Artwork created by local schoolchildren that captured the imagination of dignitaries and delegates at the 2021 COP26 Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow, is now on show at Towner Eastbourne.
Birds2BHeard is a collection of over 5,000 paper birds, made and decorated by children from schools in Eastbourne, each bird carrying a personal message from its maker to local politicians and other world leaders urging them to take action to stop climate change.
Some of the messages included…’The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it’, ‘We need more help to help us save the planet’, ‘Invest in renewable energy’, ‘Make electric cars cheaper’, ‘Encourage people to adopt a vegetarian diet’, ‘Do more to protect habitats for wild animals’.
The artwork made a huge impression in Glasgow with the flock of paper birds making appearances within the COP26 conference, the youth march and rally and Global Day of Action.
Councillor Jim Murray, Climate Change Champion at Eastbourne Borough Council, said: “This is an international story of Eastbourne reaching out and challenging the rest of the world to do something about climate change, led by the young people of the town.
“I was so proud to see the birds popping up in the footage from COP26 and absolutely delighted that visitors to Towner Eastbourne now have the chance to see this inspired artwork.”
The town’s legacy for youth activism is rooted in the first United Nations Children’s Conference on the Environment that took place in Eastbourne in 1995.
Local resident Lord Lucas, a member of the Lords Select Committee for Environment and Climate Change, who has done much to support the young of the town to communicate their concerns on the environment, said:
“I was on the nervous side when I pulled a flock of the birds out of my briefcase and asked if I could decorate the UK stand with them, but they were immediately welcomed there and on many other national stands. Everyone wanted to be part of hearing our children’s voices: sorting out climate change is something that we are doing for our children; what they say and think matters, and indeed is an energy-giving draught, for adults involved in the slow hard business of improving international agreements.”
Joe Hill, Director CEO at Towner Eastbourne, said:
“We’re delighted to be hosting Birds2BHeard at Towner and giving Eastbourne’s residents and visitors the opportunity to see a small selection of the work created by the town’s young people as part of this important initiative.
“We’re hugely proud of Eastbourne and of our young people’s historic and pioneering role in environmental activism and we hope that the display and the events surrounding it will provide a catalyst for more activity and discussion on these critical issues.”
The powerful and successful example of art activism is on show in the café at Towner and can be viewed until October 2.
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