Alice Aedy’s Guide To Earth Day

By Martha Davies

1 month ago

"It’s about holding ourselves accountable for the change we want to see"


In celebration of Earth Day, we caught up with Alice Aedy, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and environmental campaigner. Alice is the CEO of Earthrise, an impact-driven media company founded to help share radically optimistic stories with the aim of encouraging climate action.

Alice Aedy On How To Get Started With Climate Activism

Hi Alice! How are you marking Earth Day this year? What does it mean to you?

This Earth Day is a busy one for us here at Earthrise! We’re not only launching our fourth iteration of Choose Earth – our collaboration with non-governmental organisation Choose Love – but we’re also one of the founding partners of Sounds Right, a new global music initiative launched in collaboration with The Museum for the United Nations – UN Live, which recognises the phenomenal power of nature.

With Sounds Right, nature is being celebrated on streaming platforms like Spotify as a verified music artist. Launching with musical collaboration between nature and A-list musicians including Brian Eno x David Bowie, Ellie Goulding, AURORA, London Grammar, Bomba Estéreo, Cosmo Sheldrake and more, every listen generates royalties that go back into vital conservation projects, protecting nature for generations to come.

Earthrise is all about harnessing the power of storytelling to shed light on social and environmental issues and inspire change. What do you feel are some of the most pressing challenges that Earth Day should spotlight this year?

This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Planet vs Plastics’, and it’s an important one. Global production of plastics has doubled over the past 20 years, with less than 10% of plastic ever made currently recycled. The urgent need to reduce plastics pollution is something that has deep implications for our environment – but also our health, economy and future. 

However, it’s important to remember that addressing climate change goes much deeper than reducing plastics – it’s about holding ourselves accountable for the change we want to see. This is the biggest year of elections: nearly 4 billion people around the world are eligible to vote, and we need to have climate high on the agenda. We need people to show up to the polls and vote not only for the climate, but a more just, more sustainable world for everyone.

Alice Aedy wearing a cap-sleeve denim jumpsuit and holding a camera.

Credit: Leah Weerasinghe

How can people get involved in Earth Day, and in climate activism in general?

There are so many ways to get involved this Earth Day.  My top three tips would be:

Support Indigenous communities 

Although Indigenous communities comprise just 5% of the world population, they protect a massive 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Their sophisticated knowledge of the natural world is intrinsic to protecting the future of our planet.

We can all do our bit to help support the work of Indigenous communities and amplify Indigenous voices. Braiding Sweetgrass is an amazing book by Indigenous scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer, which is absolutely worth reading. You can also support Earthrise’s campaign Choose Earth, which is driven by Indigenous leaders in Brazil (more on that below!).

Join a local community energy project

A few months ago,  Earthrise launched ‘POWER’, a four-part video series investigating how fossil fuels changed the world – and, more importantly, how we can move away from them.

In making it, we learnt about the amazing community groups that are investing in local renewable energy projects. Getting involved in one is one of the most significant things you can do to help combat climate change. If you’re in England, you can find out more about local projects near you at communityenergyengland.org.

Spread the word about climate solutions

In a media landscape dominated by climate doom, it’s important to remember that the climate crisis is also being matched by amazing climate solutions – and it’s important that we shout about them, too! A good starting point is Earthrise’s 12-part series, Spotlight, which we launched last year in partnership with Bloomberg. From alternatives to plastics to new ways of farming, there are so many incredible innovations that show that another world isn’t just possible, it’s already underway. 

Are there any projects you’re working on that really resonate right now?

This year will mark our fourth iteration of Choose Earth – Earthrise’s collaboration with the non-governmental organisation Choose Love and one of our proudest projects to date.  Through the campaign, we’ve already raised more than £350,000 to support vital environmental projects in Brazil, and this year, we’re so excited to be expanding the remit of Choose Earth to directly support more communities on the frontlines of climate change and under threat of displacement. 

While Earth Day encourages us to reflect on the challenges we’re facing, it’s also about celebrating our planet and the progress being made. How do you balance highlighting urgent environmental concerns with fostering optimism?

Thanks to social media, we can all witness the devastating effects of climate change in real time through our phones, no matter where we are.  Although it’s good to be switched on to what’s happening around the world, this onslaught of sensational news headlines can also lead to numbness, desensitization and hopelessness in the face of climate doom. 

At Earthrise, we see storytelling as an antidote to this. Where headlines and facts can lose meaning, stories can drive change. Studies show we are 22 times more likely to remember a story than a fact.  In a media landscape dominated by images of climate devastation, it’s important to remember that the climate crisis is also being matched by innovation, change and progress that show another world is possible – and it’s important to tell these stories, too.

Is there anything in particular that’s bringing you hope right now as you think about the future?

In this line of work, we have to take the wins where we can, and one positive is that awareness of climate has grown hugely. Go back just 30 years and climate change was a story that fell on mostly indifferent ears.

Cut to 2024 and Earthrise has built an incredible online community of 3.6 million who care about the planet. We’ve not only collaborated with some of the most respected environmental names like Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, but also started to work with musicians, artists, fashion brands, filmmakers and more. We know that having these culture makers on board is key to engaging new audiences and telling climate stories differently, in ways that have  maximum impact – and that’s really exciting for our future. 

Can you recommend some other climate activists that we should have on our radar?

I would recommend checking out: 

  • Disha Ravi (Climate Justice Activist), @disharavii
  • Mitzi Jonelle Tan (Anti-imperialist climate justice activist from the Philippines), @mitzijonelle
  • Helena Gualinga, (Ecuadorian human rights activist), @helenagualinga
  • Elizabeth Wathuti (Environmentalist and Climate Activist ), @lizwathuti

Further recommendations would be @willowonearth, @climateincolour , @toritsui_ and @sophfei.

To find out more about Earthrise, visit earthrise.studio.