PARIS, France – Have you seen a blue whale lately?
Art thrives at the heart of France all year round, but the past few days have been extra special as Paris hosts the UN climate talks, better known as COP21.
Art and climate change are visible at every corner of the city – from a giant blue whale floating right across the Eiffel Tower, to Parisian electric pedicabs and tuk-tuks, and symbolic blocks of ice melting in front of the Pantheon.
One is never bored in the city of love, at the same time, one cannot be ignorant of the climate advocacy especially with all the free public exhibits tackling the impacts and solutions to climate change.
A short stroll at the left bank of the Seine River leads to a giant blue whale sculpture. The 110-foot masterpiece is a reminder to the world of how climate change threatens biodiversity.
Animals across the globe are impacted through habitat destruction, overexploitation, and disease, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
As a result, over 1,400 endangered species are threatened, a 2014 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature revealed.
Whales, in particular, are endangered by rising temperatures. Extreme weather events not only affect their migration patterns and food security, but also disrupts their mating and population.
The metal sculpture serves as a “totem for conservation and preservation of oceans and biodiversity,” Pierre Douay, one of the installation’s organizers, told Rappler.
“To protect animals, to protect biodiversity definitely protects humanity,” he explained, hoping that such kinds of art could “touch the heart of people.”
There was a time when there were hundreds of thousands of blue whales in the ocean; today however, there are only roughtly around 3,000 to 4,000, shared Douay.
“Blue whales are fundamental to the regulation of climate, that’s why we want to speak about the terrible erosion of biodiversity in the world.
The fate of these animals rely on world leaders who are expected to agree on saving the planet through doable means during the Paris climate talks.
In the Philippines, there are 26 species of whales and dolphins. It is also home to the critically-endangered dugong.
Such sea creatures are important as they help maintain a balance within the marine ecosystems. Their lives, however, are at a constant risk as humans continue to harm them through hunting, overconsumption, and pollution.
Through art, Paris hopes that more people would understand what climate change really does to Earth. – Rappler.com