It’s a Friday in late summer 2018 and a 15-year-old girl with pigtails sits in front of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. She holds a sign: “Skolstreijk för Klimatet,” which translates to “school strike for the climate.”
By now, you probably already know who I’m talking about — the girl is Greta Thunberg. What started as a one-person protest quickly inspired her peers, and soon news outlets started reporting on her weekly protests. Only a few months later, millions of teenagers around the globe followed Thunberg’s lead, and “Fridays for future” was born.
The intense desire for climate action and news regarding the subject soon was discussed in the newsroom of Blick. We wanted to support the movement with a news platform solely focused on the environment and what we can do to battle climate change. We wanted to improve our handling of the planet.
What was that? You just read our brand name for the first time? What better word to describe our mission than “Improve!” The “Fridays for future” movement gained momentum through social media. Of course, that’s where we had to be as well.
Launching a movement
November 2018 came around, and we launched Improve on Facebook and Instagram. In December, we celebrated our first viral success: A video message from space, recorded by German astronaut Alexander Gerst, reached 11 million people on Facebook alone! In the video, he apologises to future generations for treating the planet the way his generation did.
Now it’s a bit over three years later and Improve is still thriving. We expanded to TikTok and now share daily posts and videos for a combined audience of over 120,000 followers.
Our posts are structured in seven different categories: veggie/vegan, inventions, animals, change, climate, celebrate, and community.
Looking at the categories
- Veggie/vegan is quite self-explanatory; it focuses on vegetarian or vegan diets and how the meat and dairy industry impacts our environment.
- The Animals category is for all things wildlife, such as animal rights and animal protection, it also shines a light on extinct or nearly extinct species.
- Inventions tells about innovations that could help our planet, like biodegradable water bottles made out of algae or the glorious The Ocean Cleanup project with its special, waste-collecting ships.
- Change is about changes in laws that will help combat climate change or pollution.
- Celebrate explains the good things that are happening in the battle for climate justice, for example, the recent decision of Iceland to end whaling forever.
- Last but not least, Community shares inspiring stories of our followers or people that do good in the world. Like a vet that saves animals from the war in Kyiv or, on a more light-hearted note, a gym in Switzerland in which you produce food whilst working on your fitness.
Although those of us here at Improve are no longer in school and we may not be able to proudly hold up a sign saying “Skolstreijk för Klimatet,” we can, however, support the movement — one post at a time. Improve för Klimatet!