COP26 reflections - Under the Skin of Endangered Animals
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COP26 reflections

Nov 15, 2021

COP26 is over. There is no doubt a collective sense of exhaustion in the air.

During our time in Glasgow, we experienced two sides: the inside of our exhibition at the Glasgow Print Studio, and the events taking place outside.

On the inside, people from all walks of life gathered to collectively shine a light on extinction, in line with our mission to create prints that protect endangered species around the world. The response from all of you has been overwhelming, so a deep thank you to everyone who made this so special for us.

A young gallery visitor explores the amazing anatomy of our Giant Panda screenprint. Image credit: James Harrison.

On the outside, we experienced hope, anger and energy as hundreds of thousands of activists took to the streets with a cry for climate justice and to keep 1.5C alive.

Indigenous activists leading the march during COP26, Glasgow. Image credit: Luke Ripley.

We joined the young activists who marched the streets as part of their ongoing Fridays For Future rallies. We expressed both outrage and optimism alongside the activists and drummers of Extinction Rebellion. We even managed to catch a glimpse of Greta Thunberg amongst the crowd, marching steadily with passion and purpose just a couple of hours before delivering her powerful speech to the world leaders and negotiators of COP26.

Ed and James doing some last minute screenprinting in the studio for their protest sign before taking to the streets of Glasgow. Image credit: Luke Ripley.

Throughout the conference we watched the online negotiations with despair as world leaders (especially from richer polluting nations such as China, USA and the UK) failed to pull out the stops to keep us below 2C warming.

The Harrison bros taking a stand (and seat) during the Glasgow climate protests. Image credit: Luke Ripley.
The youth of today expressing their rights to a healthy future planet. Day 4 during the Fridays For Future march. Image credit: Luke Ripley.

Sure, there are signs of progress, such as promises to end deforestation and the beginning of the end of coal. But the only reason we saw these pledges is because of the passion, grit and determination shown by young activists, indigenous leaders and countries on the climate frontline. We’re deeply grateful to all of those fighting for positive change in the face of such large scale opposition.

We had the honour of hosting environmental musician Nick Mulvey at the gallery on the closing night of COP26. Image credit: Luke Ripley.

On Friday 12th November, the last evening of the conference, we had the honour of hosting singer-songwriter and environmental musician Nick Mulvey at the gallery, where he played an intimate secret gig amongst our endangered species prints.

Closing night of COP26 at the gallery with Nick Mulvey. Image credit: Luke Ripley.

Whilst playing “In the Anthropocene” members of the small audience were invited to take up their UV torches and explore the collection, shining a light on the endangered species surrounding the gallery walls. There couldn’t have been a more fitting end to this emotionally draining yet memorable and heartwarming event.

We launched a demo of our new augmented reality app in COP26, which brings our endangered animal prints to life. Image credit: Luke Ripley.

COP26 is over. But we are not seeing this as the end. It’s the beginning of something much larger.

From our end, we will go further in our art and activism. We will continue to highlight threats to nature and celebrate wonders of the natural world through the power of design and print, envisaging a better future.

Now is when the real work begins, and we’re excited to have you along for the journey. We’ll see you at our next exhibition—or better yet—on the streets.

Written by
Ed Harrison

Ed Harrison is a designer, illustrator, environmentalist and co-founder of Under the Skin. Learn more at

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