On Saturday, May 16th, weeks of long days and sleepless nights finally paid off when hundreds of “kayak-tivists” gathered for the “Paddle in Seattle.” The action’s target: Royal Dutch Shell, which brought a huge drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, into the Port of Seattle for maintenance before heading to the Arctic to drill — ignoring the objections of the mayor, the Port Commission of Seattle, and more than 50,000 angry people all over the world who signed petitions, made phone calls, and attended public meetings to stop Shell’s rigs.
Since Shell refused to listen to the people (or, you know, follow the law), the people came to Shell. And it was glorious. Here are our 10 favorite moments.
1. Seeing this tweet while we were setting up:
Yeah, that’s referring to Kshama Sawant, the first socialist elected to Seattle’s City Council in decades and our personal hero, no big deal.
2. This meeting:
The day started with a final planning session and blessing in the Duwamish longhouse. The Duwamish, “Seattle’s first people” (the chief after whom Seattle was named, Chief Si’ahl, was Duwamish), guided the organizing of #ShellNo from the start. The meeting was also attended by members of the Lummi Nation, another Coast Salish people.
3. The anticipation. As morning turned to afternoon, more and more kayak-tivists began to arrive. Some came by car:
Some waited in kayaks:
Others hung out on shore:
And then the action began, and some incredible photos started rolling in:
4. This seal.
5. When the People’s Platform, O98’s labor of love, showed up. This is a HUGE marine barge being powered by solar panels. Later, there were speakers and musicians performing on it.
6. This banner.
7. When Idle No More showed up and had the best canoes on the water by far.
7. The sheer size of it.
8. The climax: when we made a ton of noise.
9. The performances at Jack Block Park, the land-based part of the action.
10. The solidarity tweets.
A huge thank you to everyone who came out and everyone who supported us from far away. It was just the beginning.
If you dug this action, you’ll love the port shutdown that happened on May 18. Read all about it here.
If you want to support this work, we’re still fundraising to cover the costs of the People’s Platform, but only until May 19! Click here to chip in.
The Duwamish people are considered to be extinct by the Bureau of Indian Affairs; as such, they have no federal recognition. They are currently fighting to regain that status, which was granted by President Clinton in 2001, then stripped by President Bush when he took office just days later. You can learn more about how to support them on their website.
Featured image via Greenpeace USA