In the mid 1970s, the Group of 7, better known as G7, was formed to address global concerns. Comprised of leaders from the world’s strongest and most advanced economies (the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy), the group meets annually at the G7 Summit to continue this tradition. At the summit, issues revolving around global policies for economics, trade, security, health care, and climate change are discussed over several days. This high profile summit has become the catalyst for major policy action to better the global community. Over the last few years, discussions on climate change have been a key focus for the G7 Summit.
Around the same time that G7 formed, another organization was slowly growing in size. Formally founded in 1971 by environmental activists Irving and Dorthy Stowe, Greenpeace has become one of the most recognized environmental conservation efforts in the world. As stated by the nonprofit company, Greenpeace’s mission is to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity.” Greenpeace has done this by being bold and visible in its campaigns about protecting the planet’s natural resources. And, like many environmentalists, climate change is of paramount concern to Greenpeace as it affects countless areas of our planet’s well being.
At the June 2021 G7 Summit held in Cornwall, UK global leaders met to recommit to efforts to tackle climate change. As discussed by the committee, these actions would include an end to the use of coal powered energy and a $100 billion commitment from public and private sectors to assist developing countries in need of greener energy options. While Greenpeace is supportive of these plans, they made sure to show up at the summit to encourage policymakers to do more than just talking about the issues.
“The G7 cannot be another target-setting exercise resulting only in wasted time, political chest-thumping, and more empty promises that might as well be written in the sand of Carbis Bay beach,” said Ariana Densham, Greenpeace UK’s senior climate campaigner. “We need bold commitments but they must also be urgently delivered. World leaders have the power to tackle the mounting but interconnected crises we face, but only if they act now.” To send their message, Greenpeace resorted to one of their best tactics, creating a visual impact, but in a whole new way.
At the end of the summit, Greenpeace orchestrated a powerful drone light show to descend over the cliffs of Cornwall. Along with soothing music, the prerecorded drone show is narrated by children pleading with the G7 and global community to protect the world. The show begins with 300 LED drones lifting to the sky as a child says, “Once upon a time, our world leaders gathered in Cornwall to decide our future.” Then another child says, “I hope it’s not too late.”
The drones go on to animate extinct and endangered animals from around the world. Interspersed with the live drones, Greenpeace projected scenery captured from drone artists. These images showed nature from around the world in all its bounty, overlaid with drone animated animals that call those settings home. A lush forest filmed by a drone with a drone animated cheetah running through it. A drone animated honeybee flying over a meadow that was filmed by a drone pilot.
The drone show, mixed with the projected drone footage was edited into a beautiful viral video. To end the show the 300 drones come together over the Cornwall cliffs depicting the threatened animals with the words Stop Extinction projected on the rocks below. Then a child says, “Hope comes from action, not words” as the drones all come together to form the final message, Act Now. This final image, spanning 250ft tall and 400ft wide over the cliffs, was a strong message to the G7 members. That message is the time to act for climate change is now.