Racegoers arriving at Plumpton for Monday’s race meeting were greeted by a giant Extinction Rebellion (XR) logo dominating the hills above the racecourse.
Dozens of activists gathered on the Downs between Blackcap and Ditchling Beacon to create the symbol using white fabric and their own bodies.
Steve Cork, 45, Plumpton-based fitness coach and father of two, was there.
“The crisis we all face is such a big issue that people may just bury their head in the sand rather than do something,” he said.
“This is why it is vital to engage with the climate and ecological crisis on many levels: direct action, community, artistic and, like today, symbolic.
“If we wake up now, we can repair some of the damage and create a more positive future.”
Activists scaled the Downs in time for the first race at 1pm and kept their position for several hours.
Scaynes Hill resident Cilla de Lande Long, who is supporting the foundation of the new XR Mid Sussex Group, said: “I wouldn’t normally choose to spend the afternoon sitting on a north facing slope of the Downs in a biting wind, but the issues are so important that I was glad to be able to support this XR action.
“I recently retired and when I asked myself where I wanted to put my energies from then on, it seemed a no-brainer that the most urgent and crucial issue facing us all is climate change and the relentless extinction of species in the natural world.
“It is all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the problems facing the planet and such a relief to join with others who feel the same urgency and want to take action to do something about it.”
Monday’s action was organised by XR Plumpton and East Chiltington. They will be holding a talk at Plumpton Village Hall on November 25 at 7.30pm.
XR Mid Sussex also plans to hold regular meetings, following a well-received talk in Burgess Hill.