Meanwhile, dozens of “kayaktivists” took to the water to help block the icebreaker, which Portland Rising Tide organizer Meredith Cocks said was scheduled to depart early Wednesday morning. Now that Shell’s plan has been disrupted, protesters are preparing to launch further kayak blockades to disrupt other scheduled departures.
Those paddling for climate justice follow other nationwide direct actions by kayak.
“The longer we can keep Fennica docked, the longer we can delay exploratory drilling in the Arctic,” Cocks told Common Dreams from a boat floating alongside the kayaktivists. “There is a narrow window of time Shell can be drilling up there. Every second they are not drilling, carbon is being kept in the ground. It is unconscionable for us to be seeking to extract new fossil fuels, let alone under a pristine ecosystem that native communities rely on for their sustenance and heritage.”
The direct action comes as scientists warn that to avert a climate catastrophe, the majority of fossil fuel deposits around the world must remain unused, including all Arctic oil and gas.
The blockades followed a gathering of over 100 people on Tuesday to “hold space with vigil on land and water” to prepare for the massive direct actions, explained Cocks. Numerous community members, as well as groups including Center for Sustainable Economy, 350 PDX, and Portland Rising Tide, are participating in the actions.
“I think people are feeling jubilant,” Cocks continued. “Folks set out to delay the ship’s departure, and that’s what happened. We are declaring victory in the campaign for the moment, and we know it is not over. I believe we will continue to impede their progress.”
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