Oh LEGO! We’re feeling sad again. We just heard you’ve rolled out a new line of Shell toys in Singapore, and this is just the beginning – they’ll be coming to Shell petrol stations across the globe in the next year or so.
And these toys are even more blatant Shell propaganda than last time. Why use your imagination to play with bricks and create your wildest dreams when you can play with a drab pre-fab Shell filling station?
And your timing couldn’t be worse LEGO.
Just days ago Shell submitted plans to the US administrators for offshore exploratory drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. It’s the clearest sign we’ve had so far that Shell will seek to resurrect its ill-fated Arctic drilling plans as early as summer 2015.
And that means LEGO could find itself showcasing its friendship with Shell at precisely the same time as Shell is flooded with criticism for putting the pristine Arctic and its wildlife at extreme risk.
Shell’s past attempts to drill in the Arctic have been plagued with multiple operational failings culminating in the running aground of its drilling rig, the Kulluk. Two separate investigations were highly critical of Shell’s risk management practices the US Coast Guard report accused Shell of “demonstrating a lack of respect for the unique risks inherent in Alaskan operations.”
But even if Shell we’re the most trustworthy company in the world, it still couldn’t drill safely in the Arctic.
The extreme Arctic conditions, including freezing temperatures, many months of complete darkness, giant floating ice-bergs and stormy seas, make offshore drilling extremely risky. And scientists say that in the Arctic, and oil spill would be impossible to clean up meaning devastation for the Arctic’s unique wildlife.
Yet Shell, and other big oil companies like it, is determined to wring the last drops of oil from our earth to secure its future, and that means moving towards high-cost, high-risk extreme sources of oil. And it’s doing this despite the known impact our addiction to fossil fuels is having on our climate, including melting the Arctic.
But whether Shell is allowed to risk drilling in the Alaskan Arctic is another matter. The US authorities have to weight up the environmental, social and political risks of granting Shell the licence it needs. And that’s where you come in LEGO.
Shell needs you. It needs to pretend it’s a family-friendly company and has the right values, like you do. And it needs to pretend it’s got our interests at heart. It needs to look as innocent as you when it’s being judged by the powers that will determine if it can head back to the Arctic. Do you really want to be making Shell toys when its next Arctic rig runs into trouble?
One million fans have reached out to you to urge you not to support Shell’s Arctic destruction. What will it take for you to listen?
Ellen Booth is a Press Officer at Greenpeace UK.
To read more about Shell and LEGO’s partnership see Greenpeace’s latest report LEGO is keeping bad company.