Environmental activists held a silent “die-in” outside of Citywalk mall in Tsuen Wan on Saturday, as part of a global movement to curb emissions.

Photo: Alex Hofford.

Nine participants dressed in black stood in front of a 7-metre wide globe installation with signs reading “change the politics not the climate” and “there is no planet B.” The suspended artwork by British artist Luke Jerram – called “Gaia” – was made up of detailed Nasa imagery and aims to communicate a sense of environmental fragility, Jerram said.

A statement from Extinction Rebellion Hong Kong called upon local authorities to acknowledge climate change as an impending threat: “Time has almost run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the [sixth] mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change,” it read. “By staging a die-in beneath ‘Gaia,’ we hope to highlight that relationship and the importance of protecting the Earth if we are to avoid catastrophic climate and ecological breakdown.”

Photo: Alex Hofford.

Activists later laid down on the ground in the shape of an hourglass, symbolising a countdown to extinction. They urged Hong Kong’s government to declare a climate emergency and pledge to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2025.

The protesters were part of international civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion, launched in the UK last October after UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned the world must keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert catastrophic impact on the earth.

Photo: Alex Hofford.

On Wednesday, the UK became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency after environmentalists brought London to a standstill.

Photo: Alex Hofford.

In March, hundreds of young protesters took to the streets demanding action of climate change.

A spokesperson for the Environment Bureau told HKFP the government aims to reduce the city’s carbon emission intensity by 65 to 70 per cent by 2030, compared with the 2005 level, by encouraging power companies to replace coal-fired generation units with cleaner energy sources, expanding the railway network and promoting walkability.

“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government attaches great importance to combating climate change,” they added. “Through the Paris Agreement which came into force in November 2016, we join hands with the global communities in this endeavour.”

The Hong Kong Free Press #PressForFreedom 2019 Funding Drive seeks to raise HK$1.2m to support our non-profit newsroom and dedicated team of multi-media, multi-lingual reporters. HKFP is backed by readers, run by journalists and is immune to political and commercial pressure. This year’s critical fundraiser will provide us with the essential funds to continue our work into next year.

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.