Should we feel inspired or humbled that it is schoolchildren who have pushed the climate crisis to the top of the international agenda? Both. It is well over a decade since the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth set out the uncomfortable facts about environmental changes – and there have been many other warnings, both before and since. Yet we have proved unwilling to inconvenience ourselves. Faced with this lack of impetus and will, young people are demanding action, and demanding it now.
Their sense of urgency, couched with energy, inclusivity and humour, is infectious. Extinction Rebellion is one of the loudest voices urging us to rebel for life – to take action, right now. And the creative community is responding, not just in terms of setting its own house in order but also by spreading a clear, unambiguous message to the world. In our feature on The Colours of Resistance, we look at the roles of colour and design in galvanising protest and lending it a clear sense of identity and purpose.
The playful creativity at the heart of this explosion of youthful protest is fast-moving and responsive, equally attuned to the new age of direct action and to the era of social media. And it is largely self-generated. While the arts are being squeezed out of the school curriculum, today’s young people have grown up with tools that enable them to create and to communicate, and we should encourage and facilitate this. Throughout this issue you’ll find heartening examples of organisations doing just that.