Hundreds of 'kayaktivists' protest Shell arctic drilling in the Arctic Ocean

Seattle saw hundreds take to the water with protest signs over arctic plans

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The Independent US

Hundreds of "Kayaktivists" have taken to the waters of Seattle to protest Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean.

The family friendly protest, nicknamed the Paddle in Seattle, took place on Elliott Bay yesterday where protesters held signs and banners for their cause.

Eric Day, a Native American canoe paddler, said that drilling in the Arctic would hurt those who lived off the land: "This is our livelihood. We need to protect it for the crabbers, for the fishermen," Day said.

ShellNo flotilla participants float near the Polar Pioneer oil drilling rig during demonstrations against Royal Dutch Shell on 16 May 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

"We need to protect it for our children."

Annie Leonard, executive director of the environmental group Greenpeace USA, advocated a  focus on renewable energy, not fossil fuels: "Why would we invest in an energy source that scientists say is leading us to catastrophe?"

At the centre of the protest was a "People's Platform," a 4,000-square-foot (372-square-meter) barge powered by renewable energy.

The platform was used as a stage for speakers, a band and a tall screen that showed images of people expressing their opposition to Shell's plans.

ShellNo flotilla participants hold signs during demonstrations against Royal Dutch Shell on 16 May 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

The Arctic holds about 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of its oil, according to Shell's website.

"This amounts to around 400 billion barrels of oil equivalent, 10 times the total oil and gas produced in the North Sea to date," Shell says.

"Developing Arctic resources could be essential to securing energy supplies for the future, but it will mean balancing economic, environmental and social challenges."

Additional reporting AP