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What role does the influencer play in the climate crisis?

How to juggle eco-anxiety and content creator

What role does the influencer play in the climate crisis? How to juggle eco-anxiety and content creator

July was a difficult month for Sicily and all of Italy, marked by bad weather and fires. A few days ago, flames near Catania airport threatened its borders and runways, forcing it to close for a few days and making travel difficult. Then it was Palermo's turn. At the same time, Lombardy was hit by tornadoes and hailstorms. The 'eco-anxiety' (an easy-to-understand expression often criticised for reducing the problem to an individual dimension and ignoring the collective aspect of the climate crisis) is at an all-time high, and the deniers are ever more on the rise, threatening the possibilities of a much-needed political and systematic intervention.

Chiara Ferragni and the Sicilia Bedda controversy

In a complicated situation where worries, especially on social media, are finding their place, Chiara Ferragni was criticised for her unfortunate timing. While on holiday near the Sicilian capital, Italy's most famous influencer posted several photos with captions like "Sicilia Bedda" and "A good Monday" the day before the fires broke out in Catania. There is no need to go into the specific responsibilities of Chiara Ferragni or to detail the spectrum of reactions, which range from unwavering supporters to those who have turned hating influencers into a profession. However, this situation raises questions about the role of influencers in our troubled times and how public expectations of them have changed, both in Italy and globally.

What is the role of the influencer in the climate crisis?

@madeofmillions It's #EarthDay! Let's talk about #ecoanxiety, and what can help alleviate symptoms #mentalhealth #climatechange #ecotok #climateanxiety #learnontiktok Lo-fi hip hop - NAO-K

In the early days, influencers worked because they made us dream, because they entertained us, because we wanted to be like them and because we thought that maybe with a bit of luck and a lot of willpower we could become like them. They conveyed images of luxury, wealth, escapism and aspiration to an ambitious and curious audience. Then came their sales function, their gigantic and sneaky publicity stunt, which, however, remained indistinguishable from their persona and personality and actually found its reinforcement and validity. The effectiveness of the influencer depends on the sympathy that he or she gives to the audience.

Day by day, the consistent representation of real life (or a carefully constructed imitation of it) has become a prerequisite for any online personality who wants to retain their audience. This trend, and the fact that influencers have naturally adapted to it, has consequences. Well, a digital creator is a person who has to comment on everything, who has to prove himself on the right side without contradicting anyone, who has to say what he thinks on every topic that exists: and it should be a useful and intelligent contribution, otherwise the multichannel shitstorm will begin. This compulsion has led to clumsy and superficial attempts to take an interest in social and environmental issues, and to revolt when these attempts are not made with the necessary timeliness and sensitivity, as in the case of Chiara Ferragni.

Eco-anxiety, economic and political crisis

@saporeditrash #chiaraferragni #sicilia DISCO PARADISE - Fedez & Annalisa & Articolo 31

It is an exaggeration and a distortion, but it is also a symptom of what the public is desperate for and a sign that something is wrong in the institutions. In times of eco-anxiety, economic and political crisis and the threat of rights, we may begin to find escapism offensive and bland, any chance to 'make it' and live a dream life pushed aside to deal with the urgent present. We need less exaggerated content, boastful and witty personalities. We feel a void, a void of high-cultural credentials, and we try to fill it by imposing this on influencers, who of course often prove inadequate. The solution, of course, is not to scrap this relatively new but cumbersome figure, but perhaps to integrate it, to flank it, to delegate important issues to others, and to work towards a rehabilitation or perhaps even a reconstruction of channels suitable for these kinds of issues.