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Watch: Gen Zero and Cop26: Force of Nature founder Clover Hogan on why everyone should find a purpose
As we edge closer to the COP-26 climate conference next week, the environmental crisis can seem like a daunting beast to tackle head-on.
Our Gen Zero climate activists break down their efforts to address different aspects of this pressing global issue: campaigning for cleaner air, involving BAME people in the climate conversation and fighting eco-anxiety, the feeling of helplessness in the face of climate inaction.
We marvelled at Greta Thunberg’s dedication to climate justice - now Gen Zero are showing us that young people across the UK have taken up the mantle, with some balancing their A-levels alongside their visions for a greener future.
USP: Convinced her family to move to Indonesia to go to the Green School
Growing up in Queensland, Australia meant that Clover Hogan was no stranger to fishing frogs out of the toilet and rescuing beached sea turtles. But after watching the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, tracking Al Gore’s climate campaign, she remembers being overcome with grief, anger and frustration.
“I was trying to wrap my head around how I’d inherited these huge challenges but also how the adults in my life were so good at pretending they didn’t exist,” she says.
At the age of 11 Hogan marched down to the dinner table, stated she was going to be an environmentalist and within a couple of years had convinced her parents to move to Indonesia, so she could attend the bamboo-walled Green School in the middle of the jungle. Her parents ran a wedding business in Australia and relocated it to Indonesia.
“Climate is a one hour geography lesson that is taught in schools but this is the greatest existential threat that has ever faced humanity,” she says.
Her time at the Green School acted as a springboard into the world environmental activism, inspiring her to create a global youth led non-profit organisation called Force of Nature at the age of 19.
Their work focuses on tackling eco-anxiety, which she says is “how powerless we can feel in the face of climate change”. But such anxiety cannot be taken as a weakness, but rather “proof that we are awake to the issues.”
Instead of spreading ourselves thin over across what can seem like an overwhelming problem, Hogan says: “choose the piece of the puzzle that ignites a fire in your belly – whether that’s fast fashion, food waste, or prison reform.”
Force of Nature work with businesses to provide them with guidance on how to shift mindsets so that they “step up to the challenge of climate change rather than shut down”.
As well as a call to action, Hogan believes the climate crisis is also an invitation to facilitate widespread change.
“We need to fundamentally rethink the world that we’ve inherited. And we need to make sure that those who have been historically excluded and disproportionately impacted have that seat at the table.”
Such entrenched inequalities are why Hogan feels “a smoothie of emotions” about COP-26.
“I’m excited to connect with people from around the world who are dedicating their lives to this cause but am terrified of the decisions which will be made behind closed doors that will ultimately govern our future.”
Watch: Gen Zero: Izzy Warren on climate change and COP26