Eco-Anxiety and Gen Z: An exploration through photography

„How dare you?!“ 18 year old activist Greta Thunberg cried out in anger. 

Anger is one of many emotions young people are feeling today with regards to rising temperatures and changing climates – these emotions don‘t come from nowhere. 

In March 2021, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the German climate protection law is incompatible with its young citizens’ right to a future. 

So how does our Generation Z feel about their future regarding the impacts of global warming? The term „Eco-anxiety“ is being used more and more to describe young people’s feelings in relation to climate: of both feeling overwhelmed and terrified about their future. 

Of course it might not be the majority: Some young people seem to mostly ignore the facts, some feel guilty towards those who are much less privileged than them in, other parts of the world, many feel something in-between. 

It’s a complex issue, yet there is a sense that Gen Z might be the last generation that can really do something about the climate crisis. So how does this generation cope with that huge weight? 

This I will be exploring in my new project: transporting these feelings throughout experimental, but modern photography, individually, but abstract enough so that the viewer feels understood and/or builds up solidarity with today’s youth. Models will be protagonists of Generation Z. I want to portrait “our” youth, living in western Europe. There will be portraits, but it won‘t be fixed on genres. Instead, everything will be about those certain feelings – whichever kind of photo, or video, serves that emotion. A constant role of the crisis and a hint of hope in every piece will put it all together. In the end, there will be a multimedia exhibition displaying that cosmos of feelings. 

During the conception phase, I am looking for inputs, ideas regarding the topic. What shouldn‘t be dismissed? Do you know any art dealing with that topic? And if you are in the age of Gen Z, how do you feel about your future regarding these circumstances? 

Contact Freddy on pictures@frederick-herrmann.com