Fog Everywhere: Youth Raise Awareness to City Pollution

Permaculture magazine
Tuesday, 24th October 2017

A new play featuring young people from London launches this month to raise awareness to the poor air quality of London and urban environments.

This week, (October 2017) the Mayor of London has annouced that older, more polluting vehicles driving into London will have to pay twice as much under the new T-charge.

Air pollution in London and across all cities, is an important topic, due to its high impact on people's health.

The Mayor of London told the BBC, "We've got a health crisis in London caused by the poor quality air.

"Roughly speaking each year more than 9,000 Londoners die prematurely because of the poor quality air - children in our city whose lungs are underdeveloped, with adults who suffer from conditions such as asthma, dementia and strokes directly caused by poor quality air."

In 2017, London breached its annual limit on air pollution in just five days. 

So the launch of a new play - Fog Everywhere - comes at a key time.

The exploration of London's dirty air and its consequences is a collaboration between Camden People's Theatre (CPT), King's College Lung Biology Group and students from Westminster Kingsway College.

Fog Everywhere will be presented as part of Shoot the Breeze, a fortnight of work addressing climate change and the environment. Over two weeks, some of Britain’s most exciting theatre artists imagine the future, anatomise “eco-anxiety” and set about saving our beleaguered world. The programme includes six new productions as well as an evolving programme of walks, talks, workshops on air quality and more.

Speaking to some of the young people involved, they shared their views.

"The air pollution in London is not good because it’s getting worse. It feels like a hopeless situation and like no one cares."

Why did you want to get involved with the ‘Fog Everywhere’ project?

"This project gets us thinking and expands our knowledge about an interesting topic.  It‘ll help us to raise awareness.  It has also given us an insight into what it is like to work as a professional actor - the focus and commitment that it takes."

How and where do you find your information about climate change and the environment?

"We’ve been collaborating with our director Brian Logan who discusses information with us and with Prof. Andrew Grieve at Kings College London who is a scientist with a lot of expertise and knowledge about pollution and the effect it has on your health.  Since beginning the project we’ve also noticed more pollution-related stories online and in the news."

What do you think the government should be doing about these problems and how should they be making more people aware?

"They should review the education system so that young people are better informed. There are too many important topics that are left out of mainstream education.  There should also be more discussion about the issue in the mainstream media - right now it’s treated like a minor issue but it’s a major issue.  The Government should also take immediate actions and not postpone their actions for a more convenient time. They are not showing enough interest in renewable energy sources and are too fixated on making money in the short term."

Director Brian Logan said, "Here at CPT, on the verge of Euston Road, one of London's most polluted thoroughfares, we see London's dirty air as a public health emergency, one that's seldom been addressed by theatre and the arts. While air pollution has recently been billowing up the news agenda, the voices of London's young people (who're more critically affected than anyone else) are too little heard when the issue is discussed. So we're delighted to be collaborating with a whipsmart team of teenagers from Westminster Kingsway on this theatrical response to the experience of growing up in a city that poisons you. We can promise you something vital and different, if not exactly a breath of fresh air."

Camden People’s Theatre is a central London space dedicated year-round to supporting early-career artists – particularly those making work about issues that matter to people right now. Its mission is to refresh and strengthen the performance sector with a new generation of artists who bring a fresh perspective to contemporary concerns, and create new artistic forms with which to address them; and to present their work to a new generation of audiences.

CPT regularly stages festivals of adventurous theatre exploring contemporary social, political and cultural issues. Recent examples include: Hotbed: a Festival of Sex (2017), Whose London is it Anyway? (on the housing crisis; 2016) and annual feminism festival Calm Down, Dear (2013-18).

Listings information

Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road, London NW1 2PY

31st Oct – 11 Nov, Tues – Sat, 7.15pm

£12 (£10 concs) | www.cptheatre.co.uk | 020 7419 4841

Useful links

Improving pollution with green spaces

Forest garden needed to reduce air pollution

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