Shell Oil in the McSpotlight
Shell were also the subject of a succesful Greenpeace campaing to stop them dumping a decommissioned oil storage platform in the North Sea. Shell have now asked Greenpeace to assist them in drawing up an environmental assessment. Although any company has to be commended for taking their environmental impact seriosly, we have to beware that it is not just an attempt at some belated public relations.
Shell is part of the Oil industry.
It is not only the specific practices of individual companies that cause problems. The attitudes created by the current system of exploitation gives power and profits to the few, at the expense of people, animals and the environment. It is important to expose the unethical practices of specific companies as their behaviour is often indicative of the entire system.
Shell Oil have been involved in anti-trade union activities and have played a leading role in moves by the Oil Industry to de-recognition of trade unions in the UK.
[The Ethical Consumer Guide to Everyday Shopping published by the Ethical Consumer Research Association.]
Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others were tried and executed for murder in late 1996. The real reason for the execution of these people was that they were leading the protest by the Ogoni nation in Nigeria against Shell's operations there. Ken Saro Wiwa played an important part in leading the protest against the exploitation of Ogoni lands and Ogoni people by oil giants such as Shell. As media interest in the trial peaked, Shell Oil was forced to admit that they had supplied guns to the Nigerian government. Nineteen others are still detained without charge for their involvement in the anti-Shell movement.
A Channel 4 documentary 'The Drilling Fields' accused Shell of being in alliance with the Nigerian military government. Shell had to withdraw their complaint about the programme after admitting to paying the military.
Shell continue to operate in Nigeria
Shell have also recently begun operations in Peru, where despite their attempts to minimise the impact to both the environment and the local people there are already claims that damage is being done. Local people say that it now takes a whole day to hunt the same amount of animals it used to take only 2 hours to find, and that their river sometimes runs black.
[The Ethical Consumer Guide to Everyday Shopping published by the Ethical Consumer Research Association.] [The Guardian, 14.5.97]
Opposition and Campaigns
Exploitation and profiteering do not need to exist. A better way of running our lives can be created based on the sharing of resources and on respect for each other and for nature. Increasingly people are questioning and challenging those with power and are seeking alternatives. Let's hope it's possible to make a difference.
Products and brandnames: Shell petrol stations
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