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A Surge in Kayaktivism in Seattle as Small Boats Protest Shell Oil’s Polar Pioneer Departing for Alaska

Posted by Leonard on June, 14, 2015

In late May and early June of this year, the Shell oil rig Polar Pioneer was docked in Seattle’s harbor for maintenance. Coming from around the world, the rig was bound for Alaska to begin offshore drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea between the US and Russia. This decision to allow for drilling there by the Obama Administration represents a new and dangerous direction for official policy that bost prolongs a dependence on fossil fuel as well as takes great environmental risks with the threat of an oil spill in such a significant and remote ecosystem.

Over the course of the month, there were numerous events on land and sea that included a surge of kayaktivism, small boat protests around the rig to draw attention to the federal policy and the oil giants irresponsible and dangerous plans. The rig was a giant monstrosity of a machine, towering over the city skyline larger than any other machinery anywhere in the port and visible from every direction.

On the morning of the the rigs departure from Seattle, a call went out to people to come join the waterborne protest and stand in the path of the giant rig. I awoke at sunrise and went to get my drone camera up in the sky over the rig before it’s departure. I then boarded a Greenpeace boat full of Raging Grannies and joined the small crowd in the waters in front of the departing rig as it made it’s way out of Elliott Bay.

This is a short piece I produced for Yes Magazine, with whom I’ve collaborated on a number of projects over the years.

Shell No! Kayaktivism To Stop Arctic Offshore Drilling from Pangeality Productions on Vimeo.




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