This autumn, we welcome Birds2BHeard to Towner.
A collection of paper birds, made and decorated by children from Eastbourne, will form a powerful display in our upstairs café. Each bird carries an important message to local and national leaders urging them to tackle environmental issues and the causes of climate change.
Eastbourne has a growing population of young people who care passionately about the future of the planet. The town’s current youth activism builds on a legacy created by young residents over 25 years ago.
The Birds2BHeard project was inspired by ‘Leave It To Us’ the first United Nations Children’s Conference on the Environment which took place in Eastbourne in 1995. The idea for this pioneering international conference was conceived by local children. Over 800 delegates attended from 87 countries putting Eastbourne on the world stage as a centre for youth environmental activism.
In 2020, to mark the 25th anniversary of this remarkable event, pupils from West Rise Primary School, Pashley Down Infants School and Gildredge House Free School decided to communicate their concerns about the environment to the then prime-minister Boris Johnson in the form of paper birds. This example of youth initiated art activism inspired a further 5,000 children from 20 Eastbourne schools to make paper birds each bearing their distinctive messages to world leaders attending the 2021 COP26 Conference on Climate Change. A huge flock of paper birds arrived in Glasgow, appearing at the conference and taking part in the youth march and rally and the global day of action march.
The Birds2BHeard paper birds have now returned home to Eastbourne for this display at Towner, which will draw attention to the forthcoming 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference.