In an interview about environmental activism with Dazed, journalist and author Naomi Klein says that it’s going to have to be young people who lead the movement. It is, after all, their future world that is at stake. For a teenaged Elizabeth Farrell, Klein’s book This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate was a major influence. Elizabeth’s focus at university is geography and environmental studies, and as Glacier Girl, she is taking the discussion around ecology and the economy online.
What began as a school project, ‘Remember The Glaciers’ now exists across various online platforms, adapting the aesthetic of ‘eco-friendly’ to appeal to the ‘iGeneration’. To her 8k followers on instagram she shares conceptual photographs she has taken of willing friends posing alongside big brand logos like Shell and Apple which are used as symbols of capitalist greed and consumption.
It’s important that the imagery and platforms she uses speak to those her age and younger.
In an interview with Konbini, Elizabeth says:¬†If previous generations have given up or lost hope then we need to do it for ourselves, it looks as though if we want a future we are going to have to build and shape it ourselves…For me, I didn‚Äôt feel as though school made a big enough point on climate change at a young age and it is largely due to my own research that I am more aware of the situation today. This experience plays a big role in why I focus on generation Z.
Her latest work, #refashioningnature, was an interactive installation as part of Utopian Voices Here & Now at Somerset House in London last month. In it she brought the concept of climate change closer to home by re-decorating common household furniture with messages and rhetorical questions. Visitors were invited to sit on the sofa chair or take a selfie in the standing mirror while considering their own role in, and opinion on the relationship between the economy and ecology.
Whether as an activation like this, or in the content she shares online, Elizabeth doesn’t want to tell anybody what to do. Her focus is instead on making her followers aware of the realities of climate change in a way that’s accessible, relatable and relevant to their online experience.
Here, she answers a few quick questions of ours.
How do you think the brand of ‚Äúeco-friendly‚Äù and ‚Äúsustainability‚Äù has failed?
It‚Äôs not relatable to the general public, its very stereotyped and it‚Äôs preaching to the choir.
Is your method of activism strategic or is it more of an organic process?
It‚Äôs a combination of both. I think initially I was testing out what I could do and how to do it, as I have developed I am producing more work that is more ‚Äòme‚Äô. My activism has changed and grown with me as I learn and develop new understanding. It will always be constantly changing because that is how ecological systems work and that is the way we must grow.
In your column for Polyester Zine you ask, ‚ÄúHow did we get to the point in believing we have power over the planet – raised with this distorted view of nature?‚Äù Where do you think the disconnect has stemmed from?
I guess from industrialisation and people seeking ‚Äòeasier‚Äô lifestyles. We started engineering our environment so that we could be as little dependent on it as possible, of course this is all an illusion. You cannot go outside the boundaries of nature.
A photo posted by Remember The Glaciers (@glacier996girl) on
Can you speak a bit about your own personal realisation?
My personal realisation was initially gradual and then it all hit me at once. Everything connected – everything and nothing made sense. For a while I felt quite alone in this realisation but soon enough found the resources I needed.
What have you learned from collaborating with, and speaking on panels with icons like Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett?
Mostly just to keep at it, to never give up, and that it is all a big learning process.
What will make the biggest difference?¬†
Start the conversation with friends, family etc. I think this is the easiest but one of the most important things to do. It‚Äôs all very well if you’re taking action but if you are doing it collaboratively by spreading the word, your action could tenfold.
What keeps you hopeful?
People coming together.
Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate (And follow her on Facebook/Twitter).
@everydayclimatechange on Instagram.