The Instagram account tackling Earth’s emergency
Social justice slides are dominating Instagram right now, but Adapt – the platform’s original “Climate Club” – is galvanising its online community with impactful, IRL activism, too.
It’s hard not to get consumed when scrolling through recent headlines on the climate crisis. There have been wildfires in the arctic circle since early spring, the highest level of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere in three million years and – just to hammer the point – a clock put up in New York to remind us that we’ve only got seven years to fix this.
Adapt is the climate club and creative organisation set up to reinterpret the way in which environmental issues are communicated and tackled. Started by graphic designers (and romantic partners) Josie Tucker and Ricard Ashton in 2017, the pair use humour and maximalist design to share knowledge, encourage action and build a community of motivated, likeminded activists.
From technicolour graphics and snappy pun titles like “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Emissions” detailing how the world’s richest one per cent create over double the emissions of the poorest 50 per cent, to detailed slides on the chlorinated chicken industry, each super-sharable post comes with a call to action. Their social platform is flooded with letter templates to lobby your MP with, links to submit questions to the mayor of London and dates of important protests.
“The W.H.O. has estimated that every person that uses social media from age 10 now will spend an average of six years and eight months on social media,” Tucker says on the account. “With statistics like this, it feels like social media is no longer just an addition to our lives, it is our lives.”
In the wake of Black Lives Matter, the coronavirus pandemic and a contentious US 2020 election, the ways in which we use social media have mutated heavily – just like our lives. Since June, many more accounts have started churning out visually engaging infographics breaking down important issues that the masses need to be informed about. In fact, newcomers like @soyouwanttotalkabout have already accumulated two million followers in nine months thanks to this winning formula.
“The risk we see happening is that people only favour actions that can be easily linked to from a post – online actions,” explains Tucker via the account’s social justice slideshows. “IRL activism has a much bigger impact, and it’s so important to remember to have a balance of both.”
It’s a belief that the two have acted upon since the platform’s inception. Alongside their digital advocacy network, Adapt have hosted climate change speed dating nights, curated an exhibition at Peckham’s Copeland Yard featuring 50 different artists making new work around the climate crisis, taken over the London underground with fake copies of Metro promoting a Green New Deal and – most recently – launched a new initiative which explores the concept of protest garments worn in and out of the activism ring.
The online exhibition, titled Protest Gear, invited six artists to create scarves stitched with impactful slogans, to be worn both on the streets and at the pub in place of a placard. (You’ll see us at The Pride, pint in hand, proudly wearing the “Plant or Die” when lockdown 2.0 is over.)
“We are both football fans and love the appearance and unity of a football crowd – you can tell instantly just from looking at a fan, or crowd of fans, who they support,” Tucker says. “We wanted to try and explore this but apply the idea to protest crowds. We thought the best and most iconic symbol was the scarf.”
Priced at £52 a pop, proceeds go to ClientEarth – a climate NGO working to protect life on our planet. Of course, they’re totally sustainable. Adapt have partnered with ethical company Eco-knitware, whose pioneering new digital knitting machine ensures no bad stuff gets put into the atmosphere. Phew.
Check them out below and then give @adapt_____ a follow if you know what’s good for you (and the planet).