On Friday, activists from several groups held a protest at the London Science Museum over their sponsorship deal (the forthcoming Green Energy gallery) with the massive Indian coal conglomerate, Adani.
The action took place on the day that Adani’s controversial coal-fired power station opened in Godda, Jharkhand, one of the poorest states in India. The area is fertile farmland where Indigenous Adivasi people have been displaced, and coal for the project will be coming from Australia where corruption and cultural destruction is rife.
Adani’s sponsorship of the museum has been the target of several protests, but museum director Sir Ian Blatchford maintains that he’s “doing the right thing” and that Adani is bringing “a great transition” to India.
The protest also took place during the UN’s Biodiversity COP15 summit in Montreal. The flagship proposal there is to protect at least 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030 (30×30), but many groups including Amnesty International and the Rainforest Foundation have backed a statement highlighting the dangers to Indigenous people of this neo-colonial approach. Real Media covered a student occupation of the World Wildlife Fund on this very topic last year.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was shamed into attending the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, but hasn’t bothered to attend this international bio-diversity conference, despite an open letter from 165 scientists.
The Science Museum called police to the protest, refused to allow a small battery-driven amplifier for speeches, and their security staff were ordered to direct the public away from the protest. So not many visitors got to see the series of posters showing the rise in CO2 emissions against the decrease in biodiversity along a timeline of every 50 years since 1750. But from a distance some were still able to listen to speeches, see the haunting Red Rebel Brigade, and watch the die-in.
The protest was organised by the Fossil Free Science Museum group working with London Mining Network, South Asia Solidarity Network, Coal Action Network and others, including new Extinction Rebellion offshoot Nature Rebellion which focuses particularly on biodiversity loss.