Dozens of protesters, wearing orange and inexperienced flowing costumes to signify the burning atmosphere, gathered on the British Museum on Saturday whereas youth activists staged a separate demonstration on the Science Museum. Each occasions aimed to strain the establishments to sever ties with oil firms.
The theatrical activist group BP or not BP staged a protest on the British Museum in response to the oil firm’s sponsorship of Nero: The Man Behind the Fantasy, the museum’s subsequent huge exhibition, resulting from open on 27 Could.
Three skilled violinists draped in inexperienced costumes carried out contained in the Nice Courtroom on the British Museum, alongside a “choir of fireplace” carrying orange and yellow outfits with headdresses of paper flames. The efficiency likened BP to Emperor Nero himself – “fiddling whereas the planet burns” – to attract consideration to these affected by wildfires world wide.
Vanessa Downie, one of many violinists, stated: “We all the time wish to elevate consciousness about BP actively contributing to international warming with its big urge for food for oil and fuel extraction.
“We wish to level out the extra irony in BP sponsoring an exhibition concerning the dictator Nero, when the corporate itself has a protracted historical past of partnering with repressive regimes in nations the place it operates.
“We see this as a robust method to profitable elevating consciousness round BP’s damaging greed, and the more and more pressing want for cleaner alternate options to fossil fuels.”
In 2016, BP introduced a five-year, £7.5m sponsorship of the humanities which started in 2018 and consists of the British Museum, the Nationwide Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera Home and the Royal Shakespeare Firm (RSC). Whereas longstanding offers with Tate and the Edinburgh worldwide pageant weren’t renewed, and the RSC ended its sponsorship take care of BP two years early, different cultural establishments proceed to just accept cash from oil firms.
In response to the marketing campaign group, BP sponsorship supplies lower than 1% of the British Museum’s annual earnings. These cultural offers are up for renewal this 12 months, and for Danny, who helped organise the protest, the British Museum is making an “lively selection” in upholding its sponsorship with BP.
He stated: “They’re selecting to stay with the sponsor, and they’re actively making a option to hold propping up an organization that’s extremely complicit within the local weather disaster.”
Additionally on Saturday, youth activists from UK Pupil Local weather Community (UKSCN) led a protest on the Science Museum, in response to a brand new local weather exhibition sponsored by Shell.
Izzy Warren, 17, from west London, who was attending the demonstration, stated: “Previously, drawing hyperlinks between oil sponsorship and the influence of local weather change has been exhausting. Once you’ve received an exhibition on local weather change and options being sponsored by an oil firm, there’s something very incorrect with that, and I feel that’s why this one has received a variety of consideration.”
On Tuesday, the group launched a boycott of the brand new exhibition, Our Future Planet, after the museum ignored an open letter demanding the Science Museum drop its Shell sponsorship, backed by greater than 170 scientists and local weather organisations.
Shell has come underneath big strain from shareholders voting for carbon emission reductions, whereas the Worldwide Vitality Company has stated investments in new oil and fuel exploration want to finish if the world is to succeed in web zero by 2050.
Warren added: “I feel it’s a very low-cost means for oil firms to have social licence in our museums to function and make it appear to be they’re contributing extra good. In actuality, they’re destroying our planet, and destroying folks’s houses and folks’s livelihoods.”
A spokesperson for the Science Museum stated: “We acquired a peaceable protest from UKSCN at present. It happened with out incident and guests continued to have protected entry to the inspiration of our museum and to the vaccination centre.”