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How many of you know that Shell Oil is one of the Sponsors of this years WOMAD in New Zealand. Does anyone else out there think this goes against the grain of what WOMAD might stand for as a champion of world music. Of course Festivals need sponsorship no argument there, but surely questions must be asked as to who merits the honor and reasons applied as to who does not. Check out the link below, looking forward to your feedback.
Liam, could you spell out the reasons for me why Shell should not sponsor Womad (genuine request not trying to be rude).
For me festivals such as Glastonbury and Womad often point us in the direction of personal resposibility-they're usually pretty big on recycling (though I do wish they'd have big water dispensers rather than thousands of plastic bottles), they use charitable organisations for workers and they give a platform for discussion about what's going on in the world. What sponsors do you suggest?
I was amazed (or maybe that should read horrified!) to find out that Shell sponsor the New Zealand Womad. Just some of the reasons why they shouldn't:
heavily involved in extracting oil from the Canadian tar sands
planning to drill for oil in the Arctic
pollution in the North Sea
disastrous oil spills in the Niger Delta that Shell have failed to clean up
financial backing of armed militants in Nigeria
(visit the Greenpeace website if you want to know more)
I really thought Womad was more ethical, and I'm afraid the argument that maybe the New Zealand Womad wouldn't be able to go ahead without sponsors does NOT excuse their acceptance of dirty money!
Oh & thanks PD for bringing this subject up on another thread - like you, I missed this one as well!
Thanks WD. I was aware of some of the issues, especially Nigeria but prefer to hear it passionate from the horses mouth and your list is passionate and more informative than the website. It would be interesting to know some of the views of artists who work for Womad, certainly press and local residents in NZ seem to be glad of the work of the partnership between Todd, Shell and Womad without thinking that it legitimises Shell's record elsewhere.
I have huge respect for the work of Peter Gabriel and Womad and it must be hard to keep the behemoth on the road. Perhaps we need to take some responsibility for demanding a festival that must clock up the airmiles something rotten
I say good on Shell for sponsoring NZ WOMAD since 2003.
There is a lot of hogwash spoken about oil companies, some may be true but a lot isn't.
I'm not going to waste my time trying to counter every argument presented against Shell, but just picking out the odd ones that I do know a little about without having to do much research:
Planning to drill for oil in the Artic - yes, along with every other large exploration company. To do so they have to have licences, you may not like it, but it's legal.
Pollution in the North Sea - Nowadays this is very closely monitored, if it happens the companies have to clean it up and are heavily penalised.
Spills in the Niger Delta - a quick Google reveals a lot of the pollution is caused by sabotage to pipelines. Shells own website would indicate they are spending a lot of time and money cleaning it up.
Financial backing of Armed Militants - I spent a lot of time in the Niger Delta 30 years ago, it was a lawless place then and colleagues advise me it is much worse now. These areas are controlled by the militia, it is my understanding that companies have to pay them so they can go about their legal business.
I know of a couple that were touring Africa by motorcycle. They contracted the skipper of a local boat to transport them and their motorcycle across the Niger Delta, they had to hide below decks when a militia boat came along side otherwise they would have been kidnapped.
My current employers have offshore gas interests in the Delta, they couldn't pay me enough to return there!
Regarding the link to the corporate watch web site in the first post - A quick scan down the relevant page reveals several untruths and incorrect facts. Personally I wouldn't believe a word that is printed. For example they state:
"Because no tax is payable on oil and gas from UK waters, the UK is a operating environment favoured by companies, so these corporations have been looking for new reserves in the UK to replace declining North Sea production."
This is absolute rubbish! The UK is amongst the highest when it comes to taxing Oil and Gas Production, where well over 80% tax can be charged. In the first few years of production the companies pay much less tax to allow them to recoup their exploration costs but thereafter they pay the full wack.
In several places they refer to how health and safety operates in UK waters, it's just not true, the HSE wouldn't allow it.
Nor would I trust everything Greenpeace have to say. ISTR remember a few years ago Greenpeace having to publicly apologise to either BP or Shell for some outrageous claim they had made about their operations in the North Sea (with regard to pollution if I remember correctly). The company concerned could have dragged Greenpeace through the courts had they so wished, probably bankrupting them, but they declined to do so.
Also, a good few years ago, I had a rather enlightening discussion with a Greenpeace representative at one of the popular London markets regarding offshore gas exploration, which was the subject of a campaign they were running at the time. Whilst I don't actually work on the exploration side I do work on a gas production platform and quite frankly the information that was being given out was just not true.
Gas and Oil production companies are not innocents by any means, and I certainly wouldn't defend everything they do but, honestly, there is some rubbish spouted about them at times. Especially from some of the "Green" pressure groups.
Who drive their cars to the rallies. :)
Honestly I think more appropriate sponsors could be found, but hey ho. x
Thanks for the response Womad, and I do agree with you that it has a lot to do with opinions of the local people
yip excellent responsible responce from WOMAD
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