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With world leaders in Glasgow to negotiate around climate change at COP26, some children went to great lengths to ensure politicians hear their message: take real action in order to save the planet and their future.
Two siblings from Germany who call themselves the Climbing Kids, or @kletterkinder on Twitter, belayed down from the Clyde Arc bridge near the UN climate conference centre on Monday afternoon, dangling at least 30 feet above the river for quite some time as water rescue teams circled below.
Police responded in force and closed the bridge to vehicle traffic as crowds of onlookers gathered along its railing after Zozo, 10, and her brother Kiwi, 12, unfurled a large white banner that read “Humanity is failing.”
In a video message recorded while hanging suspended in their gear, the children said humanity and politicians are racing to the brink of climate change.
“We are failing to accept the reality of the climate crisis,” Zozo said.
“We are racing towards a wall, and our politicians are celebrating that they want to brake behind the wall.”
Adults may worry about high fuel prices, she said.
“But we are worrying about what a collapse of human civilization means for our lives,” Zozo added.
Her older brother, Kiwi, noted a cascade of tipping points will be triggered once the 1.5 C threshold of global warming is reached.
“Millions of people will die and billions of will lose their home or won’t be able to feed their families,” he said.
The children were safely removed from the bridge, but two adults in their 40s were reportedly arrested in connection with the protest.
It’s not the first time the kids have employed their skills to push politicians to act, a spokesman for the children and their parents said.
The brother and sister, and their parents, are very experienced, professional-level climbers, he said.
The pair has staged a number of protest climbs at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate during climate action strikes.
At age 8, Zozo perched herself atop a lamp post at the COP25 conference in Madrid, Spain, in 2019, equipped with a flag emblazoned with renowned youth activist Greta Thunberg’s famous question: “How dare you?”
Politicians have been saying they will take care of climate change since the last summit in Madrid, Kiwi said.
“But they aren’t,” he added. “They are lying to us; they are still selling our future.
“They are letting us sleep walk into the collapse of our own civilization.”
“That’s how humanity is failing. We’re failing as a species.”
Neither Zozo, Kiwi nor their parents could be reached for additional comment following the protest and before the publication deadline for Canada’s National Observer.
Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer
Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Canada's National Observer