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Climate activists send message to Trump and Putin: "Warm our hearts not our planet"

Greenpeace Nordic activists in cooperation with Helsinki’s Kallio church unfurled two large banners this morning carrying a strong environmental message.

Greenpeacen mielenosoitus Helsingin Kalliossa.
Protesters scaled Kallio church to try and bring climate change to the attention of summit attendees. Image: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva

Monday's summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump brought a host of protesters onto the streets, and political messages onto several Helsinki buildings. One of the most prominent adorned Kallio church, east of the city centre.

"The world’s eyes are on Helsinki and we’re calling for action to combat climate change, which is the responsibility of political leaders,” says Laura Meller, a campaigner at Greenpeace Nordic, who is part of the banner project.

According to Greenpeace, the banners were unravelled just before 11 am on Monday morning and will be taken down in the afternoon.

Greenpeace suggested the cooperation with the Kallio parish shortly after it became public knowledge that the presidents of the US and Russia would be meeting in Helsinki on 16 July.

”Warm our hearts not our planet” is intended as a message to American president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin in an attempt to get environmental issues onto the agenda.

Goal: Message of hope

Affixing the banners took six climbers wearing harnesses, secured by four people. Finns, Danes, Germans and Brits were involved in the operation.

”Owing to the Helsinki meeting, attention is being paid to Helsinki right now, and we wanted to bring a message of hope amidst all the different messages,” says Kallio church pastor Visa Viljamaa, referring to other banners adorning the city during the Helsinki meeting.

According to Viljamaa, the Kallio parish doesn’t have a specific stance on the Helsinki meeting.

”There are many opinions within the parish and the congregation. Nevertheless, environmental issues are important to people in the Kallio neighbourhood,” says Viljamaa.

The rapidly-gentrifying Kallio district is home to large numbers of independent cafes, students and a population that tends to vote in large numbers for green and leftist candidates.

The Kallio Lutheran church initiated a campaign of ringing its church bells during the end of 2016 in remembrance of the victims of Russian and Syrian bombing of beseiged rebel-held parts of Aleppo. Two hundred churches in Finland took part in the initiative, which spread to countries including Britain, United States, and Australia.

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