Kids call out fossil fuel sponsorship at children's attraction KidZania in west London - Extinction Rebellion UK

Kids call out fossil fuel sponsorship at children’s attraction KidZania in west London

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The Kidzania indoor kids city was targeted by children protesting against outdated job opportunities sponsored by British Airways and Shell, as they loudly demanded to choose their own futures.

Visitors to the popular west London kids’ attraction were stopped in their tracks to see children take Shell and British Airways to task for the planet destroying jobs the companies had offered inside the venue during their Careers Festival [1]. Children and their parents had gone into KidZania and rolled out banners reading ‘Shell must fall’ and ‘Choose your future 21 April’.

Outside KidZania, in the White City Westfield shopping mall, children and adults held out various banners with ‘End fossil fuels’ and ‘Shell Out’ while others held placards in the shape of the Shell logo in flames.

Addressing nearby adults inside Kidzania, Molly, aged 7 said: “Oh yeah, Kidzania’s a great idea, pretending to be adults and that but I think we’ll make better adults than you lot! I don’t see a place for greedy fossil fuel companies like Shell in MY world.. Shell keep trashing the planet and stealing all the money and you just let them – WHY? It’s nuts.”

Another youngster, who asked not to be named, said: “I dunno, who wants to be a British Airways pilot burning lots of stinking jet fuel? I don’t understand why KidZania are making it look like becoming a pilot is a good thing when I know it’s really bad for the planet.”

The children made their feelings clear about the disappointing range of job opportunities suggested by Kidzania and left a letter for the company’s CEO [2]. An XR Families spokesperson, on behalf of the children, stated:

We have today delivered a letter to the boss of KidZania with a list of jobs of the future to make this place better. These include: forester, nutritionist, horticulturist, train driver, circular designer, architect, vertical farmer, solar engineer, botanist, meteorologist, carer, nurse, doctor, philosopher, scientist, planet cleaner, air purifier, artist, musician and storyteller.”

Todd Smith, former airline co-founder of Safe Landing said, “Having spent seven years pursuing my dream to fly and now being left with a staggering £100k training debt, I had no choice but to change career. There are no sustainable ways of flying so we must be inspiring children for the real jobs of the future, not set them up for a fossil fuelled failure.”

Mother, XR UK spokesperson, and Climate Reality Leader, Anna Hyde, said, “These children are small now but in five years time – when we have gone through the 1.5 degree warming threshold all governments signed up to preserve in Paris 2015, and are hitting irreversible tipping points – they’re going to be much bigger and extremely angry. What are we going to say to them? If we don’t sort this out now, the reckoning is going to make the Cultural Revolution look like a teddy bear’s picnic.”

A poignant poem, ‘Tell Me Lies About Climate Change’, was read out and various people, including mothers of the children present as well as a number of scientists and a former airline pilot gave speeches.

Pete Knapp, an air quality PhD student, went to visit KidZania before the protest to see it for himself. He came out feeling angry. “As a concept to introduce kids to different jobs, it’s a great idea. KidZania saw that children were worried about inequality, pollution, insecurity and corruption. So the idea was to give them an impression of what their future could look like without these things. But instead, kids are being told they could work for companies like BA or Shell, the very kind of companies responsible for inequality, pollution, insecurity and corruption!”

As the protest ended a small child observed, “Grown-ups are such hypocrites. Always asking us to tidy our rooms, but have you seen the state this planet is in? You’re leaving us a right old mess, you’d better clean it up and fast. I am not cleaning up after you, do it yourselves. See you on the 21st April for the Big One”.

Numerous groups are preparing themselves to come together for the Big One [3] on 21-14 April 2023 at Parliament Square in London to Unite to Survive. They will demand the UK Government do better on climate, nature, the cost of living crisis, and so many other major crises the people in this country and all over the world are facing today. Come and be counted, some and be there.

— ENDS — 

Notes for Editors

[1] Current experiences at Kidzania UK include:

Example of the sinister influence of – and lies told by – Shell on our children and young people:

Job Role: Shell Energy Champion – “Calling all Shell Energy Champions – the world around us is changing and we need your help! Learn about the energy of today and tomorrow in two unique settings.
From helping customers in the Forecourt to reinventing energy as we know it, you will champion all things energy! You will have a clear understanding of the importance of energy in today and tomorrow’s society and have a go at creating your own form of sustainable fuel.”

[2] Letter to Kidzania London from the Children:

“Dear Joel Cadbury and Oliver Vigors,

Don’t you know that there is a climate crisis happening right now? Why is Kidzania London taking money from Shell and British Airways? Don’t you know that they’re destroying our world?

We want to learn about jobs of the future that will help save our planet. We want to learn about how we can make a difference, and how we can build a better future for ourselves and for everyone else.

We need Jobs of the Future – such as:

Forester, nutritionist, horticulturist, train driver, circular designer, architect, vertical farmer, solar engineer, botanist, meteorologist, carer, nurse, doctor, philosopher, scientist, planet cleaner, air purifier, artist, musician and storyteller.

No Jobs of the Future will be in fossil fuel companies or airlines.

Kidzania London! Stop taking dirty money from Shell and British Airways – they’re polluting our learning and burning our future.

From The Children”

[3] The Big One: 21–24 April 2023, 100,000 people at the Houses of Parliament:

About Extinction Rebellion Families
XR Families is a group of parents connecting with families and joining together in actions, learning, celebrations, protests, discussions and more, creating a safe space for children.

Instagram @extinction.rebellion.families

Facebook @extinctionrebellionfamilies


About KidZania

“KidZania is an interactive city made for children 1-14 that combines inspiration, fun and learning through realistic role-play, making KidZania one of the fastest growing global learning and entertainment brands in the world. Kids can independently explore a scaled indoor city of over 7,000 square meters with more than 100 exciting careers that they can try.

With 25 facilities all over the globe from Mexico City to Tokyo to London, KidZania receives more than 9 million visitors yearly in over 15 countries, with 10 more facilities currently under development.”

Further information

A clear understanding of Shell’s intentions: Shell filed appeal against landmark Dutch climate ruling | Reuters

80% of UK citizens concerned about climate change: 8 in 10 Britons concerned about climate change – half think net zero target should be brought forward | Ipsos

Rishi Sunak’s ‘five point list for 2023’ doesn’t include any reference to the climate and ecological emergency, the greatest threat we are facing today.

About Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Related topics

British Airways Children Greenwash Jobs of the Future Shell XR Families

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