Dyslexic talents: environmental innovation and activism

With COP26 beginning in Glasgow the same week as Dyslexia Awareness Week in Scotland, we thought it would be interesting to showcase dyslexic talents with environmental innovation and activism. But who are the environmentalists who are also dyslexic?

Many of us will know of Greta Thunberg, who sees her neurodiversity as a positive aspect of her climate crisis activism. In this article, Greta tells hosts of CBS This Morning: “In some circumstances, it can definitely be an advantage to…be neurodiverse – because that makes you different, that makes you think differently. And especially in such a big crisis like [climate change], when we need to think outside the box. We need to think outside our current system. We need people who think outside the box and who aren’t like everyone else.”

Irish marine environmental activist Flossie Donnelly; Scottish marine conservationist, Ella Pringle, and Scottish ‘bushologist’, Zeki Basan, have also highlighted their dyslexia. Another environmental activist, Erin Brockovich, made famous by the Julia Roberts film of the same name, is also dyslexic.

One of our Young Ambassadors, Eilidh, explains her thoughts about COP26 through the image below, “the whole point of this graphic is people thinking outside the box in order to solve the climate crisis. It’s not all about doing “business as usual” – we have tried that and it is doesn’t work. We have some solutions on how to save the planet but we need some creative solutions on how to achieve this. The leaders in charge need to listen to the youth, we have lots of ideas. Neurodiverse people have a voice in this, look at Greta Thunberg (who’s cool btw).”

Eilidh’s save the planet image

How can dyslexic strengths help us solve environmental issues in the future? This article by Ernst Young details how dyslexic capabilities can help in the future of work.  More specifically, from this report, “A change in perception of dyslexia can help build a talent pipeline that is flexible and adaptable to the changing world of work. Over time, we would like to think that a strengths-based approach would become part of day-to-day life.” As Greta said above, some of the possible solutions to climate change will need people who think outside the box, like engineers. See two dyslexic engineers below:

Another of our Young Ambassadors, Kate, recently showcased her dyslexic talents while working with school friends, Summer and Olivia, to create a dress made from offcuts of fabric from the Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory. Their innovative costume design ‘Flanders Fields’, has reached the Grand Final of national fashion competition Junk Kouture, which highlights creative designs using recycled materials. See a photo of Kate in the amazing dress below.

Kate in red dress

How do you think dyslexic strengths and skills can help us resolve the current climate crisis?

Blog written by Helen Fleming (Volunteers Manager) with contributions from two Young Ambassadors