What happened when #ShellNo protestors went toe-to-toe with Big Oil in a daring standoff

Drilling for oil in the Arctic? Ohhhh #ShellNo!

The Arctic's icy Chukchi Sea. Photo by NASA HQ PHOTO/Flickr.


At least that's what Greenpeace USA and its supporters say.

Shell oil company recently got its hands on limited permits for preliminary drilling in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea, just west of the northern tip of Alaska, and was all set to get operations underway this week (despite plenty of warning that a devastating oil spill is all but inevitable if drilling occurs).

Until 13 activists got in the way. Literally.

Here's what happened.

Earlier this week, Shell deployed a 380-foot-long icebreaker called the MSV Fennica to the Arctic.

The Fennica is crucial to Shell's drilling operations in the way, way, way north because it carries a special spill containment system called a capping stack that has to be on hand before any drilling can begin (though the capping stack is far from a reliable solution).

After wrapping up some repairs at a Portland, Oregon, shipyard (Shell recently crashed the ship into an iceberg and ripped an enormous hole in the hull, d'oh!), the Fennica was all set to hit the open water.

The St. John's Bridge in Portland is all that stood between the MSV Fennica and a clear path to the Arctic. Image from Google Maps.

And then Greenpeace happened. Go, Greenpeace.

To physically block the Fennica's passage out into open water, Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge.

Stop, hammock time! Photo by carissabee/Instagram used with permission.

Loafing around in a hammock isn't usually a good way to get things done, but this might be the exception.

Protestors dangled colorful hammocks from the bridge, secured by heavy-duty climbing equipment. Activists in kayaks (kayaktivists!) also joined in the fight on the surface of the water below, forming a human blockade.

The kayaktivists! Photo by Backbone Campaign/Flickr.

The protestors arrived around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, prepared for the long haul. Most brought food, water, and entertainment to last them a number of days, with Portland residents contributing even more rations and supplies to the cause.


At one point on Thursday, Shell's icebreaker was forced to turn back and return to port.

A temporary but significant victory.

The protests ended on Thursday night, but the activists' message was heard loud and clear.

Some activists "hanging" out. Photo by opiopanaxx/Instagram used with permission.

Greenpeace had to know they couldn't keep the Fennica at bay forever.

But with Shell planning layoffs, watching its profits tank, and desperate to get started on its Arctic drilling project, the oil company couldn't afford any delays. Which is why Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace, told MSNBC, "Every second we stop Shell counts."

Thursday afternoon, a federal judge in Alaska ordered Greenpeace USA to pay a $2,500 fine every hour as long as protestors continued to impede the Fennica, with the fine set to increase every day. With hard-hitting fees heading their way and arrest threats looming, the Greenpeace activists were forced to pack it in.

The dramatic final moments of the protest. Photo by Twelvizm/Flickr.

But not before growing huge international awareness of the dangers of Arctic drilling.

Greenpeace says drilling in the Arctic could be catastrophic. And the experts agree.

The harsh conditions make it really difficult to access Arctic oil safely, or at all. Shell itself has poured more than $7 billion over the course of 10 years into trying to make this happen. Most of its competitors have given up for now.

Experts agree the risks are huge. One federal report recently estimated a 75% chance of at least one large oil spill over the life of Shell's 77-year drilling lease, which could absolutely devastate marine life in the Chukchi Sea and beyond.

A recent article in Time magazine also warned that drilling in the Arctic could release large amounts of methane and black carbon, two extremely potent greenhouse gasses. Black carbon is especially dangerous, as large buildups of the stuff collect solar energy at a rapid clip, warming the ice and water even faster.

The hammocks may have come down, but #ShellNo is still going strong.

This fight isn't over.


Greenpeace says the Obama administration has shown a willingness to change environmental policy based on public outcry, so they're encouraging people to continue amplifying the issues and voicing their displeasure.

Right now, the MSV Fennica is on a course for the Chukchi Sea. But after this incredible display of international concern, revoking Shell's drilling permits certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Social media spats usually end in ugly words or blocking people—unless you're Patton Oswalt.

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt has made a name for himself off screen as a blunt yet caring, compassionate human. His raw openness after his wife's unexpected passing and his willingness to engage in conversations about depression and dadhood after her death has touched people's hearts and opened people's minds.

And once again on Twitter, Oswalt has proven that he is unquestionably one of the most kind-hearted dudes in Hollywood.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less