By Anna Hill
A continuation of my series of interviews with various UK Teen activists to showcase the diverse and innovative landscape of UK feminism and to inspire other teens and teen girls particularly to get involved in any way they can! To read the other interview in this series go here.
The next person is Elizabeth Farrell, more commonly known as glacier996girl and whose project Remember the Glaciers was started during her gap year – as her instagram says she is “ raising awareness about climate change, adapting the aesthetic of ‘eco-friendly’ to appeal to the iGeneration”. She is also now writing a column for polyester zine, which you can read here and here for a more in depth look at her work.
1.What started of your work as a visual activist?
My A-level art project (years 12 &13). My favourite subject was geography and for art I thought it was important to pick something you enjoy and something you can be passionate about. My project was about the correlation between mass consumption, capitalist society and globalization and the environment. I used myself as the subject representing a generation constantly manipulated by advertisement. Remember the Glaciers was a continuation from this.
- Before you started your great project Remember the Glaciers, did you have any experience doing activist work?
No, it never even occurred to me until 3 years ago. Now its my life!
- How does the internet and tumblr/social media affect the work you make?
It just means I can spread the message to a wider audience of creatives. It’s also important for me that they are visual forms of social media too.
- Why do you use the colour blue so much?
From the start I was trying to steer away from the stigma of environmental activism therefore not using ‘eco-green’. My project being ‘Remember The Glaciers’ made sense to use blue to represent the ice. Glaciers are so powerful and beautiful yet at the same time in their ice form so vulnerable and helpless.
- What role does rage and anger play in your work?
My anger can definitely be used as ammunition and a lot of the time is a catalyst for me to work. I remember when I found out about Shell’s plans to drill in the arctic I was crazy angry and didn’t understand why and how this was even being considered? It just made no sense. I thought it was some kind of sick paradoxical joke: the words arctic and oil drilling?!?!! But I took this anger, using it to spark a 2 man protest outside my local shell gas station in London.
- How do you keep doing the work you do when you feel like you are making no headway? What keeps you motivated?
Using your emotions to your advantage and using that to push yourself to feel like you are making progress. Remember the achievements you have made previously and know that you will come out of this mindset, and that a mindset is all it really is.
- What advice would you give to others who want to get involved with activism [both environmental and other forms]?
Pick a way to do it that you will really enjoy and a medium that you are passionate about. I think it’s really important to enjoy what you are doing and that people can see that through your work. Maybe try a different approach to the activism that’s already out there?
- Now that you are going to university, what are your plans for the future – will you be continuing Remember the Glaciers?
Yes of course! Hopefully just with more knowledge and ideas to share, eventually I want to be a glaciologist but I’ve got a long way to go yet, I guess ill just see how it all goes!