We’ve previously written about Lego’s efforts to lead the toy-making industry towards sustainability. But the toy company is not only making play-time for kids — and adults — more eco-friendly with plant-based building blocks. It turns out its toy bricks are also helping raise awareness about the climate crisis as well.
That’s thanks to ‘artivist’ Woody, who during the lockdown started re-enacting real-life climate action with the colorful bricks. As part of his first Lego Rebellion project, Woody used second hand Legos that he bought online to build a mock-up of the iconic pink activist boat placed by Extinction Rebellion in Oxford Circus in 2019.
He showed it to friends who encouraged him to continue the project. Woody went on to recreate more scenes, including protests outside Coca-Cola’s headquarters, as well as actions against the planned HS2 rail line that environmentalists claim will irreversibly damage key wildlife habitats along its path.
From lockdown joke to COP26
Soon enough, Woody’s projects captured people’s imagination, providing them with a source of amusement during the craziness of the climate emergency. The project quickly grew from an innocent lockdown pastime to one gaining global recognition during COP26.
“For the Climate Summit in Glasgow last year, the Lego rebels did an action which wasn’t based on a real-life action like their other actions but it was based on real-life activism,” the British activist tells euronews. “It was against Shell to stop the Cambo oil field in the North Sea.”
By the time the climate conference ended, millions of people from around the world had seen images of the Lego Rebels on social media. Not long after, Shell pulled out of the Cambo oil field.
Woody said, “I’m not for one minute suggesting that it’s because of the Lego Rebellion but it brings me back to the little strapline I gave the project: no one is too small to make a difference.”
Amplifying climate issues
The Climate Emergency Center in Guildford, UK, is now hosting one of Woody’s installations. The three-by-three-meter piece is showcased right at the window, attracting people’s attention from the street. Woody also says that the installation also serves as an educative purpose, as children are drawn in by the Lego set and their parents want to explain to them what the piece represents.
The humor involved also helps get the message across, allowing people to process the difficult reality of the climate crisis we are just beginning to understand. “These are real climate issues that we’re dealing with. What I’ve discovered is that doing this amplifies these issues to those outside of bubbles,” says Woody.