In October last year, just before the Glasgow COP26 talks, the Prime Minister hosted a Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum, during which the museum announced a new gallery opening next year which will highlight green energy transformation.
The interactive gallery will be called Energy Revolution: The Adani Green Energy Gallery.
Gautam Adani is the head of the Adani Group, which owns a massive coal mining and coal burning division, sparking protests at the museum’s greenwashing role in accepting this sponsorship.
In December, Indigenous groups from India, Indonesia and Australia, areas affected by Adani’s coal business, wrote a joint letter to the museum asking them to reconsider the deal. They highlighted the expansionist nature of Adani’s business, including land grabs, repression, pollution, and destruction of sacred land, as well as the climate impacts of burning the coal extracted.
The museum’s response, in a letter from Dame Mary Archer (Chair of the Science Museum Group) was that Adani Green Energy was a separate entity, and any issues with Adani Group should be taken up with them, not the museum.
Uncle Adrian Burragubba, one of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners of the Australian land where Adani is building its Carmichael coal mine, wrote that “by putting this company on a pedestal, the Science Museum is complicit in Adani’s violation of our Human Rights and destruction of our ancestral lands.
The museum’s director Ian Blatchford dismissed this criticism claiming that Adani get accused of a whole host of things and would push back strongly on these accusations.
Soon after, the company blew up a sacred Aboriginal heritage site that was thousands of years old.
Seventy scientists (many of them contributors or former contributors to the museum) wrote a letter to the museum criticising the museum’s response, and Sir David King wrote a piece in the Guardian speaking out against the museum’s fossil fuel partnerships.
In the light of the museum’s intransigence and refusal to properly engage with the Indigenous people on the ground who are at the receiving end of Adani’s deathly business, the London Mining Network got together with around a dozen other groups including Culture Unstained, Survival International, UKSCN, and some XR groups, to stage a protest at the museum last Wednesday.
At 5pm an advertising van parked outside the front of the museum and played films made by Indigenous people showing the destruction Adani has caused in India, Indonesia and Australia, and a loud sound system amplified speeches made by Indian Adivasi activists and solidarity supporters.
If the museum is going to dismiss the voices of Indigenous people, then those voices will be brought over and over again in the coming months, until the museum has to reconsider its association with the climate destroying Adani Group.