By Shanti Escalante-De Mattei
Climate activists with the Spanish group Futuro Vegetal targeted a replica mummy as the Egyptian Museum in Barcelona this weekend to protest the climate conference, COP27, which is taking place now in Egypt.
The activists poured red and brown slime—representing blood and oil, respectively—over a display case covering the mummy replica. The liquid had been contained inside Coca-Cola bottles.
They also held a banner that read COPca-Cola in the soda company’s iconic font. The activists wanted to point to the fact that Coca-Cola, the world’s largest plastics polluter, is a main sponsor of the climate summit.
“We will no longer stand that governments wash their reputations at climate summits, deceiving their constituents without taking real measures,” Futuro Vegetal wrote in a Twitter post. “While the UN foresees a rise of 2.5 degrees Celsius, our political leaders sit together for the 27th time, at a table paid for by Coca-Cola, an ecocidal corporation.”
The protestors refer to a UN report released late this October that found there was “no viable path” to staying under the 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, which 195 countries agreed was the absolute limit of livable change during the 2015 Paris Agreement talks. The UN now estimates that we are on track for 2.4–2.6 degrees Celsius change unless there is 45 percent cut in emissions, which is technically possible but unlikely due to political reasons.
Futuro Vegetal also targeted paintings by Goya earlier this November.
The Egyptian Museum of Spain was unhappy with the protest.
“The Egyptian Museum of Barcelona strongly condemns the acts of vandalism suffered in the Museum’s rooms this weekend,” the museum wrote on Twitter. “Museum organizations are platforms for scientific dissemination, spaces for critical reflection and organizations dedicated to the protection of cultural and natural heritage, aligned and committed to the fight against climate change.”
As museums have come to anticipate climate protests that target the arts, interception, arrests, and sentencing have become more common. Recently, more than 90 museum leaders signed a letter decrying the actions of the eco-activists, saying that the protestors “severely underestimate the fragility” of the art works they are targeting. However, thus far, none of the paintings or works that have been targeted have been harmed.
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