COP26 management did eventually notice that the building had been hijacked—and took some puzzling measures to shoo the activists away. They first started by projecting their own colorful lights and patterns on the SEC. That had the unintended effect, activist Tommy Vickerstaff noted on Twitter, of making the Gastivists’ messages “look more exciting.” Which honestly, yes.
When those measures didn’t work, the UN projector operators tried a new tactic: projecting “GO AWAY” over the activists’ messages—and onto their own venue. The result was a literal war of the words, as the activists’ messages were eventually met with “GO AWAY” projected several times over the building in red text.
“I haven’t stopped laughing since,” Vickerstaff wrote.
By engaging with the activists’ protests, the UN accidentally highlighted a big point of contention some higher-level leaders may rather keep quiet. The methane pledge reached last week was announced with a lot of fanfare, but has been highly criticized by grassroots groups and activists from around the world as not doing enough. Activists are particularly concerned about the role of fossil fuel companies in the agreement, as well as the world’s ability to deliver on the promised cuts without some of the biggest methane emitters being in the agreement.
Still, there appeared to be no hard feelings between the warring projectionists. According to a tweet from Graeme Eddolls, an activist who was involved in the demonstration, the official UN projectionist “came out and congratulated” their opponents.
Job well done, Gastivists!