Greta Thunberg coming to the Southbank... with a forest of 390 trees

Greta Thunberg will appear at London’s Southbank Centre for its Planet Summer events (AFP via Getty Images)
Greta Thunberg will appear at London’s Southbank Centre for its Planet Summer events (AFP via Getty Images)

Greta Thunberg will appear at the Southbank Centre later this year as part of a season of events confronting the climate crisis.

The arts centre, which is unveiling a permanent pocket forest of 390 new trees, has also commissioned new work by artists including Cornelia Parker.

Thunberg, 20, who became the face of a new generation of environmental protesters when she started a school strike in her native Sweden aged 15, will be joined in conversation by fellow campaigners including Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

The discussion brings back together seven campaigners who originally gathered in New York during the UN’s climate change conference in 2021 and will ask them to take stock of what progress has been made ahead of this year’s conference in November.

It is part of a series of events, called Planet Summer, which runs from June 21 to September 3, that includes talks by members of campaign group Extinction Rebellion and former governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who is now the UN’s special envoy for climate change.

There is also a return for the centre’s poetry festival which will see DJ Cerys Matthews performing Dylan Thomas’s classic Under Milk Wood. The Hayward Gallery will host an exhibition of art called Dear Earth inspired by “the interdependence of ecologies and ecosystems” featuring work by Parker and 13 other artists including US activist and artist Andrea Bowers.

SUGi Pocket Forest (Supplied)
SUGi Pocket Forest (Supplied)

The pocket forest of 390 trees will be planted outside the gallery covering 130sqm as a permanent legacy of the season.

The centre’s artistic director, Mark Ball, said: “Our Planet Summer season, which launches ahead of London Climate Action Week, brings together an astonishing range of artists and activists with an invitation for us all to make change together.

“It centres on the ideas of care, hope and action: how we can build an empathetic relationship with nature that sees us as an intrinsic part of the natural world, and not separate from it; how that can instil hope and a belief that we can all make a difference, that all of our daily actions working together can push us in the right direction, because the world begins to change when individuals decide it can.

“It’s also a call to action for the Southbank Centre too as we head towards our own net-zero targets, permanently transforming our site and operations.”

The centre has set itself a target of reducing carbon emissions by half by 2025.