TikTok videos spread climate change awareness

By Kris Bramwell
BBC News

  • Published
Anna BogomolovaImage source, Anna Bogomolova
Image caption,
Anna Bogomolova, 21, says her generation is seeing the effect global warming is having on the Earth through melting glaciers and hotter summers

Users of the social video app TikTok have been spreading a message of climate change awareness through make-up and time-lapse videos.

Their chosen hashtag of #Globalwarning - a play on the term "global warming" - has been viewed more than 24 million times on the app so far.

Short-form videos created by popular TikTokers show the possible effects of global warming on the human body and the Earth.

Many of the featured videos show healthy flowers dying and the effects of people overheating and choking on plastic.

"It's a very current issue," says 21-year-old Anna Bogomolova, from Russia, who created one of these videos before the hashtag became official.

"People need to be aware of the problem for things to change. We've got to take action. Our lives depend on it."

Mixed reaction

Anna's video, one of several on TikTok, has been liked more than 2.3 million times. However, reaction to her vision of the future has been mixed.

"Some people were saying they weren't going to be alive in 100 years so we shouldn't worry. Others have been scared by the horrors in the video and the future it depicts," she says.

One user called Tigerlover7749 writes "we're going to regret not listening", while PS1 Hagrid says the video made them worry about their grandchildren's futures.

Image source, Anna Bogomolova
Image caption,
On the TikTok platform, some people have questioned why her video jumps more than 900 years into the future

At one stage in her video, Anna leaps to the year 3000 and coughs up some plastic while choking.

She says she does this to show "the long-term impact of global warming" and the "bigger consequences" that could occur in the future.

"Other generations started this problem but we can't say we won't be alive to see the consequences. We have to do something and change things, otherwise the planet will just die," she adds.

Anna, currently studying fine art in London, believes there are things individuals can do to help slow down global warming and minimise pollution, such as using public transport and shopping responsibly.

"Small changes can go a long way and it's up to us to keep the planet alive," she says.

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Image source, Hannah Grace
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Hannah Grace's landscape focuses on the impact pollution can have where we live

Hannah Grace says she created a landscape design for her video as an "original twist".

The 31-year-old, from Andover in Hampshire, uses the top half of her body to show a green and pleasant landscape by the sea.

This is then transformed by the emergence of a power station, a number of tower blocks, roads and litter. The trees have lost their leaves or have been cut down and the grass has died.

Hannah says she "pulled an all nighter" and worked for 10 hours to complete the body art. She was motivated to become involved in #globalwarning because of the increased attention given to the amount of plastic being used across the world.

"At the moment we're seeing a lot on television about plastics in the sea, and there's a huge emphasis on reducing plastic in everything we do," she says.

Image source, Hana Martin
Image caption,
Hana Martin decided to represent the effects of pollution in our oceans through makeup

Plastic played a huge part in Hana Martin's design too.

The 16-year-old, from South Wales, says she saw videos on TikTok representing the effects of global warming in the distant future and wanted to show the damage being done to the world.

She created a make-up design depicting an ocean full of life, before this is replaced by a sea of rubbish, plastic and toxic waste. There is even a dolphin caught up in a net and a turtle trapped in plastic.

"I wanted to show a drastic change," she says.

Hana has been creating make-up designs in her spare time for the last month, and hopes her video "shocks people" but also educates and inspires.

In response to it, one user called Dede comments "this just teaches us [that] it's not always about us, we need to think of the animals. Don't litter, take shorter showers - we need to save our beautiful world".

Many others have responded by saying that people need to help to save the Earth.

Media caption,

The Swedish teen behind the climate strikes

Hana believes young people are becoming more aware of social issues because of people like Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, and in response are becoming activists themselves.

"Younger people will listen to other younger people," she says.

"My friend told me off the other day for using a plastic bottle. That's what impacts you the most when people you know are doing things to help the environment that you are not.

"That's more effective than adults or politicians talking about it."