Second Nationwide Protest Kicks Off

Photo Opportunity: Convention Link Esso Service Station, Sand Pits, Ladywood, 11:00, Sat 18th May 2002. Protesters (and tigers) will be demonstrating outside the petrol station.

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth, People and Planet and the Green Party will be taking part in the second nationwide protest outside the Sand Pits Esso garage on May 18th, National StopEsso Day. They, and their tigers, are part of the international StopEsso campaign (1), which raises awareness of Esso's pursuit of profits over planet, and encourages people to hit Esso where it hurts: the pocket.

Alone of the major oil companies, Esso deny the link between fossil fuel use and global warming. As well as using bad science to muddy an issue threatening the future of our planet, they're not above taking direct action to protect their profits. They gave more than a million dollars to George W. Bush to support his presidential campaign – more than any other oil company. This paid off recently, when at Esso's prompting Bush had the British scientist Dr. Bob Watson sacked from his post as Head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. Watson is an outspoken supporter of quick action on global warming (2). Across the globe their activities threaten endangered species, such as grey whales off the coast of Siberia. Finally, they've dug into their position; not one dollar of their huge profits (in 2000, $12 billion, the biggest recorded company profit ever) goes into researching clean, renewable energy. Even BP and Shell do better than that.

We're asking people and organisations to boycott Esso until Esso take three steps toward global responsibility:

  • Stop using their money to buy political decisions about the environmental dangers which threaten us all.
  • Stop the campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Esso's science is as trustworthy as tobacco companies' research into cancer.
  • Follow the lead of other oil companies and start putting some of their money into clean, renewable energy.

Jeremy Beacock of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:

"Esso are jeopardising all our futures with their business. What's more, they're using every underhand trick they know to stop international law from reining them in."

The StopEsso boycott has now been running a year. The campaign is run by a coalition of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and People & Planet (the student campaign network), with many celebrities vociferous in their support (3).


Editor's Notes

(1) Media Briefings on the campaign to boycott Esso can be found at

(2) A full account of Bob Watson's sacking is available from the Guardian's online archive,4273,4398046,00.html

(3) Pledges to boycott Esso so far have come from: Bianca Jagger, Annie Lennox (singer/songwriter), Linus Roache (actor), Jerome Flynn (actor, musician), Goldie (musician/artist), William Roache (actor), Ronny Jordan (jazz musician), Edward Goldsmith (The Ecologist), Jeremy Thomas (film producer), Eski Thomas (screenwriter), Julien Temple (film director), Amanda Temple (film producer), Sacha Puttnam on behalf of the band Bush, Darren Johnson (GLA), Tony Lloyd MP (Labour), Simon Thomas MP (Plaid Cymru), The Body Shop (Anita and Gordon Roddick), Dan Morell (Future Forests), Keith Allen (comedian/actor), Damien Hirst (artist).

Rising Tide, the climate campaign network, are giving a public presentation at the FOE Warehouse, Allison Street, on Thursday 16th May at 7.30pm for the people of Birmingham to learn more about the dangers of climate change and discuss further local actions. Anyone interested in attending or having a report of the meeting should contact Karen Leach on 0121 632 6909