We sat down for a chat with freelance climate change activist, Daze Aghaji – who talks politics, memes and the environment. Throughout our conversation, we learnt what it's really like to be a part of Extinction Rebellion whilst studying at University as well as discussing the importance of awareness on policies that affect our planet.
Homethings: Why the term 'freelance climate activist'?
Daze Aghaji: Well, because although my main work is with Extinction Rebellion as a coordinator, I do work with other organisations too. It's just about understanding that everyone has their different form of protest. I think I can lend myself to other parts of the movement.
Homethings: Amazing. How did you get into activism?
Daze Aghaji: I think it was a slow burning process to be honest. My connection to the environment was when I moved to Lincolnshire and living close to fields and closer to nature – a much more rural life. That's when I started to understand and care. But the activism started two or three years ago when I first moved back to London. I got quite ill with asthma and skin issues, which hit me like a tonne of bricks. So I went onto the internet and discovered all about air pollution and how it affects our breathing, our lung capacity and even down to the vanity of our skin. It was a moment of 'what is going on?!' and that's when I found out about the Climate Crisis and thought – we really have some big issues on our hands! I guess the journey lead me to feeling angry at big NGO's who I felt like should be protecting us, and should be telling us the truth. But just weren't.
Homethings: A lot of activism seems to get a lot of negative press. What's your view on the term 'eco warrior'?
Daze Aghaji: Only as of the last 3 months would I have called myself a Climate Activist. Previously I would have just said I was just somebody giving a sh+t. I just cared, and tried to do something with this feeling – for my earth and my community. So, the label 'Eco Warrior' is kind of weird, because everyone expects you to be tree hugging. If that's your thing, then you do you boo, but that's not what it's about. It's more than just being viewed as a hippie, it's about being viewed as someone who cares. There is so much negativity sometimes, especially in the press – whether it's my age, my race, my knowledge. I'm just here trying to do something good.