21 artists, actors, musicians and designers tell Dazed their hopes, dreams and fears for the future of our planet
MAISIE WILLIAMS, ACTOR
Maisie Williams: “When I learned about climate change for the first time at school, I thought that it was common knowledge and everyone was working together to try and stop it. Later in life, I’ve realised that there are many people, some in really powerful places, who still seem to refuse the science.
“It’s got a lot worse since I first heard about it and all of these horror stories that my teachers were telling me back then are now becoming a reality. I have a little niece and nephew and I think I want children of my own in the future, but it scares me that the world they will live in could be unsafe. I don’t want to be denied the right to have a child because the world is burning. However I am hopeful about activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, my friends who choose to live plastic free, and my brother, who was arrested while protesting for action to be taken alongside many brave people who are awake to what’s happening around us. The ones who are doing something about it.”
MYKKI BLANCO, MUSICIAN
Mykki Blanco: “Having lived through a few challenges that would have killed or traumatised most people for life, I am not scared of my future. I think it's pretty obvious we should have made major changes years ago but here we are, and now it’s a fight against extinction. What gives me hope amongst it all, is that there is still so much more to come.”
NILUFER YANYA, MUSICIAN
Nilufer Yanya: “Climate change? Let’s call it ‘saving the world’ instead. I remember when I was younger, when I was about nine, I was terrified of it. We were hearing that the world was going to run out of oil in 50 years, so I went home and told my mum and she was already so (aware). I couldn’t understand why everyone was so calm about the fact we were destroying the planet.
“Big cities like London and New York don’t see those problems quite yet, but it’s targeting more vulnerable communities around the world because we’re in our own bubble. The fact that anyone could become a refugee at any point is really horrifying. We don’t know at what rate things are going to start falling apart. I still feel hopeful though, because so many people really do care. Maybe if more of us knew about why so many people were going vegan and the effect that has on the environment, we’d be (in a better place). Seeing that rise in environmentalism and people taking it seriously gives me hope. It’s cool to care about the planet again.”
PAMELA ANDERSON, ACTRESS & ACTIVIST
Pamela Anderson: “I’m afraid it’s too late, but we must fight until the end. We can’t give up for future generations, and for all (other) life too. We’re not more important than any other species; the world was not made for humans to gobble up.
“What scares me most about the future is that there might not be one; that people will become more greedy and prepare for the apocalypse by buying bunkers or a spot on Mars instead of fairly sharing their wealth. My wild, beautiful, talented, and romantic children give me hope though. Together, we need to create a universal income, and to abolish poverty, hunger, and racism. The world is small. We are all climate refugees.”
CONAN GRAY, MUSICIAN
Conan Gray: “The internet is raising a new generation who are aware of the problems we’re facing. Growing up, I had no clue what climate change was. I didn't know that my planet was dying, and I didn't know I had to take action. But seeing these kids be so ready and prepared to take care of our planet from now on gives me so much hope. Seeing them hold massive corporations accountable for their actions and seeing them hold their peers accountable for their unnecessary waste makes me know that they have the strength to teach older generations how to be as responsible as they are. They are our future, and if we want them to have one at all, we must start taking action now.
“If I had to say something to the generations before me, it would be this: the world you live in now is not the one you grew up in. Even though the largest effects of climate change will not affect your lifetime, it will affect ours. It will affect the ones who carry on your last name; who carry on the stories you told of a time when the planet was green and the ocean was full of life. If you love your children, love the earth they live on.”
SAMUEL ROSS, DESIGNER
Samuel Ross: “I’d call climate change ‘ecological breakdown’, but before change can be ushered in with new ways of thinking, it’s incredibly important that the idea of a martyr doesn’t die in this modern age. We should really focus on what needs to happen now. With the redistribution of several class systems in London, what we’re seeing is the city rapidly change into more of a carbon shell than small communities that can be uplifted and allowed to progress, financially and in terms of quality of life. That’s what worries me about London specifically. But what gives me hope, on the other hand, is the interconnectivity we have via social media. It might be bittersweet, but there’s a lot of hope in being able to connect with a macro amount of people, and embrace the opportunity of free electoral conversation without having to go through specific channels of communication. We’re no longer in a space of dictatorships ushering information; it’s much more of a level playing field and landscape.”
BROOKE CANDY, MUSICIAN
Brooke Candy: “It’s important to fight for climate action now, because we’re nearing the point of no return and are on the precipice of all things crumbling; almost close to a dark age. If we as a collective don’t take action, we’re looking at a disturbing dystopian reality. The thing that scares me the most about my future is a lack of empathy, a lack of awareness, and I guess a sense of apathy. What does give me hope is that love still exists on the planet and that is more powerful than anything. But I’m not afraid of death, so I’m also pretty excited to die.”
RICHARD MALONE, DESIGNER
Richard Malone: “It’s always hopeful and encouraging that people are willing to engage with change. There is more research happening now than ever before. Watching consumers react is the most powerful thing, as big businesses will only listen when money is involved. However, we are still seeing a huge amount of power in the hands of massive corporations. There’s a lot of manipulative marketing going on – brands preaching sustainability through small capsule collections, while ignoring the incredibly unsustainable practices of their whole business. Changing their minds is the hardest thing.
“We’re at a major sticking point now where we have to demand change. We can no longer sit around idly and allow our world, and our values, to be destroyed. It’s incredibly dangerous that it becomes a trend, as the superficial world of social media encourages people to latch onto any cause or trend, without taking any real action. Actions speak louder than words, and we need to unite our voices so we can shout a bit louder. The fashion industry is such a massive global cause of pollution and destruction, it’s sometimes mortifying to be involved with it. We need legislation, we need laws, we collectively need to reassess and put our egos aside and solve some problems as opposed to creating more. The job of artists and designers is often to raise awareness, but that isn’t enough now. Action is needed.”
ANOHNI, MUSICIAN AND ARTIST
Anohni: “‘Climate change’ is a deceptively benign way of describing a potentially apocalyptic cataclysm. It's more like global boiling, as far as many lifeforms on this planet are concerned. The fossil record will remember us as having committed the most profound act of violence in the history of species; this time is unprecedented in our world’s history.
“What scares me most is the thought of being alone in a world without biodiversity. I feel that this Earth is the frontier of creativity at work, and that the other animals and lifeforms are my brothers and sisters, my family, and without them I would feel lonely. Over a third of the Great Barrier Reef has died in the last three years. Forests around the world are on fire. One concept some environmentalists are using describes the diminishing baseline of people’s experience of wilderness. My grandmother may have seen 100 birds on the line, my father 50, I may have seen 20, and my niece may only see five. For each generation, that radically reduced presence of animals and biodiversity is accepted as normal. Clear the forest, raise a generation in that field of stumps, and that generation will accept that landscape as normal, just as we accept the concrete jungle of cities as if they have always been so. I think the actions taken recently by Extinction Rebellion in the UK and elsewhere are a positive step, and I hope that it grows as a movement.”
DORIAN ELECTRA, ARTIST
Dorian Electra: “I’m hopeful when I see people coming together to take action and disrupt our current pattern of production and consumption. It means putting our shared interest forward, and pushing for a global structural change that goes beyond our own individual economic and political systems. That means understanding how our economic practices impact other parts of the world – not just our immediate surroundings. It’s urgent because we won’t ever have enough of an incentive to change until it’s too late. And that’s the problem: how do we motivate change? We need to find ways to align our economic incentives and political structures to work towards preserving our Earth. Now, we need to put more resources into finding more sustainable ways to produce, distribute, and consume.”
BROOKS GINNAN, MODEL
Brooks Ginnan: “Regardless of how dark things can get, truth and beauty will always be a beacon for me. It's inspiring to see how this generation, be it through activism or art, has been able to mobilise action in regards to so many different social issues and injustices. I feel like every day, I still find myself waking up with hope in humanity, in spite of it all. It’s important to fight for climate action now because there’s not any other option, especially with only 11 years until the irreversible damage is said and done. So many people in the generations above seem to think it’s all a series of politics and propaganda, but of course that’s easy to believe when you won’t be the one witnessing the consequences. After all, will anything really matter if there isn’t a world for us anymore?”
JAMIE WINDUST, ACTIVIST AND JOURNALIST
Jamie Windust: “Over the past five years, the socio-political climate that we are in, outside of climate change, has been all about resistance and disruption in the name of human rights – this issue is no different. As a non-binary person, I hope that the future is full of societal and governmental change so that we can exist in spaces where we are fully embraced and realised. I'm worried for the safety of my trans and gender non-conforming people all over the world, and it's important to remember that climate change will affect all of us, no matter what our gender identity is.”
LIL MIQUELA, INFLUENCER
Lil Miquela: “Generation Z make me hopeful for the future. I think young people are overwhelmingly underestimated and seen as powerless, but there are so many very young people fighting for change. I think immediately of people like Greta Thunberg and the protesters she’s inspired. I think of Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, whose activism has resulted in a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government. I also think of Mari Copeny, Little Miss Flint, because access to clean water is an issue that’s only going to become more prevalent, and her activism has shed a light on the inherent unfairness around which communities get left out of the conversation.
“Maybe we should rename (climate change) something like, I don’t know.... ‘Sonic’s teeth’? Because that kind of shit seems to rile people up. I want people as mad and as passionate about saving our planet as they are about Sonic the Hedgehog’s weird-ass little human teeth.”
RICHIE SHAZAM, MODEL, ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER
Richie Shazam: “Climate change needed to be addressed yesterday; it’s actually a late response. Did you know that if every iceberg in the arctic was to melt, the earth would be entirely submerged in water? This is an issue that goes beyond just me, and I cannot be scared for myself without being scared for my sisters, friends, and family. I am scared for the future generations; I see my niece and my nephew and I want them to be able to experience the things I was able to at their age. People tend to turn a blind eye to things that scare them. It’s time for everyone to face their fears.”
Lauv: “We're going to get to the point where we will no longer be able to survive on this planet if we don't start to change. I definitely want to have kids, but we can't really fathom how bad (the world) may become, so I think it's really easy to let it be a distant thought in your mind. Even I'm guilty of not always taking it seriously enough because in a bunch of places in the world, you may not necessarily feel it yet. If you do any reading, our future is going to be messed up and really hard for our children, especially if we don't take action now. My generation and the ones younger than mine are the most socially active that I've seen. We have the potential to unite and do something about this if enough people stand up and make change.”
AARON PHILIP, MODEL
Aaron Philip: “It’s important to fight for climate action now that we are literally losing our world with every passing moment. Earth has nurtured humans for so long and the current generation, alongside those before us, have been so irresponsible and reckless in the ways we have utilised our planet. It’s imperative that we hold each other accountable for how we choose to take care of our surroundings, but it’s equally important to facilitate discussions on things like climate change and environmental action as much and as soon as possible. What scares me about the future is how unwilling people are to take steps to preserve it. Many people still do not grasp the urgency surrounding climate action and that this is quite literally ‘do or die’, but what gives me the most hope about this is that my generation (have made) ourselves socially responsible to fix past mistakes. Let’s rename ‘climate change’ to ‘Earth Protection Program’: it should be everyone’s responsibility to protect our planet. It’s the only one we have.”
MARC SEBASTIAN, MODEL
Marc Sebastian: “If we wiped out 60 per cent of humans it would be the equivalent of emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China, and Oceania. But humans have already wiped out 60 per cent of all animal species on Earth. Future generations should get to experience that natural world. It really comes down to the animals for me. Every day, a new species is declared extinct. We just had our first mammal declared extinct solely because of climate change. It scares me that each day could bring a new species that future generations will only know from photos and history books. It gives me hope when younger generations become aware of the destruction caused by the past generations, and seeing wildlife centres, conservations, and zoos rehabilitate entire animal populations.”
Ashish: “I remember growing up in India, when a very hot summer was about 37-38 degrees and 40 degrees was rare. Now the temperature can easily hit 45 degrees on the hottest days in June. Sparrows were so common in Delhi, but I haven't seen one in years. According to scientists, we need to protect almost 50 per cent of oceans and forests to preserve our ecosystem. At present only 3 per cent of oceans are protected, and barely 15 per cent of our forests are untouched. Biodiversity is being destroyed at an alarming rate, and we need to take action now. I fear the politicians and big corporations who have little or no interest in saving the planet, but thankfully, we have young people protesting. They give me hope.”
CAMPBELL ADDY, PHOTOGRAPHER
Campbell Addy: “I think it’s imperative to fight for change now as we have a very small window of opportunity to rectify the damage we’ve already done to the world. In regards to the future of this planet, I am scared of losing many eco systems that contribute to the standard of living that we are used to. I am scared of total annihilation, but aren’t we all? As of late I have been looking into how I can change and reduce my carbon footprint and I’ve been seeing so much information for newbies like myself. It gives me hope that it’s a trend that will turn into a wave that will sweep the nation. From Gisele Bundchen wearing eco-friendly garments at the Met Ball to sites like packagefreeshop.com.”
RHEA DILLON, FILMMAKER
Rhea Dillon: “It’s obvious to me that we have to take action now. There’s so many different parts of the world that are being viciously affected by climate change; the fact that half of the Great Barrier Reef is dead still baffles me. It’s crazy that we as a race can destroy something so beautiful and that has existed beyond our time. People still don’t seem to care or understand the environment, but we have to prepare for and save our future.”
HARRY FREEGARD, DESIGNER
Harry Freegard: “The uncertainty of a future at all is très terrifying, it must be said ladies! If we don’t start making a change now, then when?! Perhaps we should do it in a few years when we are all dead! You know, what I find terribly exciting is the prospect of having climate change under control and we can all go back to having a gorgeous time! And I think to rename climate change, I would employ a quote from Naomi Campbell on juicing: “Everything Green”. Words to live by, truly!”