Tagged: Amsterdam


In 2012, Royal Dutch Shell failed to drill a single hole in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska thanks to a series of dangerous blunders and mismanagement that led to the U.S. government calling the company "screwed up." This year, they trained their sights on the much less regulated waters off the coast of Russia, teaming up the Russian oil giant, Gazprom, to open up the newly accessible Russian arctic to drilling. 

Greenpeace didn't think enough people were paying attention to this, so they teamed up with the Yes Lab to create a spectacle in Amsterdam that would get people talking. 

On August 21st, a barge filled with Russian and Dutch officials, a marching band, a young Russian child singer, and a giant cage containing what appeared to be a drugged up polar bear, wound it's way through the canals of Amsterdam to the city's zoo. Gazprom held a ceremony presenting the bear to the city as a gesture of good will and partnership, launching the Polar Partners initiative, including an interactive website and video. 

The promotional video of the event immediately went viral with high-profile Twitterers like Pamela Anderson, Adam McKay, Occupy Wall Street, and 350.org tweeting their outrage.

Selected Press:


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On June 18, 2014 Op de Valreep which won Alert Fund's Most Valued Project Award, was evicted by city government but not before activists put up an epic thirteen hour resistance where riot cops had to break through massive barricades and angle grind loose more than 10 people out of lockons. The neighbourhood has lost her living room, the city has lost one of her very, very few last free spaces, the politic establishment has lost all their credibility and Valreep volunteers have lost their home. But as they told the Yes Men:


Read the Eviction timeline here.

Despite a major campaign in the run-up to the elections, where the posters of all political parties were spoofed…
Despite putting the city slogan "I AMsterdam" in massive three dimensional letters on top of the roof…
Despite going to the city council for the hundredth time with hundreds of sympathisers, thousands of signatures, and a fullsize brassband…
Despite the massive support from the neighbourhood, in the city, throughout the country…
Despite winning the Alert fund Most Valued Project Award…

…Despite all of that, the city stubbornly decided to evict social centre Op de Valreep, the peoples initiative that was free to everyone and was run for almost three years solely by volunteers and without subsidies.

The city government has NEVER granted Valreep's SINGLE demand: Let us present our plans and consider us for renting/buying the place. We have a valid businessplan and investors backing that plan.

The Valreep will probably remain empty for a year, or more likely a few years, or as the case may be much longer, as they will presumably focus on redevelopment of the surrounding grounds. Eventually it will be renovated into yet another posh grand cafe (for the elite).

Despite the sense of loss of Valreep, its crucial to look at what worked.Valreep volunteers wrote in that they were able to survive for three years by enacting a massive campaign which incorporated feedback from The Yes Men. The kind of person to person, online to on-the-ground collaboration, support and hard core organizing that the Action Switchboard is rolling out to the wider movement very soon.

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Hollywood Interference Rejected By Russian Energy Company
Despite a celebrity setback, Gazprom is marching ahead with its "Year of Ecology" animal relocation program. Having successfully saved entire populations of reindeer, birds, and salmon, the newest phase involves relocating polar bears from endangered Arctic habitats to zoos worldwide, preserving them for future generations. "We are looking forward to supplying many zoos with a bear," said Timur Grigolyuk, Program Director of the Gazprom/Shell Polar Partnership (GSPP). "In this way we will continue celebrating the joining of Gazprom with Shell to obtain vast Russian Arctic oil reserves for use by all humanity."
Gazprom’s visionary polar bear adoption program continues despite an attempt at interference by Hollywood, in the form of a copyright complaint against GSPP's launch Video News Release. The video launches Gazprom's polar bear adoption program with a live action footage of donation in action.
The fracas has led to a Hollywood rash of unfounded criticism, which Gazprom's PR department is in the process of addressing. Meanwhile, Gazprom lawyers have temporarily removed the video as a courtesy. Gazprom guarantees that legal threats or others, will not delay Gazprom’s plans to relocate bears from oil-rich Arctic regions to needing zoos in the United States and Europe, nor to accomplish our other plans in service of humanity and wildlife.
"This is not the first time Russia has been targeted by the Western entertainment industry, but I assumed those dark days were far behind us," said Grigolyuk.
The Gazprom/Shell Polar Partnership is a brand-new venture that has been widely praised by analysts. Last year, Shell suspended Alaskan Arctic oil drilling after difficulty with American government concerning two offshore rigs. Today, Shell is partnering with Gazprom to drill in the Russian Arctic. "In some important ways, Russia is freer than America," noted Grigolyuk.
After a tragic 2013 rash of residential polar bear deaths in Europe and America (including in Cleveland, Maryland, Louisville and Madison), the two companies decided to celebrate their new energy partnership by bringing another valuable resource to a world in need. After all, just as the numerous polar bears in the Russian North need a home, many homes need a bear! "The Polar Partnership bear relocation program will support zoos around the world with much-needed bears from the areas in which Gazprom and Shell will operate," said Director Grigolyuk. Gazprom’s generosity will create "insurance populations," guaranteeing countless children a happy zoo visit for years to come.
Gazprom/Shell's polar bear relocation program is a part of Gazprom's "Year of Ecology," which most recently launched jpegs of "Year of Ecology" animals into outer space to take up a permanent home on the International Space Station.
Grigolyuk said, "...Accidents are part of life; failing to embrace the up and down each new day presents is the behavior of a foolish person."
Mikhail Umsky, GSPP Press Officer, press@gazprom-press.com
This news release can be found on the Gazprom website.
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