The voices of tomorrow, today

View Gallery 9 Photos
Reading Time: 5 minutes

With portraits of the nations leading youth activists, Harry Rose’s Climate Generation platforms the voices of those facing a future at risk.

It has become clear in recent years that the next generation of climate activists are already here. On March 15 2019, the UK took part in its first national climate change strike, with thousands of young people leaving their classrooms to protest across streets, as well as screens. The worst effects of climate change will be felt by these young people, and they want their voice heard.

London-based photographer Harry Rose created Climate Generation, a project championing some of the most prevalent voices amongst the youth activist scenes. With interviews as well as portraits, Climate Generation demonstrates the various ways in which these young people have approached activism, protest, and finding their voice.

Destiny, 17

“In order to better understand the climate crisis, I religiously read and researched about the situation. I found loads of other kids who had a similar climate anxiety through school strikes. I’m a part of this year’s environmental campaign Choked Up, which is concerned with air pollution, and how living in Black and Brown areas means you are more exposed to the harm.”

Destiny is the co organiser of Choked Up a youth organisation run by Black and Brown teenagers meant to raise awareness of the toxic levels of pollution in London. Destiny helps to lobby MP’s to get a new clean air deal for London and the UK. Destiny currently studies English Literature, French and Philosophy at A-Level. She hopes to study French and Philosophy at Oxford University, and be a role model for young Black and Brown women to break the mould of educational institutions.

Destiny, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Destiny, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Elijah, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Elijah, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.

Elijah, 16

“The climate crisis is a human rights emergency. Often in the western world, people view climate change as something distant and as something that will affect only animals, temperature, and the ocean… However, this idea is very faulted and White centralised. The global south is currently facing direct climate impact.”

Elijah is one of the Uk’s most prominent climate change activists and organisers of protests. From the UK’s first climate change strike in 2019 to the anti Trump march in London. Elijah protests both at parliament and from home during lockdown, going on hunger strikes and travelling to important UN and climate change summits. Recently, Elijah spent time in the Amazon rainforest  with indigenous communities, learning how climate change and deforestation is affecting their way of life.

Cyrus, 17

“I want Boris Johnson and his government to be brave enough to take real, solid and courageous action on the climate. As we inch closer to socioeconomic and ecological breakdown, running from climate related issues is no longer something politicians can afford to do.”

Cyrus is the environmental editor for Mission Magazine where he produces articles monthly on how fashion relates directly to the climate crisis and how it can be curbed.  A member of UKSCN and an active protester, Cyrus has taken part in some of the UK’s biggest protests. Cyrus has hopes and ambitions to become a filmmaker, and is currently studying film production.

Cyrus, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Cyrus, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Martha from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Martha from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.

Martha, 17

“I’m really into sustainable fashion, as I said above, but I’m more focused on getting larger corporations to change rather than changing the habits of the average consumer. A lot of people can’t afford sustainably made clothing right now, as it’s often made by independent designers and a small team and is more expensive than people are used to paying for clothes. I don’t really care that people buy things from Primark, I care that Primark as a company exists. At the moment, the fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of global gas emissions and this is expected to rise by 50 per cent by 2030, making this a really pressing issue.”

Martha is a member of UKSCN (UK Student Climate Network) who uses social media, physical protests and online protests to help lobby for change in the UK’s approach to climate change. A proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Martha is currently studying Economics, Politics and Art and Ancient History.

Joy , 19

“You guys need to get your shit together, this is not about how much money you have or your status; we will all be affected, maybe not at the same time or in the same way. Some are experiencing it now, some have been for a long time. It’s inevitable, but we can at least try now to slow down the effects.”

Born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in London, Joy is a member of Extinction Rebellion Art Blockers, Extinction Rebellion Hackney, and Autonomous Art Factory. Having experienced extreme changes in weather in Nigeria, Joy feels committed to ensuring what she experienced does not continue and become irreversible. Currently studying Art and Design, Joy hopes to study Spatial Design at Camberwell University.

Joy, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Joy, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Isla, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Isla, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.

Isla, 17

“I think an issue that’s often very overlooked by climate activists is indigenous peoples’ rights and how many of the so-called solutions that we offer don’t protect the very people that have been caring for this land since before western activists jumped in with their saviour complexes.”

A member of both UKSCN and TTF (Teach the Future), Isla runs the social media accounts for UKSCN and is an active presence in protests both from home and on the streets. Currently studying, Isla hopes to study medicine at University with a focus on trauma and paediatrics medicine.

Noga, 18

“I had first heard about the climate strike through a friend’s Instagram story. I immediately knew I had to go, overwhelmed by an inexplicable feeling of urgency and necessity. This felt like our generation’s moment to take the stage, when the world had been quiet about the climate emergency for so long. Becoming involved in climate change activism is a choice I made because as humans we have to feel empathy and compassion for one another. And that means standing up, and fighting tooth and nail to get justice for others.”

Israeli-born British speaker and activist, Noga is most known for her impassioned speech at the climate strike in London 2019 where she scaled a London bus to speak to the thousands of protesters. Noga is one of the key players as a Extincion Rebellions youth organisers. Currently at University, Noga continues to use her influence on social media to engage with people around the world with the climate crisis.

Noga, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Noga, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Sachin, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.
Sachin, from the series Climate Generation, 2020 © Harry Rose.

Sachin, 16

“Achieving climate justice is much more important than just tackling climate change, we have to fight against many injustices. Personally, I care a lot about racial justice, as it simply is not possible to address the issues around climate change without also talking about the impact racism, colonialism and imperialism have on the environment. We cannot achieve climate justice without achieving racial justice.”

Studying Maths, Physics and Economics, Sachin hopes to be able to put his education towards the efforts of stopping the climate crisis from getting out of control. An active member of UKSCN and Extinction Rebellion Youth.

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.