A growing number of museums in Europe are turning thumbs down on oil company dollars when the companies not only contribute to global warming but fund the “science” that supposedly disproves it.
Oil company funding also misleads public perception of environmental devastation as in Nigeria where billions of dollars were made extracting oil while highly toxic water and soil remain.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Hydrology found that levels of Cobalt, Copper and Iron are so high in the communities of Gokana, Ogoniland, River State, as to render their water unsuitable for human consumption due to the potential adverse health effect at high levels.
These reasons prompted three partners in the prestigious Manchester Science Festival to withdraw over the Museum’s taking of sponsorship from Shell Oil.
“We feel that a festival that promotes science and knowledge contradicts itself by endorsing companies whose contribution to global warming and its denial is so tremendously damaging to society and counterproductive to the pursuit of knowledge,” commented one of the festival partners in emails obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the group Culture Unstained.
“The museum’s decision to take sponsorship from Shell is a betrayal of this, undermining its ability to inspire the next generation on what our future should look like. We know that we’re not alone in this view.”
More than 57,000 people have signed a petition demanding the Museum reject Shell’s money.
Chris Packham, the wildlife presenter and naturalist, was among the petition signatories. “A museum dedicated to science education should not be helping promote any company that is actively exacerbating this planetary emergency, until they show a serious proactive drive to switch to renewables.”
Museum director Sally McDonald replied, saying funding partners such as Shell “support our mission to inspire futures by igniting a curiosity in science”.
Last week, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam announced it would end its long-running Shell sponsorship deal, with two other Dutch museums following suit. Tate recently ended its 26-year relationship with BP (British Petroleum), and Edinburgh International Festival did the same with its 34-year partnership.
Meanwhile, in an article titled “Shell’s Strangulation of Ogoniland”, the author Fegalo Nsuke wrote: “In reality, Shell has destroyed the lives of the Ogoni people. The health implications of the Ogoni pollutions have been very devastating…”
“Shell and our leaders do seem not to care about the fact that the fastest growing business in Ogoniland today is the production of caskets.”