Why 50 children and their families are playing outside Shell's HQ

Posted by Fran G — 29 July 2014 at 9:41am - Comments
Children with a LEGO blocks spelling Arctic
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
These kids are really concerned about climate change

Today, 50 children are playfully protesting about LEGO's partnership with Shell outside the oil giant's HQ in London by building their favourite Arctic animals out of oversized LEGO bricks. It’s an unusual but hopefully creative and exciting way of facilitating peaceful protest, which might need a little extra explanation.

The kids who are involved and their families are concerned about the world children will inherit. They want to show Shell's bosses inside the building that they love the Arctic, and they don't want Shell to destroy it. They're also telling LEGO to cut its ties with Shell and they want them to know that Shell is a bad playmate. 

Why are kids leading this protest?
Climate change is an enormous threat facing everyone, and especially children. Yet LEGO, the world’s biggest toy company, is endorsing Shell, one of the biggest climate polluters on the planet. Shell is trying to drill for oil in the Arctic and if it’s successful, a devastating oil spill would be all but inevitable. And the only reason Shell can even drill there is because the warming climate is melting the ice. Children have a right to be heard, because it’s their future at stake. Last year UNICEF carried out a study that showed three in four 11 – 16 year olds in the UK are worried about how climate change will affect their future and want more done to tackle it.

What is the protest?
The protest is designed as a game being run by experienced teachers and youth and drama workers. Children get involved in a series of activities where they are the heroes saving the Arctic and rescuing LEGO from Shell. By taking part in the game they win LEGO bricks so they can build an Arctic animal to show Shell they love the Arctic. These kids also know their mission to save the Arctic can only succeed if they convince more people to join and support the campaign.

Where do these kids come from and how did they get involved?
There is a network of Greenpeace volunteers across the UK and many of the children come from families who regularly get involved in campaigns. We approached parents from the network, explained the plan and the way the protest would work on the day. These parents asked their children if they wanted to be involved and they said yes. These children care deeply about environmental issues and sometimes help their parents raise awareness. All the kids are of course accompanied by parents and guardians.

What are the giant LEGO bricks made from?
The LEGO bricks were made from reinforced cardboard. Depending on their durability after the protest they will be recycled or given to a local school and used to help teach children about climate change.

Are the kids in danger by playing in a road?
The street has been secured by experienced volunteers before the children arrived to play in the space. It is based on the 'play street' model and we’ve gone above and beyond the strict safety regulations that councils use when they close roads to create children’s play streets.

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