Fridays for Future, the climate change movement started by Greta Thunberg, debuted a new PSA that brings a grim twist to the state anthem of California.
The song "I love you California," adopted in 1951, celebrates the beauty of the state's rich, diverse natural landscape, from the redwood forests to its honey, fruit, and wine. But as the tune plays in the new ad, it becomes darkly ironic, starkly contrasting with images of scorched forests, burned farmland and wrecked homes that have become more familiar in the face of the state's increasingly frequent wildfires.
The ad was created by Fred & Farid Los Angeles, whose own junior art director Kiyomi Morrison, a second-generation California native, performs the song in somber style.
"Growing up in California, it’s impossible not to see the devastating effects of the fires on everything around you," said Morrison in a statement. "I’ve seen whole communities lose their childhood homes, and the air becoming so polluted one can’t even walk outside. The mountains I used to visit as a kid have turned to black in a matter of months. As just one of the terrible realities of climate change, I hope this can bring more awareness to the current path we’re heading down.”
The spot debuts online ahead of Fridays for Future USA's next planned global climate strike, set for Sept. 23. The organization aims to highlight that the state's wildfires are just one of the consequences of climate change. In 2021, California wildfires burned over 2.2 million acres of land; currently the Mosquito Fire in Northern California has already burned 76,290 acres and is at 39% containment.
"The climate crisis is no longer an abstract future or a news article about a far-off country," added Katharina Maier, National Coordinator of Fridays for Future U.S., in a statement. It’s here— it’s now. We have to act. Everywhere you look, youth are acting for systemic change, but we can’t do it alone; we need those from every generation who understand the urgency of the climate crisis to join us to address its root causes in concrete ways.”