Almost 1,500 children gathered on the beach in Durban today to form a human aerial of a lion, to send a message to the leaders of COP17: show some courage for the climate.
The inspriration of artist John Quigley, the image was developed after John visited Addington Primary School, in search of a young artist. Step forward 15 year old Ado, who expertly drew the head of a lion, and in the process helped to make his classmates, and hundreds of other children from primary schools in Durban, into a living work of art. The event was supported by tck tck tck and our volunteers, who helped the children take their places on the sand, as the scene was photographed and filmed from the air.
The UN climate negotiations are now at a critical stage, with almost no progress so far, and only two days left to strike a deal for the climate. And as Ado celebrates his next birthday, at the end of the summit, will our leaders offer anything to give him hope? The impacts of climate change are already destroying lives and livehoods. The ‘grown ups’ in these negotatiations are responsible for delivering a safe, sustainable, and more equitable world. Instead, they are engaing in playground tactics to save face, rather than saving the climate.
Failure to reach an agreement in Durban is not only a tragedy for the climate, it is a betrayal of the hopes, dreams and futures of millions of young people, just like Ado. Outside the climate summit the voices of a new generation are roaring for climate justice, but inside the negotiations, the lion sleeps tonight.
Caroline Chisholm is a climate change communications manager for Greenpeace