5 steps to Save the Arctic: How LEGO made everything awesome

Today we got the awesome news: after a three-month campaign supported by more than a million people worldwide, LEGO has announced it will not renew its contract with Arctic destroyer Shell.

This is fantastic news for LEGO fans and Arctic defenders everywhere. And it’s a huge blow to Shell’s strategy of partnering with beloved brands to clean up its dirty image as an Arctic oil driller.

So how did we win this victory for the Arctic? Let’s take a look back at the top five moments of our campaign:

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1. The most viral video in Greenpeace history

A hot tub, a Game of Thrones character, a very sad polar bear, and the most depressing version of the most upbeat song you’ve ever heard. With massive media attention and almost six million views, the video was briefly taken down from YouTube due to a “copyright” claim, but was reposted after 18 hours of massive public outcry.

2. Children play to protest

'Save the Arctic' Kids LEGO Protest at Shell HQ in London. Children are having a picnic with a giant Lego cake after their protest outside the Shell HQ. 07/29/2014 © Elizabeth Dalziel / Greenpeace

LEGO’s youngest fans took matters into their own hands – literally. Dozens of children built giant Arctic animals out of LEGO on the doorstep of Shell’s London HQ, in playful protest of their favorite toy’s partnership with the oil company planning to drill the Arctic.

3. Rise of the LEGOlution

LEGO Figures Blockade Shell Service Station in Sydney. 07/24/2014 © Greenpeace / Abram Powell

From Hong Kong to Paris to Buenos Aires, miniature LEGO people held small but furious protests against their LEGO bosses’ partnership with Shell. Many recreated famous protests at international landmarks, and the LEGOlution soon spread across the world.

4. Party in LEGOland

Action against Shell at LEGOLAND in Denmark. 08/07/2014 © Greenpeace / Uffe Weng

Tiny LEGO climbers held a daring protest at a Shell gas station in Legoland in Billund, Denmark.

5. 1 million people speak out

Thanks a Million LEGO

After just three months, over one million people worldwide had emailed LEGO to ask it to end its inappropriate deal with Shell, showing the incredible strength and unstoppable power of our global movement.

We’re super happy LEGO has finally decided to do the right thing. It’s a massive victory for the million people globally who called on LEGO to stop helping Shell look like a responsible and caring company – rather than a driller intent on exploiting the melting Arctic for more oil.

To maintain respectability in the face of growing opposition to Arctic drilling, Shell needs to surround itself with decent and much loved brands – museums, art galleries, music festivals, sports events. LEGO’s announcement is an important step towards blowing Shell’s cover.

But now that LEGO has quit Shell it’s time for Shell to quit the Arctic. The oil giant recently announced its plans to drill in the Alaskan Arctic in 2015. Meanwhile the Arctic sea ice cover reached one of its lowest points on record this year. Time is running out to save the Arctic, and the time for urgent action is now.

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Ian Duff is an Arctic Campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

  • Skinny

    I hope all Greenpeace members walked to and from work today and didn’t use boats or planes as these probably use she’ll. I think you are all hypocrites you want us back in the horse and cart era again,or perhaps steam engines powered by timber or coal

    • There is a difference between responsible Oil & Gas Exploration and what Shell are doing and propose to do in the Arctic. Also this campaign is about putting a halt to the sinister way in which Children’s Toys are used to mask Shell’s activities, so your comments are a lit extreme Skinny. Besides you should walk to and from work if possible to enjoy a healthy lifestyle!

    • Sandy

      Have you not heard of solar systems where the technology being developed is amazing. Or wind power tidal energy etc etc. Most of us walk our talk. And yes I do take public transport and walk wherever possible. I look forward to the day that I can afford an electric car. People like you with your head in the sand are part of our demise

    • loz

      thanks for your positive input mate. just imagine how far we’d get if all anyone posted was negative and uninformed comments focusing on minor pedantic aspects of a giant issue. Just imagine if we couldn’t appreciate a win or a positive step in the right direction however large or small it may be. just imagine if people spent the same amount of time outside planting a garden or helping someone in need as it to took to write a disheartening statement. just imagine ..

  • Pechuga Blanca

    We are in the midst of a transitional period. Yes, of course, we continue to use non-renewable energy sources – and since this has been the prevailing technology for generations, we should not be made to feel guilty about that. However, we need organisations like Shell to spend its R & D on renewable energy sources, so that they become more accessible, affordable and cleaner. It’s not about going back to a ‘horse and cart’ era. It’s about moving forward to meet the needs of a growing planet.