LONDON (Reuters) – Climate activists placed more than 2,000 pairs of children’s shoes in neat rows across London’s Trafalgar Square on Monday to demand the British government stop bailing out carbon intensive industries that pollute the environment.
In the shadow of Nelson’s Column, Extinction Rebellion activists lined up the shoes across the square and unfurled a banner reading “Covid Today > Climate Tomorrow > Act Now.”
“Extinction Rebellion are calling on the government to act on the climate crisis during the coronavirus recovery so children and young people aren’t left to suffer a deeper crisis,” the group said.
The shoes, arranged across the paving of the near-deserted central London tourist attraction, were donated by people across the city and will be given to Shoe Aid following the action.
Extinction Rebellion wants to bring major change to the political, economic and social structure of the modern world in time to avert the devastation predicted by scientists studying climate change.
It says it wants non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to cut carbon emissions and avert a climate crisis it says will bring starvation and social collapse.
“Many young people feel suffocated by fear of what is to come, and now with this pandemic, maybe others will start to understand our fear for the future,” said Poppy Silk, a 19-year-old activist from Extinction Rebellion.
“Even whilst healing from the pandemic, we must move towards a green transition to prevent future crises,” Silk said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mike Collett-White)