Article originally published 06/08/2016: due to a technical issue this article may have resurfaced for some readers, and the original publish date may not have been visible.
The carnival atmosphere that appeared to mark the Rio de Janeiro opening ceremony was halted when the mood was dialled down to warn millions watching of the dangers of climate change.
“The heat is melting the ice cap,” a voice boomed, marking the shift in tone. “It’s disappearing very quickly.”
But the call to environmental action split opinion - with critics pointing to the “hypocrisy” of the host nation since most competitors flew to the Games and the build-up was blighted by claims the country does little to tackle pollution.
Spectacular lights, music and dancing gave way to a mini-lecture on the impact of soaring temperatures and melting ice-caps caused by pumping carbon into the atmosphere: bottom line, the world is going to fry.
But there is hope.
After returning from a video essaying the damage wrought, a multi-language voiceover - including Dame Judi Dench voicing the English section - a young boy entered the derelict sage and approached a single green shoot.
“A flower emerges from a crack,” the voiceover boomed, as the set at the Maracana stadium was dressed to look desolate. “It’s ugly but it really is a flower.”
The message to the world was pertinent since Rio, expected to be hit by landslides, flooding and water pollution, is on the front-line of being affected by global warming. Many welcomed the warning.