Shell’s Generation Discover festival is on its third year. Catering to children aged 10-13 years old, the said festival is supposed to get children interested in technology. However, the real reason for this festival is hardly for the children as it is for Shell’s branding. Generation Discover is part of the Make the Future program, where Shell sells the story to young people around the world that fossil fuel companies like itself will continue to be significant players well into the future.
But Shell cannot continue its greenwashing. Already, its sponsors and schools know that this festival is merely a marketing tool for the company. Parents, teachers, and students are not buying in to the green marketing. Last week, 38 primary schools in The Hague, where the festival takes place, announced that they will not attend the festival.
“Shell does not excel in sustainable ambitions,” explains Gerard van Drielen, chair of the board of of Stichting Christelijk Onderwijs Haaglanden, a group of Christian schools in and around The Hague.
“We choose to focus on sustainability and not on fossil fuels. If there is a place to introduce children to the environment and sustainability, that place is in primary schools,” he added.
Van Drielen was inspired by the municipality of The Hague, which decided to no longer support the festival as a partner and withdrew its annual subsidy of €100,000 .
Shell still puts the majority of its time, knowledge and money into pumping oil and gas, and looking into even more damaging forms of extraction.. They’re getting richer and the climate crisis deepens.
This has to stop! Luckily, we’re not the only ones who think so. Fewer parents, teachers, and students are fooled by Shell’s greenwashing efforts. In July the municipality of the Hague withdrew support for Generation Discover, and several important museums ended their sponsor relationship with Shell: the Museon and the Mauritshuis in The Hague, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Shell’s Generation Discover festival will be held in Malieveld from 17 to 21 October. The festival will be about ‘clean energy and clean technology’ — while Shell is a dirty fossil fuel company. And Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell, leaves no doubt that Shell has every intention to keep wrecking the climate.
“Shell’s core business is, and will be for the foreseeable future, very much in oil and gas and particularly in natural gas. Oil is going to be needed by this world for a long time to come,” Mr Van Beurden said at a conference in London.
With a visibly growing movement, we need to send Shell out of the classroom. Sign the petition to the Dutch Minister of Education – the fossil industry should have no influence in children’s education!