The increasing awareness of climate change is spurring many segments in society to do their bit in the fight against global warming.
But for many of today’s youth, the fight against climate change begins with social media.
Student Tara Bellerose shares what she believes are urgent messages about climate change and points users to the global climate strike on TikTok, reported ABC News. TikTok, a short form video curation app, has taken the world by storm.
The young farmer has experienced increasingly unpredictable weather first-hand. This year was supposed to be dry but instead, it’s been wet and flooded her crops. She uses information from websites such as National Geographic for her videos.
“When I make videos with pretty pictures and cute animals and a dramatic message…[users] become interested in what I am saying,” she said.
Meanwhile, teenager Hana Martin also produces TikTok videos on climate change. In one video, Martin painted her face and neck depicting an ocean teeming with marine life, but halfway through the video, her makeup reflects a sea of toxic waste, reported the BBC.
The 16-year-old said she saw videos on TikTok representing the effects of global warming in the distant future and wanted to show the damage being done to the world.
“I wanted to show a drastic change,” she told the BBC. She hopes her videos “shocks people”, but also educates and inspires.
According to reports, many of today’s youth are suffering from eco-anxiety. One Psychology Today article described eco-anxiety as “a fairly recent psychological disorder afflicting an increasing number of individuals who worry about the environmental crisis”.
TikTok – a platform to drive positive social change?
TikTok videos with the hashtag #forclimate have garnered 153 million views, while #globalwarming have garnered 72 million views at the time of writing.
Marketing Charts reported that TikTok’s total unique visitors in the US was 2.6 million in October 2017. In March 2017, it grew to 3.9 million before reaching 6.8 million in June 2018.
By September 2018, the number spiked to 7.5 million, and subsequently, 14.3 million by March 2019.
Its wide reach suggests the platform could be useful in the dissemination of climate change messages across the youth.
It’s clear that today’s youth represent a generation who are not afraid of using their voice, and social media has helped them reach a wider audience.