New Brussels street art highlights EU-driven forest destruction

Posted on 14 March 2022

The mural depicts the hopes of hundreds of thousands of citizens for an ambitious EU deforestation law, currently being discussed by EU national governments and the European Parliament.

WWF unveils today the “Together for Forests” mural, in an effort to raise awareness of the destructive impacts European consumption has on nature and wildlife around the world. Created by the acclaimed urban artist and climate activist, Carlos Alberto GH, it brings iconic wildlife closer to the European quarter in Brussels, as environment ministers will discuss their position on the new  EU deforestation law on 17 March. Initiated by WWF, the mural has been curated by the art for social change nonprofit organisation Street Art for Mankind and comes to life with their free app “Behind the Wall®”. 

 

“With every meal, we’re unwittingly wiping out vital ecosystems such as the Amazon or the Cerrado. These are also home to the main characters of our #Together4Forests mural landscape - macaws, jaguars, pumas - which is about to burst into flames. As consumers, we didn’t choose this destruction, and yet we are responsible. Only a strong EU deforestation law can change this,” said Ester Asin, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office. 

 

A hard to miss 24 meter tall piece of street art that speaks for 1.2 million citizens

Drawing inspiration from the heart of Brazil, and amplifying a message in the heart of Brussels, the mural shows we are all connected. It voices the demand of 1.2 million citizens and almost 200 NGOs who joined forces in the #Together4Forests campaign and stood up for strong EU legislation to curb global deforestation. It draws Europeans closer to spectacular forests, wild savannahs and lush grasslands that indigenous peoples, communities, as well as unique wildlife species call home. 

 

“It is a true pleasure to be back in Brussels, and collaborate for the first time with WWF on such an important mission. While our first mural in Brussels was with the UN about ecosystem restoration, this new mural with WWF is about preventing deforestation. They are two sides of the same coin. Our planet needs our help and we take every opportunity, through our art, to support it”, says Audrey Decker, Co-founder of Street Art for Mankind.

 

“Our Together for Forests Mural will immerse the public in the 3D world of the talented artist Carlos Alberto GH, and we do hope that with its incredible setting by Leopold Park, it will inspire people to act in order to protect nature”, adds Thibault Decker, Co-founder of Street Art for Mankind.

 

"This mural is one of the most significant ones I have ever painted, on nature conservation. It represents the beauty but also the fragility of ecosystems, and how our consumption can be catastrophic for them. Doing this work here in Belgium was a big challenge, however, the satisfaction is even bigger", says artist and climate activist Carlos Alberto GH.

 

The EU is still the biggest importer of deforestation, after China. But this can change

 

Most of EU imported deforestation is embedded in soy-based products, beef, as well as palm oil, wood products, rubber, maize, cocoa and coffee. But EU Member States and the European Parliament can put an end to this in upcoming negotiations on the EU Deforestation law.

 

To achieve this, it is critical that the scope of the law goes beyond forests from the beginning. Otherwise, the pressure now placed on forests will just be shifted to other ecosystems, such as savannahs, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. Further, the new legislation should also cover commodities and products that account for a “smaller” fraction of deforestation, such as rubber and maize, and traceability along the supply chain and determining a geo-location is necessary in order to have a loophole-free law. 

 

In November 2021, the European Commission had presented its proposal for a new EU deforestation law, which contains some good elements, but loopholes also remain. The ball is now in the court of Member States and the European Parliament

 

“As national ministers and MEPs discuss this law, we call on them to defend the strong elements of the Commission proposal such as knowing the origin of products and close all the remaining gaps. The law does not yet cover all the ecosystems that matter, all products that have an impact and leaves loopholes unaddressed,” concluded Ester Asin. “We hope that this mural will serve as a reminder to them every day that we need to get serious about tackling the EU’s footprint.”



 

 # # #

 

Notes for editors

 

The “Together for Forests” mural was made possible thanks to the support of the Municipality of Etterbeek, Brussels-Capital Region, École EOS, and Dominique Janne the owner of the wall. 

 

The wall is located at 182 Chaussée d’Etterbeek, near the Parc Léopold in Brussels.

 

Find out more about the #Together4Forests campaign: www.wwf.eu/campaigns/together4forests

Download the app, scan the mural, take action: wwf.eu/streetart 


For more information, please contact: 

 

WWF EPO

Adriana Trocea

atrocea@wwf.eu

Communications Officer, Deforestation

+40 728 27 87 37

 

Street Art for Mankind:

Audrey Decker

adecker@streetartmankind.org

Co-Founder, Street Art for Mankind

+1 305 934 5501

 

About WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)

WWF is an independent conservation organization, with more than 30 million followers and a global network active through local leadership in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.  

The European Policy Office contributes to the achievement of WWF’s global mission by leading the WWF network to shape EU policies impacting on the European and global environment. Find out more on wwf.eu

 

About Street Art for Mankind 

Street Art for Mankind (SAM) is a French-American, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization working with prominent street artists to create large murals all around the world. Its goal is to raise awareness on social justice and environmental issues, and to give the public the means to become actors of change. SAM is mostly known for its mural series with the United Nations. It is its first collaboration with WWF.  Learn more at StreetArtMankind.org

© WWF / Street Art for Mankind