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The Guardian Profiles Other 98’s Director John Sellers

Seattle ‘kayak-tivists’ take on Shell in battle over Arctic oil drilling

The Guardian
Saturday 16 May 2015 10.08 EDT
By Rose Hackman


John Sellers, a 48-year-old professional organizer and home schooling father, is confident the organizing will help get Shell to move out of Seattle. Sellers successfully organized against a mining group a few years ago with a kayak-activist group of friends on Vashon Island, Washington, where he and his family live.

“This is a perfect on-water tactic,” Sellers said of the locally popular efforts to scare Shell away with a flotilla of earth-loving kayakers.

“It makes people happy. When they see a big swarm of kayaks, it gets people excited.”


A father of 10-year-old twins, he says his children witnessed the massive oil rig pulling into Seattle’s port on Thursday and found it both “ominous” and “frightening”.

Sellers has also raised tens of thousands of dollars – including through crowd funding on Indiegogo – in the past months to transform a former industrial barge into what he calls a “solar and wind powered people’s platform”.

As he coordinated with welders on the 4,000-square-foot barge, he explained that 9,000 watts of energy would be generated on Saturday through solar panels, and 3,000 watts of energy through a wind generator.

“Shell oil is the energy of the past and we are the clean energy of the future,” he said.

The barge will be screening movies and images on a large projector tomorrow night and will stay put until Shell departs the port definitively, he said.


Shell is now facing a few hundred dollars a day in fines as a consequence – a drop in the ocean for a company that has already spent $6bn on Arctic exploration.

Still, Sellers is not intimidated.

“Small boats have been standing up to big boats for a long time,” he says. And sometimes, activists hope, they win.

Read Rose Hackman’s full article @ The Guardian

Written by Other98 Team