Editor’s Letter: A Tribute To the Emmas and Gretas
This hyperobject that is global warming is something we live through but cannot grasp. At least not most of us. I think about it all the time–that I don’t act the way I know I have to. It pains me.
I also think about it in relation to my Make it last co-founder, my beloved Emma. Our approaches to the questions we face daily at work–sustainability, climate change–are essentially different.
Emma relates to the planet, and to existence–things larger than our own lives–more hands-on than I will ever do.
Thus, Emma worries acutely about the climate and the world her son and the generations beyond him will live in. It affects the way she reasons about having children.
It’s beyond some weekly magazine’s definition of ”climate depression” (that more readily applies to us really only feeling bad about not feeling bad about the planet about to collapse).
It struck med the other day, Emma has no ordinary fear of dying, probably because she sees herself as just a part of a bigger picture. My fear of death, to compare (and this makes me laugh) is ever present and I eat happy pills on the daily to conquer the idea of life constantly progressing towards an end (yes, I do unfortunately see an end).
Sure, Emma can be self-aware or anxious like the rest of us when it comes to everyday things, but touching on questions of life, death, earth, water, air, she thinks in ways that all seem to have in common the fact that she doesn’t see herself like the focal point.
She’s not the centre of her life.
If you ask me, that’s is pretty uncommon. And although I’m not diagnosing Emma with anything but this ability, of which I am deeply in awe, it makes me think of Greta Thunberg.
Greta credits her Asperger diagnosis with why, when she became aware of climate change as a young child, she couldn’t move on the way most of us can. For her, it was, and is still, black and white. I’m sure her diagnose is a double-edged sword, but in this specific case, it means something for the world and I wish I had a hint of something similar. Like Emma does.
Monday was Earth Day in the calendar.
But every day is Earth Day.
Climate change is on top of the agenda.
But we’ve known about climate change for decades.
If we don’t reduce CO2 emissions by at least 50% by 2030, it means the end of the world as we know it (said Greta Thunberg at the European Parliament a week ago, please read the full notes here).
But the eco-woke have tried to set deadlines to force change, since, say, 1988.
You know how I feel about these buts at this very moment?
That they’re small.
Small in comparison to the magnitude, the attitude, the feeling of momentum. Yes, it’s a feeling. But a common one in some parts of the world right now.
It’s like a movement waiting to happen, like Greta Thunberg puts it (in i-D). The 16-year-old is not the first to address the climate- and ecological crises, obviously. But she is unapologetic, so blunt you have to listen.
Not only because what she says is true in the purest sense.
But also because it’s a reminder of how we’re not raised to speak about climate.
In fact, it’s not how we’re raised to speak about anything, at least not as women.
This is not a joke. It can’t be ridiculed, undermined.
The Global Strike for the Future that Greta Thunberg inspired on 15 April 2019 was one of the most comprehensive manifestations in history. But… no buts.
Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes has suggested that the movement Greta may have created a social tipping point; a moment when social development takes a big and unexpected leap, gets in touch with politics and brings about lasting change. Sverker Jagers, a Swedish political scientist, has said the effect of a social movement like this is often indirect, but can create a critical mass that is able to pressure on decision makers in politics and business.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick on stating the game is already lost. It’s so easy, and regardless, where will surrendering take us?
And let’s not forget, there might be a collective end-date if governments and corporations won’t follow IPCC guidance. But it’s affected by the smaller parts; the climate wars fought in the different corners.
In fashion, we’re on it too. It’s a slow process and has a lot to do with changing ideas of what’s relevant, one picture at a time. i-D Magazine putting Greta Thunberg on their cover will not change the world. But doing so suggests she’s a role model. It gives her the opportunity of conveying a story about another type of society. So, it instills hope and is fare more constructive than, say, shaming. At least if you ask me. And people like Per Espen Stoknes.
It means something.
It all means something.
Images: Greta Thunberg on the cover of i-D Magazine photographed by Harley Weir. Leaves by Louise Enhörning.
I’m obsessed with Lexie Smith. She works across mediums as a baker, writer and artist and has always been drawn to the slightly askew. “For now my primary forms are bread and language”, she writes on her website All Semantics, a project that allows her to focus “more on words than on actually making three-dimensional, consumable objects” (although I think her bread thing is partly about not creating waste). I first set my eyes on her when she was modeling for Maryam Nassir Zadeh and it seems, it never ends with this lady. I read she’s done an illustrated food journal (that is yet to be published) and that she launched a wholesale bakery a couple of years ago. She is “slowly designing some work wear” with her sister (as of 2016) and last year, she did a two-month literary performance project executed in a defunct Hudson News at LaGuardia Airport.
Lexie Smith has a collaborative publishing platform, Bread on Earth, built “to support the diverse dialogues that stem from our relationship to grain”, and has plans on doing a Bread Web like a Wikipedia of bread types (you can submit your bread and help build the bread web here).
She doesn’t want to work in a kitchen anymore, but doesn’t see herself as a food artist and doesn’t believe “food is art“. Rather, she likes food because it’s the opposite; “It’s utilitarian, it’s critical, it’s fuel, and then it disappears”; and treats bread as a medium; something with metaphorical power. Bread making as a “window into civilization” (quote), how about that.
Reading interviews with Lexie Smith is a joy, her language rich. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean. “Bread is malleable and full of surprises.” Amen.
Follow Lexie Smith here.
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