This is a guest post from UK Tar Sands Network, People & Planet and other activists concerned about Oxford University's relationship with Shell.
Join us this Thursday to declare that Big Oil has no place funding our universities!
This Thursday, Oxford University's Earth Sciences Department is launching a new partnership with Shell, one of the worst of the Big Oil companies. They will be opening the new ‘Shell Geoscience Laboratory’ in the Earth Sciences department, in a ceremony presided over by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Andrew Hamilton (VC of the University) and Alison Goligher (Executive VP for Unconventionals at Shell).
This prestigious event did not fail to attract the attention of Oxford students, alumni and residents, who felt that this partnership embodies two types of wrongs. First, the university is giving Shell the opportunity to use a miniscule amount of its profits in exchange of appearing socially responsible, when it is anything but (human rights abuses in the Niger Delta, reckless drilling plans in the Arctic, and carbon-intensive tar sands extraction in Canada, to name but a few). The second is that, based on the available information, this research partnership will direct much of its focus on the better understanding of deposits of unconventional hydrocarbons such as black shale and methane. While this is fundamental research, it is rather naïve to think that there is no connection to Shell’s plans to continue to exploit fossil fuels to the very last drop. So not only is Shell buying legitimacy, the company is also influencing the research agenda of a prestigious university, in such a way that will help its climate-destroying business in the future.
Therefore a group of University students and alumni - supported by local residents and environmental and human rights groups - will hold a peaceful protest outside the Earth Sciences building. Alongside the protest, people are also cordially invited to:
The Shell Laboratory Closing Ceremony!
Join us from 3.15pm outside the Earth Sciences building for a trip into the future. It'll be May 2018, and we'll be holding a swanky ceremony of our own to celebrate the closure of the ill-fated and unpopular Shell-funded geosciences laboratory.
Hear live apologies and feeble justifications from the Vice-Chancellor, the Shell Vice-President and ex-Secretary of State Ed Davey, as they attempt to explain why this terrible partnership was launched in the first place! Hear about how staff and student outrage over the last five years forced the laboratory to close, after it became clear that the department's research into gas and oil-bearing shale was helping Shell to extract yet more hydrocarbons in a time of climate change emergency.
Will Ed Davey take responsibility for the cuts to research funding that pushed universities like Oxford into the arms of fossil fuel corporations? Will Alison Goligher from Shell apologise for the human rights abuses and environmental destruction in Nigeria, the Arctic, South Africa, Canada and elsewhere - the terrible activities that the Oxford partnership was helping to distract the world away from? Come along on Thursday and find out!
Whether your concern is climate change, human rights, corporate influence over research or environmental damage, please do join us to start the process of kicking Shell out of Oxford.