September 18, 2012

Is Greenpeace selling us something other than the truth, too?

SUCCESS! Shell stops Arctic oil drilling for this year!
~ Greenpeace

No offense Greenpeace—love ya—but your headline was, er… how shall I put this? Misleading.

September 17th, across the socialmediasphere, people were celebrating what you called a “victory.”

After I did my own celebratory jig within the confines of my small home office, frightening the cats, I sat back down to my computer to re-read what you posted on your website—-which at last look had been tweeted 671 times and shared on facebook 3,900 times (and I imagine the actual reach is exponentially higher than that).

For over six months, huge numbers of us have been pressuring Shell to stay out of the Arctic. Well this morning, company bosses announced they were scrapping their oil drilling program for this year. It’s a huge victory for people power.

I had just written about the efforts to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic. This victory charged me up—it was proof that our voices really do count. Thank you each and every one of you who signed the petition.

Photo: Greenpeace International

I read on…

As one of the world’s biggest oil companies, Shell was set to lead the pack and spark the Arctic oil rush. But a few hours ago they admitted defeat for 2012.

With the eyes of two million people on them, Shell executives knew that any mistakes would be noticed. And today they admitted yet another one. A special dome which was designed to clean up after a spill has been damaged. That means the end of the project for this year.

So was it the power of the people or the containment dome that brought Shell to its knees and its drilling to a screeching halt?

My eco elation sprung out of my grasp, haphazardly circled the room and crashed to the floor.

The New York Times:

In the latest in a series of embarrassing setbacks, Shell Oil Company announced on Monday that it has been forced to delay drilling for oil in Alaskan Arctic waters this year after a spill containment dome was damaged during a testing mishap.

No fist bumps to Greenpeace.

Shell has not stopped drilling—they’ve only delayed it due to this mishap. And they’ve had a series of debacles thanks to shifting ice and Arctic winds which aren’t going away anytime too soon (I hope). So it’s good-ish news, but Greenpeace’s claim is a bit like George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” display in 2003.

Photo: Greenpeace International

According to the Times, the window for drilling in the Arctic—“predicated on ice floes and agreements to protect whales and other wildlife”—closes the end of October. And, get this: Shell is asking permission from the Department of Interior for an extra couple of weeks of drilling time in the Chukchi.


Greenpeace, what’s up with the hype? The false hope?

Okay, so you reeled it back in a bit with this:

This is a huge step forward in our campaign, but we need to build on it to make sure we keep the Arctic protected from all oil drillers, for good.

But then concluded with this:

If you’re one of the two million who’ve joined the campaign to save the Arctic—today is a time to celebrate what you’ve achieved against one of the most powerful corporations on the planet.

Our voices do count. I believe that.

But, Greenpeace,  you just threw a lot of people—including myself—for a loop. That’s not cool.

While we can cheer about Shell’s recent hiccups (fingers crossed that these are just the tip of the iceberg, pardon the pun), the work is not over. It’s only begun.

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