activism

As world leaders descended onto Cornwall, Greenpeace delivered an artistic drone-powered message

Stills from the Greenpeace film – 300 drones, 1 message: Act Now. Photo credit: Greenpeace.

By Anders Lorenzen

Cornwall, a rural county in the furthest corner of Southwest England, attracted global attention last week as world leaders gathered there for the G7 summit hosted by the UK.

Climate change was said to be one of the key topics discussed at the weekend.

The climate and environmental activist group Greenpeace chose a creative way to remind world leaders what’s at stake. The group released a film that they said had been created using the UK’s largest swarm of drones of 3D moving images of iconic animals descending onto Cornwall with a key message stating ‘ACT NOW’ to tackle the climate and the nature crisis.

The film

Greenpeace said that the spectacular drone displays used artificial intelligence software to choreograph the drone’s movement to form 3D animals and words, interlaced with projections. A total of 300 illuminated drones were used to create the displays which the group say makes it one of the largest drones shows ever produced in the UK. Greenpeace says that the drone formations were up to 76 meters in height and 122 meters in length. In addition, they said the film’s music was created by producer and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel, who has scored music for film, theatre and television, including Game of Thrones. 

It lasts for two minutes and starts with a projected image of a turtle swimming across a dark cliff face of Mullion Cove in Cornwall, while a child narrates, “Once upon a time, world leaders gathered in Cornwall to decide our future”. The film also shows projections of other animals, including a jaguar, tuna and bee, which morph, one by one, into ‘animal spirits’ created by hundreds of illuminated drones, moving across the sky. The film which is narrated by children concludes in the final sequence of the drone display, with a message of action, “hope comes from action, not words”, with drone animals morphing once again into the words ‘ACT NOW’.

Greenpeace: this film calls for action

Commenting on the artwork and the G7, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK Ariana Densham said: “This film is a beautiful amalgamation of art, activism and cutting-edge technology but its message is simple. World leaders must act now if we are to tackle the climate and the nature crisis. The G7 cannot be another target-setting exercise resulting only in wasted time, political chest-thumping and more empty promises that might as well be written in the sand of Carbis Bay Beach. We need bold commitments but they must also be urgently delivered.”

Greenpeace says they’re using the film to call on the leaders of seven of the largest global economies and the EU to raise their ambitions for tackling these crises and take meaningful action to halt the devastation that they’re causing. Their message to the G7 nations is to spearhead a green global recovery from the pandemic to limit global temperature rises to 1.5° to avoid the most devastating impacts of the climate crisis. The group suggests this would include an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel projects, a strategy for ending fossil fuel use altogether, as well as a proper plan to transition to jobs in green industries, like renewables and energy efficiency. They add that the transition must be fair and call on the promised $100bn per year in climate finance to countries hardest hit by the climate crisis, as well as cancel all debt for the Global South and honour international aid commitments. Greenpeace is also demanding that all leaders commit to protecting at least 30% of land and sea by 2030, respecting the rights of indigenous people and local communities and international law to begin to significantly reverse the decline of nature by 2030. 

You can watch the film below.

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