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Whales under the Stadium - No Ice Caps, No Cardiff

Cardiff environmental groups come together to create iconic street art

Four Cardiff environmental groups have come together during March to bring a life-sized image of a humpback whale and its calf to Grangetown, to raise awareness of climate change and the impact that rising sea levels will have on Cardiff.

In the stunning mural, which has come about through the collaborative efforts of Cardiff Extinction Rebellion, Green Squirrel, Cardiff Friends of the Earth and Cardiff Greenpeace, passers-by can experience the full magnitude of a humpback whale, swimming under the steel structures of a partially submerged Principality Stadium.

Partners have revealed that the mural is painted on an end terrace wall in Merches Gardens in Grangetown, one of several donated by homeowners in Cardiff to Cardiff Extinction Rebellion as part of their No Ice Caps, No Cardiff art series.

Environmental groups formed a coalition with the aim of providing a focal point to highlight the climate emergency, spark conversations and encourage Cardiff citizens to act by finding out more about what they can do.

According to an October 2019 study by Cardiff environmental consultants Afallen, unless urgent action is taken on the climate crisis, many parts of Cardiff and several iconic buildings could be underwater within 80 years.

Cardiff residents can expect to see their iconic landmarks, such as Cardiff Castle, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the National Assembly, Sophia Gardens, the International Sports Village and the Principality Stadium suffer from persistent flooding.

The devastating effects of flooding can be seen right now in New South Wales, Australia, and with major flooding events becoming an annual occurrence across South Wales, it’s no longer only countries of the Global South suffering the worst effects of climate change.

The public will be able to scan a QR code on the mural, which takes them to further information about environmental organisations in Cardiff and how they can get involved.

Some of the mural partners have commented on why they’re involved:

Lex Celnik, Cardiff Extinction Rebellion:

“No Ice Caps, No Cardiff started as a banner project but I knew we needed to do something bigger and more permanent to generate more discussion about the biggest issue facing us today. We’ve received an overwhelming response from members of the community, who have been chatting to Spike, our artist, as the mural has progressed, whilst on their daily walks.

We wanted to give people beautiful, thought provoking images they could connect with because so often we think of climate change as being an existential crisis and don’t realise how even a slight temperature rise will bring catastrophic flooding and threaten food security here in the UK.”

Becca, Green Squirrel:

“We knew immediately that we wanted to get involved with this project which will bridge the gap between climate awareness and climate action. We hope it will start conversations about how climate change will impact our city, address the urgency of these issues and hopefully inspire individuals, communities and our government and local authority to act now. We hope that Grangetown residents are proud to have this piece of art on their doorstep and that they might feel empowered to create more community street art and make their voices heard on the issues that matter to them.”

Gareth Ludkin, Cardiff Friends of the Earth

“The impact of climate change may feel like a distant prospect for many Cardiff residents, but without a radical new approach to the extraction of fossil fuels, and further protection of our natural world, huge swathes of Cardiff are likely to be underwater by 2050.

That’s why it is so important that we ring alarm bells among our own communities to demand that our leaders take meaningful action on climate change ahead of COP26 later this year.

We’re really excited to be working with other important environmental groups on this bold, eye-catching and urgent piece of public art that will encourage leaders to sit up, take notice and act now to avert this climate crisis.”

Clare James, Cardiff Greenpeace

“Rising seas and extreme weather events are costing lives and putting tens of millions of people around the world at risk, including right here in South Wales. But climate change also presents an opportunity to change the way we live, to improve things for us and the planet.

This beautiful, thought provoking mural will help spark those conversations. This mural also represents the difference we can make if we work together and we hope people will scan the QR code and decide to get in touch with the welcoming, friendly groups involved in this project to find out how they can get involved.”

Carl, homeowner

“I have been a long time admirer of street art and its ability to attract attention, garner publicity and bring together communities, and living in Grangetown I was also very aware of the direct consequences forecast of climate change in Cardiff.

I was happy with the idea that my large end of terrace wall might be used in a positive way to highlight an important issue and bring some art into Grangetown and easily volunteered my support and interest.

After a chat with Lex from XR, I suggested bringing in a professional street Artist and we decided on Spike and work started on the mural soon after - I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.”

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