Burlington, Vt. November 14, 2012—Climate justice activists affiliated with Rising Tide Vermont interrupted a presentation at the University of Vermont by Olav Ljøsne, Senior Manager of International Operations for Royal Dutch Shell. Ljøsne was speaking on a panel about oil extraction in the Niger Delta.
Activists shared testimony from Niger Delta community members suffering the impacts of Shell Oil operations on their homeland. Shell Oil has a long-standing relationship with Nigeria’s various military dictatorships and has been implicated in the genocidal devastation of ecosystems and communities in the Niger Delta.
“We took this action today because the voices of people struggling to survive on their lands were absent in the presentation,” said Keith Brunner, a participant in the action. “Communities in the Niger Delta are organized against oil extraction in their homeland. Without those voices, the panel is meaningless.”
Nine activists stood up throughout Ljøsne’s presentation, rendering it impossible for him to speak. The event was finally postponed and the police were called.
“This day kicks off a week of actions in solidarity with frontline struggles in the movement for climate justice,” said Avery Pittman. “From the oilfields of the Niger Delta, to the tar sands in Alberta, to the ongoing blockade of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in east Texas, communities are resisting extreme energy and asserting their right to a healthy environment.”
Rising Tide Vermont is a climate justice organization based out of Burlington, Vermont, which organizes and takes direct action to confront the root causes of climate change.