Hundreds join ‘funeral for nature’ in Bath including Chris Packham

  • Watch Victoria Davies' report here.

Hundreds of environmental activists, including TV presenter and campaigner Chris Packham, have come together to hold a ‘funeral for nature’ in Bath.

Around 400 people formed a procession through the city on Saturday calling for urgent action to tackle climate change and protect the environment. 

Mr Packham, who spoke at the protest, said: “We live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Every few years we publish something called a ‘state of nature’ report and every few years the news is even worse. 

"The problem isn’t that we’re losing nature very rapidly, but we have the capacity to stop that. We’ve got all the tools at our disposal to recover and to restore, reinstate, reintroduce nature but we’re just not getting on with it enough, rapidly enough and broadly enough and if we did we could make a difference."

Rob Delius, one of the organisers, said: “I just thought [the report] was so shocking, and not enough people were talking about that, so this event is about raising awareness. 

“It’s about doing something so awe-inspiring that it’s going to make people want to know what’s going on and what it’s all about.”

Hundreds of Red Rebels took to the streets. Credit: PA

Rob said “it’s crazy” that an idea that started in Bath has spread all around the world. 

Funerals for Nature will be taking place simultaneously in Boston, Sydney, Gothenburg and Lisbon. The Gothenburg event will be a ‘Nordic Funeral for Nature’ with groups joining from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

He said: “It’s such a great feeling that all these people are coming together and getting behind this really important cause.” 

Among the mourners were 400 Red Rebels - a group of mournful characters in red robes that bear witness to the climate crisis. 

Doug Francisco, a founding member of the Red Rebels, said: “It is quite unusual. We’ve done some big things before but the Red Rebels have never been out in such numbers before.”

“This is an artistic performance - art and music have ways of hitting people on a more emotional level. It’s just another way to spread that message.”

“I think we should all be scared.”

Conservationist Sarah Fraser said: “This is at the heart of who I am and what I do for a living. On a personal level, the grief of seeing nature in decline is terrible so I want to do something about it.” 

Sarah made black hats with animals on them to wear during the funeral. 

She said: “It’s great to bring the species that we’re talking about into the procession with us. We thought it would engage people looking a little bit more.”

Anna Gillespie is a sculptor who got involved with the funeral by making the ‘Mother Earth’ figure. 

She said: “This project seemed like something I really wanted to do and I could tell this was going to be special.”

When asked why she was getting involved, Anna said: “I’m scared, I’m really scared. My children are scared, they’re so scared they’ve lost their optimism. That’s quite something as a mother to hear your children say that. 

“This is a drop in the ocean but at least it’s something.

“I think we should all be scared.”

Alan Dun, an artist involved, said: “I’m very concerned, as people should be, about the collapse of the climate system. As an artist I feel I’ve got a contribution to make. I think the arts can create imagery that can cut through to people.

“The climate is changing and changing very rapidly. It’s accelerating so quickly now that it’s quite terrifying.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…