To the Ocean, for the Arctic (a prayer)

Hail Aegir, Ocean, great Lord of the seas, generous host of the Aesir!

Hail Ran, Robber, great Lady of storms!

Hail the Undines, the Billows Maidens, great Ladies of the waves!

Thank You for Your myriad blessings:

The bounty of fish, invertebrates, and seaweeds which feed us

The seas which grant us passage to distant lands

The soothing waves and waters that heal us

The beauty and terror which have inspired us

The waters in which we swim and play and challenge ourselves

The vast waters that sustain our climate and create our weather, and in which our far-distant ancestors first found life

We have been deeply blessed by Your generosity, in more ways than I can count.

Please hear my petition and grant the aid I seek:

I ask that You withdraw Your hospitality from one person, for their violations of Your hospitality past, present, and intended; they have forgotten that guests owe respect and good treatment to their hosts, just as hosts are obligated to guests.

This person, known as the corporation Royal Dutch Shell, violates, again, the sea bed in some of Your coldest waters, killing small creatures to do so, and causing distress to many others through their actions, with their ultimate goal being to profit from many years of oil extraction.

The last time they intruded upon Your Arctic waters, they sent a malfunctioning ship and negligent crew, polluting the sea around them, in violation of good manners and our human laws – and despite being found guilty, they have been permitted by human agencies to return to those same waters, with that same ship, the Noble Discoverer. They have shown carelessness again this year, causing damage to another ship, the Fennica, part of this year’s Arctic drilling fleet.

Their work all along has been harmful to Your domain, as the burning of their oil contributes to the warming and acidification of the ocean, and plastics made from that oil are found in horrific quantities throughout global waters, killing sea life from the tiniest plankton to the great whales.

They know they are contributing to these problems, but they will not desist.

They know there is a 75% chance of a major oil spill in the decades they hope to be extracting oil in the Arctic, but they will not desist.

They will not desist as long as the governments of the world permit them – and the government that has legal authority to permit their Arctic drilling has allowed this. That government, mine, does NOT speak for me or for many, many others of its people, it does NOT speak for the many peoples affected by this who are not of this nation, and thousands and thousands of us have tried to stop this Arctic drilling.

Royal Dutch Shell cannot be allowed to succeed.

It is not only Royal Dutch Shell that has contributed to these global harms, but if they are successful in finding oil in the Arctic, other companies will follow their example, and make the disasters of climate change, and despoiling of the sea and land and air, even greater.

Great Hosts of the Seas, they benefited from Your gentler side before, as they benefit now: the waters are calm enough for them to proceed at all. And even when their previous trespassing ended with the wrecking of their drilling rig, the Kulluk, in stormy weather, it was only that vessel that was lost; every human made it safely home.

They will never pay You proper weregild for the lives of Your waters their actions have taken: the turtles strangled, the seabirds choked, the salmon overheated, too many others to count. But they should pay nonetheless.

Ran, Great Lady of Storms, Robber Queen: Seafarers in centuries past carried gold to earn Your favor, if they thought they might end up with You. As these will make You no such offerings, I think it only fair if You took from them what they value as gold now: their ships and their chances to make further profits in Your domain. But set Your net aside, I pray, and send them back to shore, do not take them to Your hall.

Undines, Great Ladies of the Waves, playful, fierce, and terrifying: Royal Dutch Shell has brought many toys into the Arctic to toss about in the waves and dispose of when You tire. Like other boorish, entitled guests, they will not go on their own, so throw them out the door, cast them up on the beach like You do so many other empty shells.

Aegir, Master of the Hall of the Ocean: I beg You, please, take action where we have failed, and where our government has failed us, and evict from Your waters the people and the vessels of Royal Dutch Shell. Send them home, permanently, to the surface land that Homo sapiens is evolved for. Teach them that ill-mannered guests lose not only rights of visitation, but material benefits accrued through their stay.

Great Powers of the Sea, show them no more and no less mercy than was shown the Kulluk and the Kulluk‘s crew.