Climate activists turned the water black in Italy’s famous fountain — the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi — on Saturday to spread the message that the world needs to reverse the climate situation on Earth.

CNN said the Rome-based climate activists group is called Ultima Generazione, or Last Generation.

According to the group’s website, the demonstrors poured “vegetable charcoal diluted in water” into the fountain to remind others that “our future is as black as this water.”

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“Without water there is no life and with rising temperatures we are exposed to drought on the one hand and floods on the other,” the website said, adding “Difficult years await us, but if we don’t zero emissions immediately they will be terrible.”

Members of the group were arrested about 15 minutes after the act and now face charges of defacing a public monument, per CNN.

Carabinieri police officers pull out an activist of climate group Last Generation from the Quattro Fiumi fountain, in Rome, Saturday, May 6, 2023. | Cecilia Fabiano, Associated Press

Italy’s Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, said these acts go against the environment the activists claim to be defending and, “Now again, a lot of water will have to be used to clean up and costs incurred to restore the state of the monument — and (paying for it) will be Italian citizens,” according to CNN.

Last Generation

This is not the first time Last Generation has stirred up the public’s attention.

Previous attempts to spread climate awareness through civil disobedience are highlighted on the group’s website, which include holding signs on the road while blocking traffic and spray-painting the headquarters of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, a prominent banking company in Italy.

Reuters reported on one of the roadblocks and said, “After months of drought which raised concerns about the low levels of the Po, Italy’s largest river, heavy rains lashed the northern Emilia-Romagna region earlier this week, causing extensive damage. Activists blame the extreme weather on climate change due to fossil fuels.”

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Art defamation

According to Reuters, the group is also responsible for throwing soup at a Van Gough painting and painting Milan’s La Scala opera house.

The Deseret News has reported on previous times climate activists have targeted famous art to speak out.

The article said other famous artworks that activists have targeted include Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting by Johannes Vermeer, as well as Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting.

Last year, almost 100 gallery directors signed a statement that said, “In recent weeks, there have been several attacks on works of art in international museum collections. The activists responsible for them severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects, which must be preserved as part of our world cultural heritage,” per the Deseret News article.