Climate change robs the young

Empty shoes, empty future?

On Saturday, July 11 I attended an event organised by Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St Leonards and the performance was entitled GONE. It was a temporary installation of 1,200 pairs of children’s shoes on Hastings pier.

The empty shoes, the rising tide and haunting sense of absent children drew attention to the fact that young people are most vulnerable to the climate and ecological emergency. For this action, 56 local people aged 3 – 92 years old dressed in black to express a powerful sense of mourning for the loss of all our children’s future.

All participants followed social distancing guidelines, with many visibly moved as the visual impact of hundreds of pairs of empty shoes gradually built up. All shoes at the end were packed up and sent to appropriate charities, and Hastings pier gave permission for this event.

The installation was particularly relevant to this time when the government, despite scientific consensus, is trying to get back to “normal” which includes supporting the fossil fuel industry, which will increase our carbon footprint and are offering tax-payer funded bailouts to help those companies recover from lockdown.

In recent polls only 9% of the UK population want to go back to the way things were before the pandemic, and 48% agree that the governments should respond with the same urgency to the climate and ecological crisis as to coronavirus.

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