It has been a whirlwind year for climate activism. From Greta Thunberg’s explosion onto the public stage at the annual UN climate negotiations in December 2018, to hitherto hidden masses shutting down the streets of London the following summer, climate activism has been rejuvenated.
But how new is this movement? And what has it changed (if anything)? We commissioned a special collection of work to try and probe these issues.
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Sophie Yeo looked back on her first encounter with Greta, in the halls of the UN talks in a Polish former mining town. Greta was clearly the next star, she muses, but no-one quite realised how significant her impact would be.
I teamed up with filmmaker Adam Levy to explore what was new about Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikes. We found a movement aware of its historical roots, but proud of its achievements in reviving a spirit of rebellion.
Audio | ‘We Have to Be Here’: Inside Britain’s New Climate Activism
For a 20-minute audio feature, Soila Apparicio visited two very different protest sites — a Reclaim the Power camp just outside London, and the Preston New Road anti-fracking protest near Blackpool — to see how activism has changed since the emergence of Greta and Extinction Rebellion. She found protesters old and new, inspired by the energy the newcomers have brought, but aware the fight would remain long and arduous.