Skip to navigationSkip to content
REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Shoes are symbolically placed on Place de la Republique in Paris after the cancellation of a planned climate march following shootings in the French capital

Parisians couldn’t hold their climate change march, so they left a powerful symbol instead

Leaders from across the world are gathering in Paris ahead of the landmark climate summit known as COP21, which begins tomorrow (Nov. 30). The meeting will focus on developing long-term plans to reduce carbon emissions.

With a planned climate change march now called off following the devastating terror attacks in the French capital two weeks ago, Parisians have responded in a symbolic and touching way: by placing hundreds of empty shoes in the city’s Place de la Republique.

Speaking to the BBC, Emma Ruby-Sachs from global campaigning group Avaaz said the display symbolized “an outpouring of determination from Parisians to be heard nonetheless.”

As climate change marches take place in other parts of the world ahead of the summit, campaigners and activists have been sharing their messages of support and solidarity on social media.

COP21, which stands for the 21st Conference of the Parties, runs through Dec. 11. The inaugural COP meeting was held in Berlin in 1995.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.