world. Some say it’s the end of the oil age -- but we say it’s just the beginning -- we’re thrilled about digging into Canada’s oil sands and with your help we can continue to deceive the public into thinking we’re a responsible corporate citizen. Thank you all for coming tonight and we hope you enjoy viewing these amazing photographs of wildlife that Shell is destroying -- I mean conserving.
The next day began with a Wild Lie counter-exhibit outside the Museum: humans, about a dozen polar bears, a snow leopard, and a tiger, some of whom made their way into the exhibition hall, where a die-in took place. Full text in UK Indymedia.
See also: Ogoni; FOE on Shell's destruction in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge; Financial Times on its role in the Alberta tarsands, as well as Boreal Initiative, VBS videos and Oilsandswatch.
On greenwashing, see Greenpeace UK, Adbusters, Corpwatch, and Wikipedia.

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