AN artist whose climate-change mural was vandalised for a second time over Christmas has described the attack as ‘desperate and irrational’.
Ian Rolls believes the artwork at the Waterfront has become a ‘symbol’ in the conversation about climate change and said the repeated attempts to deface the mural highlighted the sensitivity of the subject.
A 62-year-old man was arrested at the scene in the early hours of Boxing Day after the States police received reports that the piece was being vandalised. He has since been released on bail while investigations continue.
The mural – which features red and blue stripes to indicate whether each year had been colder or warmer than average – was first vandalised overnight on Christmas Day and Boxing Day 2020 and was later redesigned by Mr Rolls.
He said that the artwork would not be redesigned this time around, but would be restored and a stripe added to represent 2021.
‘Some people are desperate to fight change and when people resist that change, it leads them to become angry and unhappy,’ Mr Rolls said. ‘Trying to get people to move away from using fossil fuels is going to be painful and it will take time and I think there will be other demonstrations or protests of public unrest to come but, hopefully one day, we will learn to live in harmony with the environment.’
A Citizens’ Assembly, formed to make recommendations on the best way to tackle environmental issues in Jersey, was set up following the States’ declaration of a climate-change emergency in 2019.
The government released the Draft Carbon Neutral Roadmap last month and a public consultation on the 130-page document is due to run until 31 January.
The document, which outlines the steps ministers plan to take to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, contains a £23 million delivery plan with around 30 new policies, such as financial support for Islanders to purchase electric vehicles and upgrade to low-carbon heating systems.
Other proposals include stopping new oil-, gas- and coal-boiler installations from 2026 as well as banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and offering incentives to scrap fossil-fuel cars.
Mr Rolls added: ‘The mural has become something of a symbol for a lot of people trying to lead the way with climate change and I think a lot of people will be upset by this new vandalism incident. The repeated incidents highlight the sensitivity of the subject.’
Mr Rolls said he was not upset when he was told about the latest incident.
‘I think it came as a shock, despite it happening before. This seems more of a desperate and irrational response. Their opinion expressed with the graffiti does not represent anyone’s view but their own,’ he said.