Symbolic cranes soared gracefully over the crowd as Pope Francis welcomed conservationists of many religions to the Vatican on Sunday, June 28. Several hundred citizens had marched to the Vatican in support of the recent encyclical urging action on climate change. Playing a prominent role in the celebration were cranes! Elegant crane kites flew over thousands of people and a sign that read, “One Earth. One Family. Climate Action Now.” in the center of St. Peter’s Square.
Cranes play an important role in efforts to curb climate change, as they exemplify both the need for urgency and reasons for hope. Of the world’s 15 crane species, 11 are threatened with extinction. Each species is vulnerable to climate change in its own way, whether due to rising oceans, drought, or shrinking wetlands. While climate change threatens their long-term survival, cranes are also important symbols of survival, hope, and longevity. They have an ability to unite people of many cultures, which Pope Francis highlighted as imperative if we are to be successful in stopping global climate change (click here to read a translation of his address).
The International Crane Foundation salutes all who are working to safeguard our planet from the threat of climate change.
The crane kites are a product of Ibex Puppetry. The Founder and Artistic Director, Heather Henson, is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Crane Foundation. Special thanks to Sean Keohane and Ibex Puppetry for the march images.