Welcome and thank you for the time! We'd love you to introduce yourself:
My name is Tolmeia Gregory; I’m a 20-year-old climate justice activist and digital artist, formerly known as ‘Tolly Dolly Posh’. My activism journey started in 2015 after I watched the documentary, The True Cost, which opened my eyes to the devastating negative impacts of the fashion industry.
Originally an aspiring fashion designer, I have taken my ambition and drive to focus on environmental and social justice issues in the age of the Climate Emergency. I use my online platform as a way to educate others in an engaging and relatable manner, using digital art as a powerful tool to spread messages.
My online journey began in 2012 at the age of just eleven when my knowledge of climate-related issues had yet to grow.
Firstly - we've read about the term "eco-shame" and so what do you think it means for you and how can we reduce it?
I suppose it's the idea of not doing enough on an individual level to combat the climate crisis or things like plastic pollution. It's one of those things which I think I probably try my best to avoid worrying too much about because otherwise, it would be a constant daily struggle. I try to remind myself of what my own personal priorities are (for example, engaging in activism or eating plant-based) rather than focusing on absolutely everything because I'm one person and life is hard enough as it is! Of all the places to place eco-shame, don't let it be yourself; let it be the fossil-fuel companies and the incompetent governments.
Can you possibly explain how you connect art to activism.
Art and activism go hand in hand for me because I've come to realise that activism isn't one set thing and we can use what we love already to create change. I love using art to express emotions that are difficult to articulate with just words and I know my art is often appreciated for that reason. I also create GIF stickers that enable people to engage in the conversation really accessibly and in a fun way, too. There are many ways of looking at it, as a tool or for emotional expression!
What do you wish more people knew that just isn't spoken about nearly enough?
I wish we spoke more about eco-emotions and the heaviness of carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. I know from sharing brief moments of vulnerability with my audience, that it can be helpful for others to know they're not alone in feeling things so deeply. It's so important.
What are you most proud of?
Currently, it's launching my podcast, idealistically, as it's something way out of my comfort zone! But I've put a lot of work into it and it's nice to have a proper passion project out in the world, no matter how many people end up listening to it.
How do you deal with eco-anxiety, the isolation of being an activist and life in general?
It really depends on the day. Sometimes I'll read a bit of science or a news headline and I just have to sit and have a cry. It's not even necessarily being upset but just this sense of overwhelming anger which in the moment, can only come out that way. It's been a massive help to join a climate activism group and realise I'm not alone in it and to feel like I'm at least trying. Somedays I feel hopeless though and like I'm not really doing anything in the grand scheme of things and some days I feel like I can see a more beautiful world emerging. And then there's life on top of it which can be just as confusing and frustrating - so, take this as a reminder that activists are humans that don't just focus on climate and social justice issues. We're also dealing with families and relationships and trauma and all the ups and downs of life in between.
Lastly, what do you think about certifications like B Corp?
I think certifications can be good but I also think it shouldn't stop people from doing more digging and making their own assessment about what a brand stands for. I think it's also important to remember that often smaller brands don't actually have the means to get certified for these sorts of things but that doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't be able to.
We hope you loved getting to know a bit more about one of the most incredible environmental activists around. If you'd like to get to know Tolly a bit more then head to her website. We'd love to know any others you'd like to learn more about so please drop us a DM or email us!