Science museum

Indigenous leaders urge London Science Museum to sever ties with Adani | Climate crisis


Indigenous leaders on the front lines of the climate crisis are calling on the Science Museum to rescind its sponsorship deal with a company they believe is responsible for the widespread destruction of their country.

Community leaders in Australia, India and Indonesia have warned that the museum’s new deal with Adani Green Energy, whose parent company Adani Group is a major operator of coal mines and coal-fired power plants, legitimizes its “destructive activities of coal expansion”.

In a letter to the museum, they state: “Indigenous communities in all of these countries are experiencing land grabbing, repression, destruction of sacred lands, pollution of air, land and water and, well. sure, the worsening impacts of exacerbated climate change. by burning coal.

The call follows criticism from the museum over its deals with fossil fuel giants – and companies associated with them – amid a climate crisis. In recent months he has faced resignations and protests over his dealings with Adani Green Energy and Shell.

Last month, the Guardian revealed how two scientists refused to have their work displayed by the museum, and dozens more showed support for the boycott days later.

In Tuesday’s letter, Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council in Australia; Phillip Kujur, Adivasi Indigenous Rights Activists Forum, Jharkhand, India; Siti Maimunah, from Jatam, Indonesia, and Joseph Zane Sikulu, from the Pacific Climate Warriors, accuse museum director Sir Ian Blatchford of dismissing indigenous concerns in a recent appearance on the BBC. Responding to comments from an indigenous spokesperson, Blatchford appeared to question the veracity of some of the accusations made and said “some activists are significantly exaggerating these issues.”

The letter says the decision to “dismiss the concerns of indigenous peoples” is “totally unacceptable to any publicly funded institution, and in particular regarding coming from a science museum.”

He adds: “When indigenous peoples approach the museum with deep concerns about the violation of their rights by one of its partners, they must be respected, listened to and implemented, and not dismissed as exaggerated and false. “

In response, Blatchford said it was “not his intention to comment on Adani Mining’s detailed working practices or dismiss anyone’s concerns.”

He added: “The point I was trying to make… mining business, the mining company and the Australian government.

The Adani group did not respond to requests for comment on the accusations contained in the letter. Previously, he had insisted that he was “very supportive” of traditional communities and cultures. He also said his coal mining projects in India had improved the country’s energy security and boosted jobs, education and health care.

Mary Archer, president of the museum, defended her relationship with Adani Green Energy which she said was part of the Adani group, “which includes five other companies with interests spanning ports, airports and coal mines.”

“Each of the companies is an independent listed entity with its own board of directors,” she added in a letter. “This clear distinction is important, not least because of Adani Green Energy’s potential to have a very positive impact, both to support the millions of people in India who currently do not have access to electricity and to accelerate the India’s transition out of coal. “

Archer also defended the museum’s broader sponsorship agreements with fossil fuel companies.

“Given the enormous expertise and wealth of the big energy companies, they need to play a much bigger role in urgent change to avoid a climate catastrophe… We believe the right approach is to engage, debate and challenge business , governments and individuals to do so. more to make the global economy less carbon intensive.