The chronicle of Eden
By Jess Thorpe
In August 2018 15-year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg stopped attending school on Fridays and sat outside the Swedish parliament building to call for stronger action on climate change. This was a beginning.
In May 2019 a group of 100+ young people from all over the world arrived at an ISTA festival held at the Eden Project in Cornwall to explore human being’s relationship to the natural world. This was a beginning.
What Greta Thunberg taught the world was that young people have a voice and can use it for change. Her message was clear – you are never too young or too small a group to make a difference. The power is in your hands and you have a responsibility to use it. This is your future.
It was Greta Thunberg’s words that we used to begin our creative work together in Eden in 2019. We played them like a provocation – a call to action.
I want you to act.
I want you to act as you would in a crisis.
I want you to act as if our house is on fire.
Because it is. – Greta Thunberg
We hoped that Greta’s words and Eden, with its biomes and ecosystems would provide an urgent context for these young people to engage in a dialogue around art as activism. We hoped that being in this moment together would connect them to their global community in a personal way. That the festival would be more than just an extra-curricular activity – a trip with school – and become something that would fuel them going forward. We hoped that the meaning that they found in this experience would move them to go back to their own communities and start a new set of conversations.
And this would be a beginning.