Early this Thursday morning, six activists from Greenpeace started to scale the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard in London, UK. The daring stunt is made in an effort to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, which could potentially cause "irreparable harm" to the fragile nature and its inhabitants.
The six climbers - identified as Ali Garrigan, Sabine Huyghe, Sandra Lamborn, Lisbeth Deddens, Victoria Henry and Wiola Smul - have been climbing for over 12 hours and, at the time of publish, managed to "free climb" 240 meters. Once they reach the top, at 310 meters, they plan to unveil "a huge work of art that captures the beauty of the Arctic." Greenpeace, who is calling for a moratorium ban on oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic, hopes that the action will result in even more signatures to their already one million strong Arctic petition.
Greenpeace says the Shard was chosen because it's located in the middle of Shell's three corporate headquarters. But also because the 72-story building is modelled on a shard of ice - the very same environment that is being threatened by our continued use of dirty fossil fuels.
In a response to the action, Shell said that they "respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations." They also defended themselves against the criticism from Greenpeace and other environmental organizations by claiming that they have the "technical experience and know-how to explore for and produce oil and gas responsibly."
But Shell's failed track record in the Arctic and around the world, casts real doubts on the company's claims of being able to drill for oil and gas safe and responsible - especially in a region such as the Arctic where fierce environmental conditions are a daily occurrence. New findings, released earlier this week, also shows that it's impossible, even in fairly safe waters, to operate oil and gas rigs without a steady release of oil and other chemicals leaking out into the sea.
You can watch the six-Greenpeace climbers on their journey up the Shard from the live-stream here.