The COP26 Truthful Billboard Project: Australian Elections Edition
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference was held in Glasgow between the 31st of October and 12 November 2021. It is considered to be one of the most significant climate conferences since the signing of the Paris Agreement. Still, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn’t seem to give it much importance with his attendance being confirmed only two weeks before the summit and only after intense pressures made by the US.
If we are to analyze the efforts made by the Morrison government regarding the climate change crisis, it all comes down to the fact that they aren’t even doing the bare minimum to address this issue. While 9 in 10 Australians are in favour of taking action against the climate crisis, the government will continue the mining, importing and use of fossil fuels well after 2030. Morrison has even declared that the economy comes before the well-being of the planet.
Rightfully disappointed by Morrison and his government, comedian Dan Ilic has decided to use “the same means” as the politicians to illustrate how serious the situation is. While in his homeland there are multiple billboards praising “how well is Australia tackling climate change” (when in fact it isn’t), Ilic purchased the space for three billboards in Glasgow with the help of those who contributed to his online crowdfunding.
These advertising spaces showed, during the COP26, satirical messages that highlighted how little Australia is doing against climate change. Some images show a woman holding a koala under a text that reads “Cuddle a koala (Before they get extinct)”, while others simply say “Australia: Net Zero by 2300”. On his Indiegogo page, Ilic wrote “instead of getting angry that Australia is lying to the world on your behalf, the only responsible thing to do as a good Australian citizen is to tell the truth”, which summarises the purpose of the billboards.
The project was met with acclaim by many people all over the world, raising more than 170,000 AUD in donations. The money left after purchasing the billboards is used to fund the “JokeKeeper” campaign, which involves raising $1,000,000 to pay comedians, satirists and film-makers and producers to create content that shames the government’s inaction from “November until election”. Some proposed ideas for the project were: new billboards (some even in the NYC Times Square), pranks, such as a pop-up store where “visitors can learn empathy in under an hour”, a new edition of Cards Against Humanity dedicated to the politicians’ incompetence and more.
The “Truthful billboard project” exposes how much politicians praise themselves on the matter of climate change, but they only “talk, they don’t do” (as Queen Elizabeth was heard saying in a private discussion). If everyone takes action, as the Australians did by supporting this project, maybe we can put enough pressure on the governments, or just at the very least shame them.
With the upcoming Australian election, we would like to urge Aussies to vote for the party that they know is best for the climate. To learn more about each party’s climate policies, tap here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-22/federal-election-liberal-labor-greens-climate-change-policies/101007970