The Titanic-themed protest saw the performance of ‘Requiem for Arctic ice’ by the Crystal Palace Quartet and supporting musicians at Shell’s office on the South Bank.

The music is inspired by the story of the Titanic string quartet, which continued playing as the ship sank. Greenpeace activists offered Shell employees a copy of the music and a whistle-blower email address on their way into work this morning.

The environmental group has been engaged in a long-running campaign against Shell’s plans to explore for oil under the arctic ice sheets. 

Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Mel Evans said: “This protest is about reaching into the hearts of Shell employees and asking them to help Shell avert disaster.

“If Shell tries to drill in the harsh Arctic environment then oil spills are inevitable. And an oil spill in the remote Arctic would be impossible to clean up, leaving local people and wildlife to suffer the consequences for years.

“We already have access to more oil than we can use without committing ourselves to catastrophic climate change. Shell cannot be allowed to trash the Arctic looking for more.” 

The musical protest comes after a week of action by Greenpeace activists in Portland, Oregon, where protestors suspended themselves from the St. John’s Bridge for more than 30 hours to prevent a Shell arctic drilling support vessel from leaving the harbour.

Thirteen Greenpeace climbers suspended themselves below the bridge to prevent the icebreaker Fennica from leaving the port.

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard said: “This was a historic achievement not just because it blocked Shell’s icebreaker from reaching the Arctic, but because it helped spark an even bigger movement of people to raise their voices for something they believe in.”

Last year, a Greenpeace campaign led to global toymaker Lego breaking ties with Shell, ending a partnership dating back to the 1960s. A viral Greenpeace video led Lego to end its marketing contract with the oil giant and remove Shell branding from its toys and products.

Shell has previously urged its shareholders to confront the risk of climate change and back a resolution to test whether the oil company’s business model was compatible with limiting global warming to 2C.

Matt Field

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