Cop26: Activist Louis VI on how we can bridge the gap on climate conversations between generations

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As a musician and rapper, Louis Butler dons the title of Louis VI. But when Hurricane Maria struck Dominica in 2017, obliterating the island his dad’s family are from, Butler had a renewed sense of urgency to engage in climate activism alongside his art. “The Global South, the places that people of colour are from are already feeling the effects of climate change – it’s not something that will happen in the future,” he says. As part of the Dominican diaspora in the UK, Butler feels he must speak up for the island nations. “Degradation and exploitation of the environment isn’t something that’s new news - it goes all the way back to colonialism and slavery.” So when Tanya Noushka Ramsurrun, a friend and member of the People of Colour Creatives was creating a short film about people of colour and climate change, Butler immediately got on board as a script writer, music composer and presenter. Though the 5-day turnaround was “a mad one”, the film titled ‘The World is Yours’ sparked conversations about green policies amongst BAME youth in the run up to the 2019 general election. It’s a double-edged sword because everyone should be making greener decisions, but the onus is not entirely on individuals. It’s also our responsibility to hold those who are responsible, accountable. While Butler is hopeful in the lead up to COP-26, where he’ll be delivering a keynote speech, he doesn’t think think leaders understand the urgency with which they must act. “It’s a step in the right direction and definitely good work. But we could be doing so much more,” he says. “The science says changes have to be made by 2030, not 2050 – and science isn’t negotiable.” This delayed reaction is exacerbated by intergenerational disconnect, which Butler says “has never been more apparent.” Lowering the voting age can help bridge this gap he feels exists between the older generations’ leaders, companies and CEOs and younger generations who want the ability to influence meaningful decisions. “The younger generation are people whose future we’re fighting for – we see through the lies and empty promises.” But he’s optimistic about the results we could reap if systemic change was implemented to protect the environment – particularly through the international exchange of innovative green technologies. “There’s an opportunity to create a really exciting future world where we get to have rich experiences with nature,” he says, adding that people could have “coolest and wickedest time” to really hammer home the potential glory of living on a healthier planet. Subscribe to the Evening Standard on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7RQon_YwCnp_LbPtEwW65w?sub_confirmation=1

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