Last February eight Greenpeace activists occupied the mast of the ship “Noble Discoverer” for 77 hours to protest oil exploration in the Arctic. Looking back I see that I wrote about it at the time:
The courage of their convictions
While most of us talk about “saving the world” some people act.
I have a lot of respect for the Greenpeace activists, including headline-woman Lucy Lawless, who are occupying a Shell Oil drilling ship, to prevent its departure to start drilling operations in the Arctic.
They planned their protest carefully so as not to endanger others, or interfere with the operation of the ship. But they are breaking the law, and thus all willingly risking the legal consequences (and possible career damage etc).
Of course many from the right wing of politics will condemn them as law breakers. But what is a sane person to do when the law is an ass, and the world has gone mad? In my opinion the actions of these protestors are fully justified, entirely rational, and very very brave. From the guilty comfort of my ergonomic chair and the safety of my keyboard, I salute you all.
As widely covered, the activists were sentenced yesterday, each to 120 hours of community service and a fine of $650 (“to cover port costs”). I’d like to thank them once again for their courage. I hope Greenpeace is planning to set up a mechanism for accepting donations to pay their fines (just had a quick look and couldn’t see anything on their web site, post details in comments if you find a link).
I think kudos are also due to the New Plymouth District Court that heard the case. They had to pass down some punishment, and the balance here strikes me as not unreasonable, especially when the Police were seeking $648,000 in “reparation costs”, which was clearly punitive.
The activists knew what they were letting themselves in for, and they have successfully attracted plenty of attention to their cause. To our cause…