The Shard, at over 300 meters tall, is the highest standing skyscraper in all of Europe. It’s also the home of Shell Oil’s headquarters in Britain. The combination of these factors led six activists associated with Greenpeace to climb the tower, without permission, as a dramatic protest against drilling for oil in the Arctic. They made it all the way to the top.
Cassady Sharp, one of the climbers, writes, “I can see the top of the Shard from the window at work. Sometimes I look out at it and I just can’t wait to scale it. Other times I’ll be passing through London Bridge, and as I walk past the base I crane my neck to look up at the top, overcome by the enormity. At those times it seems impossible, utter madness to even attempt what we’re planning.
I think there’s a parallel here to the enormity of our goal of saving the Arctic. As an abstract idea? Sure, great. But as we near our goal, when the challenges come into even sharper focus, there will be doubt that we can accomplish something of this scale. We’re going to have our own fears, and there will be plenty of people telling US it’s impossible. But all that means is that we’re closer than ever before.
All I need to do is face down one building. But us, together as activists for the Arctic? We need to face down entire industries, governments, and a way of thinking that puts profit before the planet.”