BP Gets Behind “Sunken Cities” and Climate Activists Make the Most of It

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Goin voit rouge / thierry ehrmann

May 19, 2016; The Guardian

A few weeks ago, we reported on the unfortunate acronym that emerged from the renaming of the law school at George Mason University in honor of former Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia. This demonstrates the inherent need for fundraisers and donors who are into plastering names on things to consider the match between the thing being sponsored and the sponsor. Are you leaving yourself wide open for ridicule? Have you given activists an unfortunately apropos “hook” to hang a banner on?

The Guardian is reporting that yesterday, Greenpeace activists scaled the British Museum to place 27-foot-long banners to protest BP’s sponsorship of its Sunken Cities Egypt exhibit. This protest followed two others in the museum’s Grand Court earlier in the week by the group BP or not BP, an organization that tries to call attention to (and eliminate sponsorship of the arts by) the fossil fuel industry.

“The British Museum is an institution traditionally devoted to education, research and discovery,” said Greenpeace’s Elisa Polisano, “whereas BP’s focus is on building an oil-dependent culture. The only research and discovery they are interested in is finding more of the fossil fuels that are warming our planet and raising sea levels.”

The banners renamed the exhibition “Sinking Cities.”

This was one of any number of such protests around the globe over the past few weeks. As reported by Democracy Now!:

In the UK, protesters shut down the country’s largest open-cast coal mine for a day. A similar protest halted coal shipments in Newcastle, Australia. In the U.S., people occupied train tracks overnight to stop “bomb trains,” oil-filled tanker cars that have exploded in the past, killing hundreds. In Germany, 3,500 people shut down a lignite mine and nearby power station for over 48 hours. In the Philippines, 10,000 marched against a proposed coal plant. Community members blocked traffic outside the gates of Brazil’s largest thermal coal plant. On land and water, people blockaded the Kinder Morgan tar sands facility in Vancouver, and in Turkey, 2,000 people marched to a large coal dump and surrounded it with a giant red line.

NPQ would love to hear about any actions in your area, including those in which you participated.—Ruth McCambridge