Greenpeace Activists Scale Arctic Oil Rig

Greenpeace/CC BY 2.0

Greenpeace has aggressively opposed the recent scramble to drill in the Arctic, whether it be Shell's efforts to set up shop off the coast off Alaska or the state-run oil giant Gazprom readying the first oil rig in Russia's northern seas.

So, the group did what it's done best over the course of its impressive multi-decade run: it staged a dramatic, headline-grabbing protest. Here's Reuters:

The activists, including Greenpeace's global chief Kumi Naidoo, climbed the Gazprom platform off Russia's north coast after reaching it in inflatable speedboats at about 4 a.m. They took ample supplies and intended to stay for days, clinging to the side of the platform - Russia's first offshore Arctic oil development - in tents pitched on small scaffolds.
Gazprom didn't take kindly to the interference, evidently: employees reportedly hurled heavy objects, including chains, at the activists in between bouts of blasting them with a hose. The violent action eventually drenched the Greenpeace crew and left some neck-deep in frigid waters. After the action had disrupted activities for 15 hours, the team relented.

"'They retreated to a Greenpeace ship "to avoid unnecessary risk in these freezing Arctic conditions,' the group said. A witness on the ship said Naidoo suffered from hyperthermia after being sprayed with water from the platform. Activists said chains were dropped from above."

Here's a video account of the action, via Greenpeace's blog:

The colorful protests nonetheless mark a dark moment—sea ice in the Arctic just reached its lowest levels ever recorded thanks to global warming. Like Gazprom, oil concerns the world over are rushing to exploit the spoils of the world they've helped warm. And it's going to take more than Greenpeace to parry their thrust.

Tags: Activism | Oil