It used to be hip to be square, hip to drink flat whites, hip to ride a one-speed bicycle, hip to ‘like them before they were cool’ and hip to not be hip. We now have the eco influencer. It has its plus points, the cause and effect of an eco influencer can be a lot more positive than an one-speed cyclist; eco influencers may make the actual planet better whereas with one-speed cyclists the worst part was seeing a hipster struggling up hills…which is actually quite fun to watch.
We now have people getting together and beginning social media live streams spreading awareness of a greener planet. I certainly hate the use of the phrase virtue-signaling and its use in the right wing media. However, it seems to be very apparent in the world of the eco influencer – a lack of research and education on a matter but more than happy to get a selfie in while spreading the message.
Alice Aedy, a documentary and filmmaker, campaigner and person with a prolific online following. She has a pedestal. She’s done a lot of good. A hell of a lot of good and continues to do so. She has so much weight behind her that she will influence the influencers, so the message has to be 100% on the nose.
On Earth Day (22/4) while broadcasting from a private woodland in Buckinghamshire, her and her associates wore ‘Choose Earth’ t-shirts and hosted an event to help Brazil’s indigenous leaders. While helping the rest of the world she forgot the at threat eco system that was the ground beneath her here in the UK. They were filmed walking over English bluebells and leaving them completely flattened. English bluebells can take 5-7 years from seed to flower, they are a protected species, die if the leaves are crushed, are illegal to pick or destroy and are among the rarest flowers in the world. They are only this prominent here in the UK. Aedy simply claimed “she had no clue” but surely that’s her job – to have a clue? Also, don’t most people avoid walking directly over flowers? Ignorance and arrogance all rolled into one. If you’re choosing earth, how about starting with the literal ground beneath you?
As a person that has been cynical about the world of influencers as I reach my late thirties, I do now realise that it can be a good thing. If you choose the field of eco and use that pedestal to try and make the planet a better place, then right on. But as well as the online message, and the broadcast to other continents, you have to start with where you are because that is the place you can actively make better every minute of every day. Bit of a faux pas from Alice Aedy, which she has sincerely apoligised for.