The Root Word: ForestEthics Blog

Activist reports from Shell’s AGM in The Hague, Netherlands

May 22, 2012

The Hague, Netherlands--It’s a sunny day as I make my way to the Circus Theater in the beach town of Scheveningen where Shell is holding its annual shareholder’s meeting. When I get there, I’m greeted by a crowd of ForestEthics activists holding a banner asking Shell shareholders to choose between two future headlines for the Sacred Headwaters:

“Shell sentences Wild Salmon to Fracking: Communities Protest” or “Shell Leaves Canada’s Sacred Headwaters: Communities Celebrate”

Hmm, tough one! An activist dressed as a newspaper boy is yelling: ”Extra, Extra, Shell first to frack with salmon, communities protest!” He hands me a newspaper dated December 6, 2012, the day after the moratorium on Shell’s fracking project in the Sacred Headwaters expires. It’s filled with stories of the backlash Shell will face unless they get out of the Sacred Headwaters. With less than 7 months remaining until the moratorium ends, it’s time for Shell to choose which headlines they want.

Later we are inside the meeting room, staking out a place near the microphone as shareholders fill the room. Though the security is tight today, my team has managed to smuggle dozens of newspapers inside.

It’s time to get some straight answers! I get up to the microphone and demand a clear YES or NO from Shell whether they will relinquish their tenure and withdraw their plans to frack for coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters by December 2012. I get the usual beating around the bush answer: “we have not made any plans concerning the Klappan [Sacred Headwaters] region.”

But we haven’t played our last card yet! The next question is from my friend, and it’s short and simple: “Based on the answer that you’ve given us, can we confirm that you will not be leaving the Klappan?” Peter Voser CEO of Royal Dutch Shell answers, “I did not say that we will leave.”

There it is. Shell is not planning to withdraw its plans to drill for coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters!

We leave them with a clear warning: “Be prepared for this headline when the moratorium ends!” As my friends rise from their seats and hand out the smuggled in newspapers “Extra, Extra, Shell first to frack with salmon, communities protest!”

By Ries Mentink, Volunteer

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