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Fighting Climate Grief Through Anarchism

Project details

Bachelor – Illustration
Honours Programme
Visual Culture

Robin is an image maker from Rotterdam, who most often works with different forms of printmaking and drawing but recently started venturing into the world of yarn and crochet. The project ‘Fighting Climate Grief Through Anarchism’ is a year long research project where Robin looks for ways to deal with climate grief and searches for her positioning in the world. The visual side of the project shows parts of her exploration, presenting eight illustrated posters and balaclavas. These represent four of her friends and four ways of coping with the overwhelming feelings of grief for our planet. 

When I came back to Rotterdam after studying abroad, I fell into a deep well of anger and sadness about the climate crisis and how no one in Rotterdam seemed to take action. Everyone around me seemed to be happily consuming without any second thought. After talking to a friend about these feelings I was experiencing, I found the term climate grief. That moment it became clear to me that I was going through the stages of grief, for the climate.

The grief was the only thing consuming my mind, so I decided to use it as the topic for my graduation project. I framed research question as follows: How can I live in a healthy way (physically and mentally) under capitalism (climate catastrophe)?

To answer this question I interviewed four friends who are very aware of the climate crisis, asking them how they deal with these feelings of despair.

After that my journey started, finding my own way to become active and most of all, mentally healthy again.

I illustrated my four friends and also four ways I have found, after living my research for a year and experimenting with different ways of living and taking action, that help me cope. To support these illustrations and pieces of the interviews/notes I wrote, I also crocheted a balaclava for each subject.

This came about from being at a protest and wanting to stay anonymous, but because of that, getting more attention from police. They thought I looked more threatening with a dark scarf over my face.

I decided to start making funny/colourful masks, to stay anonymous. And not seem so threatening.

The conclusion after all of this years process and research is that living an anarchist life is the only way to survive capitalism for me. Eating waste food from dumpsters and living squatted are some examples of what that looks like.

To me, anarchism means having freedom of choice. Freedom to choose your own way, rules and morals. Not adhering to what society taught you without thinking about if you actually agree with it. It means considering the consequences of your actions and completely standing by the choices you make. It also means mutual aid. People helping each other and combining their forces and knowledge to be less dependent on corporations and government.

I’ve been staying as far away from capitalism as I possibly can, and to my surprise, a lot more is possible than I thought..

See more of this, or contact me? Go to @r0b1n.jpeg on instagram