Documentarian and activist talks climate anxiety and homophobia


Greenpeace activist Angelo Louw says his anxiety about the climate crisis is similar to growing up gay.

In a new video series by Greenpeace Africa, award-winning documentarian and activist Angelo Louw describes his anxiety about the climate crisis as being similar to that of growing up gay in a conservative neighbourhood.

Louw is the organisation’s Digital Mobilisation Officer and Pan-African Plastic Project Lead. He recounted his journey into activism as part of its #YourPower campaign which highlights acts of courage by several activists affiliated to the environmental justice movement.

“Growing up in one of Johannesburg’s dusty townships as a gay man was incredibly stressful. There was always the threat of violence,” Louw said. “I’d been attacked a number of times at school.”

“I also developed a deep fear of homelessness, having witnessed so many of my friends being kicked out of their homes on account of their sexual orientation. I spent most of my adult life trying to create my own safe space; and protect the dignity of society’s most vulnerable groups.”

Louw said now that we are in the thick of the climate crisis, the feeling of insecurity he once felt in his youth is creeping up on him once again.

“It took such a long time to build myself up and the thought that it can be easily swept away scares me,” Louw said. “But, fear and hope has driven people like me to act, and that is why I cannot allow the climate crisis to rob me and my community of the beautiful future we fought tirelessly for.”

“We overcome adversity on a daily basis. We cannot afford to give up on ourselves now.”

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