Street art confronting the climate crisis one bus stop at a time

Various activists are using street art around the city to raise awareness of climate concerns and its impact on the cost of living

One of Extinction Rebellion’s recent posters on Greyfriars Road (Credit: Manon Jones)

Numerous bus stop adverts have been graffitied across Cardiff in order to change their meaning to draw attention to the climate crisis in the last few weeks.

Dotted around the city, bus stops featuring ads for well-known companies, such as McDonalds and Kellogg’s, have been reclaimed by new artwork which alters the messaging.

This has been done to draw attention to the current economic and environmental challenges that the UK faces, according to one of the activists responsible for the provocative street art.

Working with Extinction Rebellion, activist Chris Smith (not his real name), believes that mega corporations have all the power and are abusing the world’s resources. This is leading to a poorer way of life for us all. He says the inspiration for the artwork is, “That every single person in our community should be able to dream.

Extinction Rebellion shared the street art on their Facebook page:
Posted by Cardiff Extinction Rebellion Caerdydd on Saturday, 5 November 2022

“Our streets are littered with further pollution,” he added, saying he believed that the adverts that promote fast food and fashion are a part of the same system that keeps us poor.

“It’s hard to dream these days because we have huge pressures in our day-to-day life,” said the local artist. “People need to know where their local food bank is, not where the nearest McDonald’s is.”

The current cost-of-living crisis that is facing the country has been connected to the climate crisis. The use of fossil fuels has meant rising energy prices are effecting millions of people across the country.

The inspiration was that every single person in our community should be able to dream

“The biggest lie we are told is that we can’t do anything to change the current crisis,” Smith said when explaining the message behind one of the graffitied bus stops.

When asked if this was a strategy that would be continued across the city centre, he said it would be. He added that the clearest way to take action is on the streets and that it’s all about reclaiming these public spaces.

When asking a member of the public on their opinion of the street art, they said it was more similar to vandalism and found the message somewhat confusing.

The artist made it clear they would only be “reclaiming” ads they saw as toxic.