“The way in which I saw sustainability, climate change and environmental work framed was always in a Eurocentric way and as a middle class issue. This led to how I, and how many young people had felt about climate change, with the attitude of “I don’t care”.
The issues I was facing growing up directly were more important and more relevant to me, such as racism and Islamophobia, these were more immediate concerns to me. The way we talk about the environment, climate change and climate justice, fails to recognise how interlinked all these issues are. When we talk about solving them, they are rooted in economical and societal issues.
When Black Lives Matter demonstrated at London City Airport in 2016, it was the first time I made the direct link between racism and discrimination and how it links to the climate issue. The action began in protest to an extension to LCY, which is in Newham, one of London’s poorest boroughs. The average person using LCY was earning approximately 90-100k and so the airport was not there for the benefit of the people who lived in the local area but was also negatively affecting their lives through air and noise pollution. This is just one of many examples.
There is a point right now of hope, and young people are mobilising unapologetically and are unafraid to directly challenge where power lies. The assumption of what a climate activist looks like has now changed, and young people have more power to organise than ever and are also more aware about how intersectional the work that needs to happen is. This is what needs to be reflected in the storytelling of the soaps that we watch. For me, the one hour in a day where I switch off and watch Eastenders, I live in that world and experience the issues the characters experience, and those issues become normalised for me because I’m so invested in those characters. Writers hold an incredible power because they can literally write a narrative and story that will subconsciously influence and start discussions. That’s how you influence change, and mobilise a generation of people.”