How Greta is inspiring young, disabled people to speak out against climate change

By Ellie Amos, Digital Content Creator and Photographer 

 “I think, in many ways, that we autistic are the normal ones and the rest of the people are pretty strange. Especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis: Where everyone keeps saying that climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all. And yet, they just carry on like before.

I don’t understand that. Because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me, that is black or white.” (Greta Thunberg, TEDx Stockholm 2018




Photo: "Greta Thunberg in Bristol" by samsaundersbristol Mural: Jody  

Hearing speeches from an influential person like Greta Thunberg has made a massive impact to how I view the current climate situation. As someone who is also a young disabled person, I find Greta Thunberg to be an inspiration as she has used her “superpower” to make more people listen and become aware of the Climate Crisis.

And I’m not the only one.  

“I know how she feels,” I was told recently at the Listening Partnership, a regular forum group for young (13-19) disabled people in Bristol, with learning difficulties. The young person added, “people aren't doing enough” about climate change. 

I was there to engage with the group on the topic of climate change and the climate crisis. Accessibility and opportunity is vital for disabled people. We just want to be treated like everyone else. Young disabled people are just as capable, and we want to be involved in the climate crisis conversation.  

During the discussion we talked about the importance of using our voices to discuss our thoughts, facts and opinions on significant topics. I showed them some examples of climate activism through art and photography, including a placard I re-created of Greta Thunberg’s famous quote ‘Skolstrejk for Klimatet’ (school strike for the climate), which inspired the young people’s curiosities. 

 

I felt having a positive role model like Greta, who the young people could relate to, really helped with inspiring them to get involved with climate activism.

The collages and images on this page were created by some of the young people, in response to our climate crisis conversation. I hope these young people continue to inspire themselves and others. 

 Pumpkin, by Liam Butler

In college we picked pumpkins. I created an image about cold winter nights and being around warm fires. I noticed that this year the cold winter nights came later than usual. I don't like cold winter nights. 

 

Bike, by William McClintock 

The reason why I chose this is because why don't they take the bike to the bike shop and have it looked at by the shop. People should see if they could have it repaired by the bike shop to help climate change. 

 

Rusty Car, by Katie

The reason I chose this photo is because it means something to me. I think it is important that we do something about climate change rather then sitting around and making it worse.

This photo shows a car and I think that this is important as not only do cars contribute but once the cars are no longer usable they still contribute through other things. This annoys me as if we just did what we said we would then we wouldn’t have a lot of these problems in the first place.

Diggers, by Chloe Tate and George Davis 

We got a picture of a digger then made a collage to show rubbish falling into the water. We wanted to show how bad plastic is if it gets into the rivers and the sea.

 

Greenify, by Isaac Byrne

 

Newspaper and Tree, by Oliver Smithen

The image of change is shown in the way the headlines and bulletins are placed.

I used images of Greta Thunberg in the recent protest on COP26 alongside the premise that is written in the subtext shell an oil company promising to halve greenhouse emissions by 2030. I placed Johnson image alongside Greta Thunberg to contrast the coming of age generation with the present governmental promises of making climate change the priority. The last of the four images shows an image of change as LEGO bricks to perhaps reflect on the deconstructed world we live in.

The last image shows a tree that had been hand cut out of paper with pen ink to suggest the environment today is being replaced with mass production in the world. Telegraph headlines from 2019 with the Shell company making a promise to cut down greenhouse gases by 2030. An image from the protests in Bristol 2018 shows an act of defiance against the government law allowing a number of people to assemble and people standing up for others.

This content was produced by our Digital Content Creator, Ellie Amos, as part of a placement funded by the West of England Combined Authority Creative Business Grant. 

Big thanks to everyone at the Listening Partnership (WECIL) - thank you for giving us your amazing collages! Huge thanks also to Creative Tuition for their mentorship and support.

 

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