Wild Walls: Young Campaigners Create Belfast Mural to Highlight Climate and Nature Emergency

Angela Mahon

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Youth environmental group UK Youth for Nature (UKY4N) is launching its latest ‘Wild Wall’ in partnership with RSPB NI featuring threatened species in and around the city.

The striking Wild Wall in south Belfast was created by locally and internationally acclaimed street artist, Emic, as part of the Hit the North Street Art Festival. The three-story artwork features a curlew set against vibrant hues and an anonymous figure. The piece draws attention to the plight of the curlew, which is one of Northern Ireland’s most endangered species. The curlew’s call was once a familiar sound but sadly, breeding numbers have fallen by 82% since the mid-1980’s.

This wall is complementary to the first Wild Wall created by Belfast artist Glen Molloy, with Belfast City Council on the piers of the new Lagan Gateway pedestrian and cycle bridge by which features a hedgehog, lapwing, oystercatcher, and an Irish hare. These two Wild Walls form part of a series of nature-inspired murals across the UK to highlight the impacts of climate change on the natural world, in lead up to the UN climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow in November.

2021 is a crucial year for tackling the climate and nature emergencies, with the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15), and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-26) both taking place in the autumn, with COP-26 being held in Glasgow. UKY4N says that this environmental ‘super year’ will set the course for how the UK and the world tackles the twin climate and nature crises in the decade to come.

Aura Goldman, Creative Director of the project said: “There has never been a better or more urgent moment to tackle the nature and climate crises together. In bringing together local artists, organisations, businesses and residents, the Wild Wall in Belfast will spark renewed conversations in the city about its local wildlife, and its importance to all of us in this crucial year for environmental action.

“We want the UK’s leadership in 2021 to extend into the next decade as we make new commitments on biodiversity and climate. Engaging people’s imaginations, these murals will provide a point of reference from which to address the Government’s progress towards effective policy and action on nature. The longevity of these murals will sustain public engagement with the importance of robust ecosystems for years.”

Tackling the decline in nature in the UK goes hand-in-hand with tackling the climate crisis; 41% of the UK’s species are declining, with 13% at risk of extinction, and climate change is one of the main drivers of the loss of wildlife.

Sara McCracken, Head of Fundraising and Communications at RSPB NI commented, “Many people are not aware that over the last fifty years, we have lost over 38 million birds from UK skies and Northern Ireland has lost more wildlife than anywhere else in the UK. If we do not act now, and work together, the evocative sound of birdsong and some of our amazing wildlife, like the curlew depicted in the mural, may be lost forever.

This artwork kicks off Great Big Green Week, which runs from 18 – 26 September. We’re hosting a series of events where people can learn what they can do to help revive our world, more information is available at rspb.org.uk/ReviveNI.

ENDS

Last Updated: Tuesday 21 September 2021

Tagged with: Topic: Belfast Topic: Curlew Topic: Northern Ireland