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Climate activists hold funeral procession to mourn death of thousands of species

Four silent figures covered in crimson robes led a “funeral” procession from Boston Common to former US senator John F. Kerry’s Beacon Hill home on Monday evening to mourn dying species and demand greater action to slow climate change.

The somber notes of a lone tuba echoed through the narrow cobblestone streets as cars slowed and passersby turned their heads to see the marching activists, about a dozen strong.

”We’re trying to call attention to the acute level of inaction on the climate emergency,” said Harley Takagi Kaner, 32, one of the marchers. “We’re trying to use impactful visuals . . . and move through places of privilege in the Boston area. . . . And an artistically impactful way to do this is to have a ‘funeral’ for all the lives that will be lost.”

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Though some have praised the recently concluded two-week climate conference in Egypt known as COP27 as a breakthrough for its agreement on loss and damages reparations — intended to help developing nations that bear the brunt of the climate crisis — the activists Monday said that agreement was not nearly enough.

“If we don’t stop the problem, what good is that [agreement on reparations] in the long run?” said Susan Lemont, an organizer with Extinction Rebellion. “If we don’t stop, all these countries are going to flood. It would have been best if they had come up with two [solutions at the conference, not just one].”

The demonstrators marched with “light boxes” — each with illuminated symbols and messages such as “Earth Belongs To The Future.”

“I imagine that part of the reason [for the light boxes] is, that’s a striking impact at night when it’s dark,” said Takagi Kaner. “But also it gives this kind of mourning, funerary look — all [the boxes] have various ecological themes as a reminder of what will be lost.”

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The demonstrators marched from Park Street Station to the home of Kerry, the former senator and current US climate envoy, in Louisburg Square.

“I’ve admired John Kerry; I’ve thought of him as like an early champion of the climate movement,” said Julia Hansen, 34. “But he’s right now, he’s our delegate . . . and under his representation, the US just isn’t stepping up.”

“A lot of times when we demonstrate, there’s a misconception that, ‘Oh, you’re targeting the wrong people, these are people who are already on your side,’ ” added Takagi Kaner. “But the fact is, even of the people who are nominally on our side, nobody’s doing enough. World leaders, politicians — even the people who are doing the most, they’re not doing enough.”



Camilo Fonseca can be reached at camilo.fonseca@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @fonseca_esq.