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Youth climate activists occupy Science Museum overnight

The sleep in was staged in protest of the museum's sponsorship deals with fossil fuel companies

By Hollie Geraghty

Student activists in sleeping bags inside the Science Museum
Student activists protested against the museum's sponsorship deals with fossil fuel companies. (Photo: Twitter/ ukscn london)

Youth climate activists have slept overnight in London’s Science Museum in protest of its sponsorship with fossil fuel companies.

Last week the museum sparked controversy with the announcement of a new gallery funded by a subsidiary of the Adani Group, a multinational company involved in coal extraction and coal stations, which is due to open in 2023.

The gallery will be called ‘Energy Revolution: The Adani Green Energy Gallery’.

About 30 members of the London branch of the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) held a candlelight vigil for “the victims of the Museum’s fossil fuel sponsors: Shell BP, Equinor and Adani”.

Now the protestors plan to tell museum visitors about its sponsorship deals.

One demonstrator, 17-year-old Izzy Warren, spoke to the BBC about plans to approach visitors.

“We would really like to greet people who come to the museum this morning so they are aware of what they are supporting, and what they are paying for,” she said.

“The Science Museum is blatantly taking money from some of the worst perpetrators of the climate crisis.”

The BBC also reported that activists negotiated with museum staff to be moved from the second floor to the Energy Hall near the main entrance, so they would have access to toilets.

Police said museum staff agreed to allow protestors to stay overnight, and no arrests were made.

The South Kensington museum also faced criticism recently for a partnership with Shell to fund the ‘Our Future Planet’ exhibition about carbon capture and nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.

The agreement also included a gagging clause that prevented the museum from saying anything that could damage Shell’s reputation.

Earlier this month, Greenpeace protestors placed an oil splattered statue of Boris Johnson outside Downing Street in protest of planned drilling permits at Cambo oilfield, west of Shetland. 

The controversial matter is due to be discussed at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this week.