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Creative Climate Actions
Actions that Don't Leave You Indifferent

Activists from Extinction Rebellion Spain marched for "the dead oceans" on Gran Vía in Madrid.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion Spain marched for "the dead oceans" on Gran Vía in Madrid. | Foto (detail): Sara Garchi, Agislaos Koulouris und Federico Tisa © Extinction Rebellion Spanien

Art and protest have always gone hand in hand, and climate activism is no exception. In this article, we will introduce you to our five favourite art actions against climate change from around the world. 

By Carmen Huidobro and Belén Hinojar

It is normal for activists to gather where political rallies are held. But when it comes to the creativity of such protest, they always outdo each other. 

1. G7 meets... Pikachu? 

Yes, you read right. The meeting of the 7 major world powers in 2021 had a special guest: Pikachu. A group of anonymous, independent activists dressed up as the famous Pokémon Pokémon Pikachu to demand that Japan end carbon emissions by 2030. You can watch the action in this video report from The Guardian.  

2. A Whale on the Gran Vía to Save the Oceans  

During the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in Madrid (COP25) the activist group Extinction Rebellion Spain demonstrated with a march for the “dead oceans.” Some thirty people dressed in clothing and represented the water. Others held the skeleton of a three-metre whale made of recycled newspapers. The activists achieved their goal with this action: they caught the attention of passers-by and filled the front pages of the country's newspapers. In videos on their YouTube channel, they explain how they built the large sculpture.  

3. Arctic Ice in Paris  

It sounds crazy, but it really happened. On the occasion of the COP21 climate summit in Paris in 2015, visual artist Olafur Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosin brought no less than 80 tonnes of ice from a fjord near Nuuk in Greenland to the French capital. The artwork was displayed in the form of a clock on the Place de la République in Paris the day before the summit, so that the ice would melt in the days that followed, giving the public an idea of the consequences of climate change. The artwork attracted so much attention that even the United Nations captured it on video.  

4. Meetings undersea  

This is definitely our favourite. The cabinet of the Maldives, chaired by President Mohamed Nasheed, held a meeting on the ocean floor in 2009 to highlight the urgent need to combat climate change. A declaration was signed at this deep-sea conference calling for increased efforts to avert the dangers of the climate crisis and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We must not forget that island nations like the Maldives are among most vulnerable countries to the effects of the climate crisis because of rising sea levels. At the same time, ironically enough, they have contributed the least to this problem. Numerous media outlets around the world covered this event. 

5. For all to see  

We all remember the terrible fires in Australia in the early 2020s. Evidently, Australian government did not get the message: the higher the temperature, the more fires like this. Instead, it continues to make policies "as usual,"  incentivising instead of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. A collective of largely anonymous or little-known artists like @ontheleans and @tammy_one therefore got together to create posters against the Australian government's inaction. These could be seen all over the streets of Australia and included a code to donate to an organisation that works for the climate. Imagine how successful they were: the hashtag #bushfirebrandalism became a trending topic - even in Spain. You can see all the posters of this action in this article from The Guardian

We hope you enjoyed this article of the fourth season. You will find the next article on the web starting next week. See you on the social media! 

What is the Fourth Season of Blog, Engage, Act about?

For three seasons, Blog, Engage, Act! has been looking at the present, the status quo of the fight against climate change, behind the scenes and developments in the climate movement. Finally, the bloggers look to the future and ask how social change is possible, how change is already being lived today, what (creative) ingredients are needed and why you need to be a part of it!