On Bank Holiday Monday, a busy Science Museum received a visit from health professionals protesting its continued association with fossil fuel companies.
The museum plans to open an ‘Energy Revolution’ gallery which will be sponsored by the supposedly clean arm of vast Indian coal corporation, Adani. Claims that Adani Green Energy (official sponsors of the exhibition) is separate from the Adani Group are challenged by activists, who say that the ‘green’ company shares have been used as collateral for a $300 million loan for a controversial Australian project.
Ten health workers, including specialists in disease ecology, obstetrics, and psychology, gave a series of unsanctioned speeches in the museum’s Medicine and Communities Gallery, highlighting the greatest health threat of modern times – climate collapse.
They also hung a banner from the giant ‘Self Conscious Gene’ statue (a tattooed man).
Outside the museum, health workers engaged with the long queues, and also ran an exit poll asking whether the museum should drop fossil fuel sponsors. As well as Adani, the museum is currently accepting sponsorship from BP and Equinor.
Despite massive scientific consensus that climate change is the greatest danger to humanity, there is currently little or no mention of it anywhere in the Science Museum. When the Green Energy Gallery opens, the fear is that its framing will be heavily influenced by its sponsor. The emergence of a gagging clause preventing the museum from publicly criticising a previous sponsor supports this concern. Furthermore, a ‘due diligence’ report exposing Adani’s fraud, dishonesty, and disregard for Indigenous people, was withheld from the board of trustees.
The protesters delivered a letter to the Trustees signed by more than a hundred health professionals, asking them to follow the lead of other major institutions including Tate, the RSC, National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum among others, and end sponsorship arrangements with fossil fuel companies.