Arty activists take part in green workshop

Zara Mienies from the Childrens Art Centre

Youth from across the city took part in a Youth Artivism Workshop, using art to
raise awareness about climate change.

In the run-up to the global climate strike action taking place next month, environmental organisation 350 Africa – which runs various campaigns to tackle climate change – and consulting agency HoneyBush Communications held the “artivism” workshop at Community House in Salt River on Saturday August 24.

It explored issues such as renewable energy versus coal, organic food versus genetically modified food, as well as plastic pollution and water justice.

Artists and activists explored how to artistically express their understanding of the dangers of climate change and other environmental concerns, how they impacted society and contributed towards real-life challenges.

Saba Zahara, creative director at HoneyBush Communications, said the workshop targeted youngsters from historically disadvantaged communities, who were often disengaged from issues such as climate change.

“Sadly, as a result of the daily challenges they face – such as poverty, drugs and gangsterism – our youngsters are not being included as part of the solution. In many ways, our communities are on the outskirts of the ‘Green Movement’ in this country. Through this event, however, we hope to bridge this gap because climate change is affecting all of us and poorer communities are the ones who will suffer most,” she said.

Tshepo Peele, from 350 Africa, said they were trying to start a climate movement and decided to look at different ways to get people from different backgrounds involved in the fight.

“In trying to build this movement, we have to reach out to everyone. We believe we are in a climate emergency, and it is no longer someone else’s problem but everyone’s problem.”

Ms Peele said they hoped to raise awareness about climate change and how it affected everyone’s daily lives and motivate the youth to be part of the planned global strike taking place from September 20 to September 27.

The event included an outdoor mural by Westridge street artist Rizah “Prefix 66,” Potgieter, as well as a pop-up film festival on water justice, hosted by the Athlone Cultural Hub.

Prefix 66 said his mural, which features a polar bear, represented the melting of the world’s
“icescapes” during global warming.

Volunteer Jacqueline Hendricks said it was important to get children more involved and to create environmental activists.

“Our Earth is in a dire state, and we are the generation responsible for this. What are we going to leave for the generations to come? We are trying to get the now generation to be active about the environment, recycling and water justice,” she said.

Ms Hendricks said the youth had the power to make the change, influence their communities and create awareness.