The Root Word: ForestEthics Blog


Sacred Headwaters: Will Shell (Finally) Do the Right Thing?

Dec 11, 2012

There’s just one week left until the moratorium on Shell’s plans to frack for coalbed methane in British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters expires on December 18. What will Shell decide? Will the company ignore the voices of First Nations, local communities, and tens of thousands of people around the world who have said ‘no’ to fracking at the source of three major wild salmon rivers? Or will Shell do the right thing—heed opposition and leave the pristine wilderness untouched, allowing the salmon and the cultures and livelihoods that depend on them, to thrive?

Do Shell employees know what the company has proposed for the Sacred Headwaters? What would they think about the plans to turn this rich landscape into a maze of gas wells and roads? We wanted to give Shell’s staff a heads up about the company’s proposed development, and send a friendly reminder to Shell Headquarters in the Netherlands.

What better time than lunch hour to give Shell employees some food for thought?

On Monday, volunteers headed to Royal Dutch Shell’s Headquarters in The Hague. Armed with ladders high enough to reach the windows of the lunchroom, we hung posters of a salmon—clearly in need of clean water—with the message: “Something fishy with this picture? So are Shell’s plans to frack with Canada’s wild salmon.” Shell employees were surprised and looked on with curiosity.

I left wondering what the future holds for all of us: activists like myself, the company, and—above all—the communities in the remote northwest corner of British Columbia where the Sacred Headwaters live. Will activists be making plans to head back to Shell’s Headquarters next week, to make appearances at its annual shareholder meetings? Or will we be celebrating the right decision—Shell abandoning its project for the sake of the people and salmon that need the Sacred Headwaters to thrive?

In a mere seven days, we’ll have our answer.

By Ries Mentink, Volunteer

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