The climate crisis alarm bell has been ringing loudly and persistently for a few years now. This is in part due to a new generation of dedicated individuals and organisations instinctively utilising online dissemination tools as a way to quickly drum up widespread support.
But competitive social media timelines necessitate aggressive tactics, and the drive for clicks often feels like a race to the bottom as climate-focused posts increasingly resort to pushing for emotional responses like shock or despair in a bid to spur action. Gen Z’s association with the movement has even (somewhat unfairly) earned them the nickname ‘doomers’.
The red and yellow graphic theme of the issue uses data showing the slow but clear increase in ozone levels above Antarctica.
And yet, the team behind It’s Freezing In LA! – the magazine itself a nod to the pamphlets that organised the activists of yore – are predominantly young millennials and older gen Zs. Editor Martha Dillon is well aware that a multifaceted crisis demands nuance, and within that there is occasionally the space for optimism.
As issue five was largely created during the coronavirus lockdown, the team took the opportunity to imagine ‘changes which might fit into a ‘post-corona’ portfolio of green proposals.’ As the collective trauma of the pandemic threatens to overwhelm everything, IFLA! actually offers a little positivity.
A gentle piece by Alexander Harris on Derek Jarman’s Dungeness garden is almost a reverie about the future – ‘nothing should have flourished here, in this desert, in this country, under this reactionary government – and yet it did, and does.’ Accompanied by Anna Skeel’s colour pencil illustrations of Jarman’s bright garden whipped up by an offshore wind (above), it serves as a reminder that life – both human creativity and literal vegetation – can thrive in the bleakest of landscapes.
‘Paradise will be a kind of library’ is a wonderful piece by Adrienne Katz Kennedy, focusing on the ‘seed saving practises of Indiginous cultures around the globe’. In times of forced relocation, a travelling library of seeds allowed communities to rebuild their agricultural structures. This practise has been mimicked in the US and UK, in the hope that it may protect populations in the (perhaps not-so distant) future.
But for all its messages of hope, IFLA! remains stringently factual and realistic about the climate crisis – creating space to address misleading news and draw attention to the current ‘rollback of environmental legislation slip[ping] under the radar’ while the world’s attention is diverted. An article about the future of meat titled ‘The Revolution will be Fermented’ (by Aron Penczu, above) is a great example of this – ‘transformation is possible, but it demands pragmatic, decisive action.’
IFLA! remains one of the best mags on the scene, one that is especially commendable for its efforts to include voices from indiginous communities, who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and yet so often omitted from the discourse. Unlike so much coverage of the climate crisis, the magazine is not the bleak read you might think to avoid during this pandemic – I finished it feeling uplifted and informed.
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