standing before an oil rig

Resistance to Arctic drilling worth remembering

From activists who scaled Shell’s rig in April or who stopped one of Shell’s ships this July, to the millions of people all over the world who signed petitions, paraded with polar bears, shared stories and helped organize for real environmental justice, this is YOUR victory.

I’m standing between Shell and the Arctic – join me

by Audrey Siegl

» Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam woman from BC, is a First Nations artist, activist, renowned public speaker and a drummer and singer. In the photo above, she stands in a Greenpeace rhib launched from the MY Esperanza holding her arm out in front her, defiantly signalling Shell’s subcontracted drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, to stop.

In June of 2015, First Nations artist and activist Audrey Siegl stood on a small boat, bravely confronting Shell’s 300-foot-tall Arctic drilling platform in Canadian waters off the coast of British Columbia on its way to the Alaskan Arctic. This is her message on why she took a stand against Shell. Audrey’s protest came less than a week after dozens of kayaktivists blocked Shell’s Arctic-bound rig for hours as it left the United States.

Editor’s note: Shell’s Polar Pioneer rig was last sighted in Saudi Arabia. The following is from a blogpost by April Glaser, September 29, 2015 www.greenpeace.org

You did it! Shell abandons Arctic drilling: This week, Shell announced plans to abandon its Arctic oil drilling operations. This is huge. From activists who scaled Shell’s rig in April or who stopped one of Shell’s ships this July, to the millions of people all over the world who signed petitions, paraded with polar bears, shared stories and helped organize for real environmental justice, this is YOUR victory. Thank you.

This morning, I faced off with Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer. It was terrifying. But there are moments in life when, despite your fear, you must act.

I chose to stand face-to-face with this massive machine and use my voice to express my opposition to the devastating work Shell’s rig is on its way to do.

The truth is I am angry that, yet again, the voice of the people is being ignored. That corporations like Shell continue with their Arctic drilling plans despite over seven million people telling them to stop. I am angry that the best interests of the people are being shoved aside to accommodate corporate greed. I am scared that our future is being sacrificed for oil companies that would seal our fate away with runaway climate change, all for more profiteering. Yet despite all this I will not be made to feel powerless again.

east-is-eastThe First Nations have had our rights and freedom stripped from us for centuries. We are the original stewards of this land and water. For that reason, I will continue to use my voice and presence to protect what is sacred. If that means staring down a ginormous machine in the middle of the ocean, I’ll do it. All I have is my voice, my body and the truth I speak. I will not be bullied and coerced into silence and inaction.

So the truth is we, the people, can turn this thing around. When we unite, become one and move with open minds and hearts, we are unstoppable. When we connect and stand as an indivisible and determined force for good, we can only succeed.

As a First Nations woman, I no longer accept inhumane treatment and violations that have been forced on my people for centuries. I no longer accept the lies that have been served up as the truth for centuries. We have been duped into believing that we have no power and no say from corporations like Shell. The truth is that we do have power. We do have a say. We just cannot stand idly by and let the destruction continue.

Shell places itself in opposition to all land defenders by pushing through with their Arctic drilling plans. Shell places itself in opposition to the First Nations who have said “No” to Arctic drilling. I stand with thousands of years of ancestors to say “No More!” I stand with indigenous women from around the world to say “No More!”

We are the life-givers. We are reclaiming our power. We are reclaiming our dignity. We are reclaiming our rightful place on the lands we love and sea that we care for. We stand for preserving and protecting the land and water that have sustained life since the first sunrise. We will carry on the work of my ancestors.

Whether in the Arctic, in Canada, in Asia, in South America, in Europe or anywhere in the world, we must unite and empower each other and ourselves. Our job is to use our voices and presence to shine a light on injustice. We must be indivisible. We must always know what we are up against but even more importantly, we must know what we are protecting. That is why we must unite and be one in our fight together.

Blogpost at www.greenpeace.org by Audrey Siegl, June 17, 2015

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