With a series of well-timed and amusing stunts, activist group Greenpeace managed to make their point against Arctic drilling at the Belgian Grand Prix.

One large banner was strewn across the top of the stands reading “Arctic oil! Shell no!” featuring half a stylized Shell logo spliced with a polar bear’s head. Other smaller banners unfurled with remote control devices in front of the podium during the awards ceremony. They were surreptitiously removed by an official as can be seen in the video below.

The protest was not meant to disparage the sport, but rather its ties to the corporate oil giant, which is desperate to get at all that Arctic oil it can. Greenpeace is just as motivated to call attention to the plight of the Arctic.

Greenpeace’s International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, who is an F1 fan, writes:

Shell has proven time and again that it will cut the most dangerous corners in the race for the last drops of oil on the planet.

But while Shell is accelerating into a hairpin turn with faulty brakes, the rest of us are in a different kind of race — the race to protect the Arctic from an oil spill that would devastate this fragile region. Every driver knows that oil on the track spells disaster; an oil spill in the Arctic would be catastrophic.

Though the images of the protest banners were not shown on live television, footage and photos are circulating online.

Greenpeace has had similar recent publicity success as of late. Last month activists managed to reach the summit of London’s Shard skyscraper and unfurl a “Save the Arctic” banner.

Of course there will be those who disparage anyone perceived to be raining on their parade, as can be seen in the comments below this ESPN report on the protest, but such accusations of hypocrisy or terrorism reveal a certain political agenda. As far as message and delivery, I’d say Greenpeace as won this time, although I’m more pessimistic about what is happening to the Arctic and the Earth in general.

Save the Arctic

Petition to President Obama to make Arctic drilling off limits

Credit: Greeenpeace

Credit: Greeenpeace

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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