The arts are getting the messages across at Glasgow COP26 protests

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COP26 protestors in Glasgow have been using an array of handmade crafts and displays as well as performances to get their messages across to delegates at the UN hub in the city these past two weeks.

We have seen some spectacular pieces of creative art already as protesters use their talents to gain the public eye.

Ocean rebellion have been one of the many organisations, that have caught the attention of many for their dramatic events on the streets and the River Clyde, including a display of a man dressed as Boris Johnston setting fire to a ship symbolising ‘young people’s future’.

A spokesperson for Ocean Rebellion said:

“The look, feel and actions of Ocean Rebellion are a collective production.

“Our influences range across a broad spectrum.

“The situationism of Paris 68, the UK Suffragette movement… the list is very long!

“We work together as a crew using the extensive list of Ocean Rebellion issues as a brief, with the crew who specialise in different practises – from mechanical sculpture and theatrical design to graphic design and academic research.”

Ocean Rebellion’s dramatic protest across from COP26. Pic credit: Guy Reece

The spokesperson added that by using ‘creative actions’ such as the Boris Johnson example at events like Cop 26 is a perfect way to gain exposure.

However, they believe that without protests then there would never be the urge for change:

“That’s why we use creative actions – they generate more attention, awareness and entertainment if you like.

“We use these opportunities to cover more than one problem at a time to help join the dots, and to make sure that a single problem isn’t offered up as the solution to all the planets’ issues – a bit like climate change is at COP.

“Lastly the fact this is the 26th COP is evidence enough that our leaders are not capable – change will only happen if people stand up against their governments and demand change.

As Greta Thunberg said about COP it’s just “blah, blah, blah.” That blah, blah, blah has to change into real action – it’s already too late, and society has to wake up and realise this.”

Greta Thunberg campaigning. Pic credit – Markus Schweizer
Hand made puppets used at Saturday’s protest
Similar displays created by a group of protestors.
Visitors to Glasgow making a colourful protest.

Music is another dramatic way to show how protestors are trying to get their messages across.

Local musician and producer, John Armstrong Walker (JWYOU), believes that young people are the solution to stopping climate change:

“Young people must know that they are supported in their desire for change.

“The climate issue can only be solved with them as the leaders; for it is their generation that will drive the change.

“Right from the grassroots upwards – change must come.  

“It must be seen in every community. The young people do not need to be elected to petition what they see as wrong with local authorities.”

We Don’t Want Your Pollution playlist

The Musician had released his album We Don’t Want Your Pollution in January 2021; a climate opera that is a warning about the damage we are doing to our planet.

“ It is plain to see that the environment has been damaged by man, and his will to produce what he likes.

“The beautiful countryside wherever you look is being destroyed.

“Governments and councils will only act if the people instruct them to do so, and hold them to account.”

Artwork from John Armstrong Walker

 

Mr Walker believes that the youth of this generation has the power to gain the attention of the government:

“They can demand their voices be heard, and invited into the council offices to put forward their proposals.

“They do not need to be members of parliament to be invited into the parliament to address the politicians.

“They can point out to them where they are going wrong and what needs to be done, and for them to change the way they are behaving towards the environment.”

However, he said that the government must be willing to listen and take action as there have been plenty of words spoken since the first COP but little action:

“Politicians, civic leaders, must all agree to them being the driving force to save the planet.

“Likewise communities, their families and friends must open their doors and let the voice of the young Climate generation come in and change the world.”

This COP has attracted some amazing spectacles in Glasgow and the level of talent that has been shown is phenomenal.

Time will tell if this conference will bring about immediate action before it is too late.

 

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