Tagged: arctic

arctic

Royal Dutch Shell has spent billions on its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. Despite setbacks, in the spring and summer of 2015, they were ramping up operations to go drill in areas made newly accessible by climate change. To counter the negative attention they were getting, we decided to help them out by launching a guerrilla marketing campaign to offer people a taste of the melting Arctic.

 

A Shell “street team” popped up in New York City to promote the oil giant’s big Arctic launch with a classic street food: hand-shaved ice. But it wasn’t just any ice, this was the last polar ice, shaved from ancient bergs before they’re all gone. A piraguero manning a slick “low rider” shaved-ice cart (actually artist Miguel Luciano) handed out the free red and yellow slushies, offering New Yorkers their “First Taste of the Last Frontier." Our hot-pants wearing models waved signs advertising Shell's Arctic drilling program, while we did the public outreach that Shell is too embarrassed to do themselves.

 

And it worked! Thanks to this action (and, well, thousands of activists worldwide), Shell abandoned their plans to drill in the Arctic in the foreseeable future.

 

Check out Rolling Stone’s video and article here, and more coverage on Democracy Now! here.

 

 
 
 
 
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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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Insane PR Circus Rocks Holland—But It's Not that Polar Bear Thing
Hoax involves Dutch, Pamela Anderson and New Zealand Zoo
 
What seemed to be a cruel and bizarre PR campaign took over Amsterdam yesterday as a barge with an apparently drugged polar bear, a Russian child superstar, and a colorful marching band wound through Amsterdam's canals to the city zoo. There, visitors and staff watched Gazprom and Shell reps officiously give the bear to Amsterdam—before being forcibly removed by zoo security and city police.
 
A flurry of public speculation rippled through Dutch TV and online media: What could it mean? Who could have done this? Has Shell gone mad?
 
Shortly thereafter, a companion website appeared at Polar-Partners.com, just in time for Twitter to burst into flames with revelations that "Gazprom" was illegally using music in the PR event's publicity video. Pamela Anderson, Dawn Olivieri, Adam McKay, Occupy Wall Street, and various other celebs joined in the fracas, cumulatively reaching millions of fans.
 
Making things weirder, New Zealand's Auckland Zoo felt compelled to assert that it would not be receiving a bear through Gazprom's Adopt-a-Bear program. And when grainy bear cruelty photos popped up, the whole thing began to gain its own weird momentum.
 
"Our polar bear circus was absolutely insane, but not half as insane as Gazprom and Shell's Arctic deal," said James Turner of Greenpeace International. "They want to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil. Shell screwed up badly in Alaska last year, so they're taking advantage of Russia's weaker regulations to take huge risks over there instead."
 
"It's a national embarrassment that the most famous Dutch company is teaming up with one of the world's most notoriously corrupt state-owned corporations," said Dutch activist and Yes Lab volunteer Richelle Dumond. "Shell used to have standards, didn't they?"
 
"Gazprom made it very easy for us," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Their actual PR is extremely inspiring."
 
"If you want a good laugh, just take a look at what Gazprom writes about reindeer, birds and salmon for their 'Year of Ecology' page," said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men.
 
"Not to mention launching a USB key with animal jpegs into outer space," said Sean Devlin of the Yes Lab. "Now that's inspiring."
 
"Gazprom and Shell's real PR stunt is persuading the world that they're not responsible for the collapse of our ecosystems, and that they can be trusted to drill safely in the Arctic," said Turner. "But now over 3.5 million people are ready to bust the hoax."
 
The project was a collaboration between the Yes Lab, Greenpeace International and Russian activists forced to live abroad. 
 
CONTACT: James Turner (Greenpeace International), Andy Bichlbaum (Yes Lab)
 
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