Monday 29 July: Giant Extinction Symbols appear around the world - Extinction Rebellion UK

Monday 29 July: Giant Extinction Symbols appear around the world


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What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers

  • Following the Extinction Symbol crop circle at WOMAD, giant Extinction Symbols also appear in New Zealand, Colombia, USA, Switzerland and Chile
  • Each a beautiful and unique artwork, in varying mediums from a sand sculpture to a laser projection, the Extinction Symbols demonstrate the global reach of Extinction Rebellion and the internationalist solidarity needed to tackle the crisis
  • Individually and collectively, aerial photographs of theses images send a potent visual message that time is running out and we must Act Now 

Following the appearance of the Extinction Symbol crop circle at WOMAD, giant Extinction Symbols, in a variety of mediums, appeared over the weekend in five other countries around the world, demonstrating the global reach of Extinction Rebellion. Aerial photographs of these symbols provide a potent visual message that time is running out and that internationalist solidarity is essential for tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Each of the giant Extinction Symbols is a beautiful and unique artwork. Created by or for Extinction Rebellion groups around the world, they include:

  • In New Zealand, a sand sculpture on Mount Maunganui Beach in The Bay of Plenty
  • In Colombia, a symbol made from flowers in the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin
  • In the USA, a symbol made from human bodies in Central Park, New York City, in collaboration with Fridays for Futures
  • In Switzerland, a symbol made from stand up paddle boards on the lake of Morat 
  • In Chile, a laser projection upon the famous 300m tower of the Costanera Center

Matt Maynard, a photographer and member of the communications team of Extinction Rebellion Chile says: “The team thought carefully about where to project the mega hour-glass symbol. At 6:45pm XR blocked four lanes of traffic beneath the foot of the Costanera Centre. It was the first time Chile has organised such a disruptive action of civil disobedience. The rush-hour drivers were greeted with apologies, explanations, cake and a massive reminder projected onto South America’s tallest building that time is running out.” 

Amy Board of Extinction Rebellion New Zealand says: “Many of us in Extinction Rebellion Tauranga are artists. We believe in the power of art to make change. Here we are at sunrise and out in the wind at the beach, working hard to make a symbol to show the world that we care. We know the tide will wash away our work in mere hours, but we hope people all around the world will see it and feel solidarity with us.” 

Sand artist Jamie Harkins adds: “What I have done here today I have done with a stick and a bit of string and the help of friends. Everyone can take action against climate crisis, please don’t feel disempowered by the size of the problem … in unity there is freedom.” 

The Extinction Symbol was created in 2011 by street artist ESP and is free for anybody to use, provided that it is never used commercially, which is strictly forbidden. Since the Declaration of Rebellion on Halloween last year, it has become closely associated with Extinction Rebellion. During the International Rebellion in April and the Summer Uprising last week, it was a common sight on multi-coloured flags adorning protest sites all  over London and the rest of the UK. The WOMAD crop circle and other giant Extinction Symbols around the world follow the creation of the largest ever human Extinction Symbol at Glastonbury festival earlier this Summer.

Extinction Symbol creator ESP explains: “The symbol represents an hourglass and the planet. It exists to draw attention to the Ecological Crisis, specifically the current mass species extinction event and climate breakdown. Please use it freely on a non-commercial basis.”

Notes to editors:

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers

Get involved

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

About WOMAD and Peter Gabriel

WOMAD have been working for over 30 years to give a voice to the voiceless and to build internationalist solidarity through music and songs. Peter Gabriel co-founder of WOMAD has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts, releasing the anti-apartheid single “Biko” and participating in several human rights benefit concerts for organisations like Amnesty International. In recognition of his many years of human rights activism, he’s received the Man of Peace award from the Nobel Peace Prize laureates in 2006, AllMusic has described Gabriel as “one of rock’s most ambitious, innovative musicians, as well as one of its most political”

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