An apocalyptic message has been writ large on Free Derry Wall ahead of two environmental justice events in Derry this weekend.
The stark message ‘You are Now Entering Extinction’ has been displayed on the iconic Derry structure in the Bogside, which usually carries the message 'You Are Now Entering Free Derry'.
Free Derry Corner - a gable wall of what was once a row of houses on Rossville Street - has stood for decades as a symbol of community solidarity and resistance and a testament to the importance of Derry and the Bogside area in particular to the recent history of Ireland. It has previously made headlines around the world after it was utilised for other social justice campaigns.
It's makeover comes ahead of Derry taking part in the Global Climate Strike on Friday afternoon, September 20, which in turn take place ahead of the UN summit on Climate Change in New York on September 23.
The Climate Strike is being led by young people from across the world and locally here in Derry. Inspired by the School Climate Strike movement, young people have called on workers, trade unions, parents, and everyone else to strike and gather in the city centre on Friday afternoon.
Derry’s rally will be in the Guildhall Square at 1pm on Friday.
Local schools have been encouraged by local environmental groups to “not stand in the way of this act of citizenship that young people are showing”.
On Saturday, meanwhile there will be a Climate march, rally and gathering entitled ‘Our Earth Our Future’.
This will be the second year running that communities, groups, organisations and activists from across the North have come together to demand proper climate action and environmental protections.
The march will be leaving from the Waterside Train Station at 2pm and the rally will take place in the Guildhall Square at 3pm.
Lynda Sullivan from Friends of the Earth NI has said: “We are in the most important moment for climate humanity has ever experienced. Never before have we seen such numbers mobilising for climate, with such diversity and determination. Tired of waiting for adults to take action, young people have stepped forward and are now leading us into what needs to be the biggest global movement in human history. Catalysed by the example of Greta Thunberg, students have been striking in ever-increasing numbers as part of the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement. Now, they are calling for adults to join them. Now, we too need to step forward.”
Locally there is already widespread collaboration with groups and organisations working in community development, human rights, education, trade unions, and other sectors, as well as Youth Strike for Climate, Zero Waste North West and Extinction Rebellion, to mobilise for this significant moment and beyond, “to fight for Earth Justice”.
Last month Derry and Strabane Council declared a Climate Emergency and voted to support Friday’s school strike.