Finn and Jack Harries

Generation Next: Finn and Jack Harries

Last summer, weeks after Instagram became a sea of black squares and the social media platform found new purpose as a forum for activism in response to the police murder of George Floyd, the twin brothers Finn and Jack Harries and Jack's partner Alice Aedy launched Earthrise Studio, a new account dedicated to the climate crisis. With thoroughly researched, informative, and visually arresting posts, the trio has since garnered over 150,000 followers, engaging them on sustainability, intersectionality, and environmental justice in a clear manner that is didactic without being preachy. "One of the challenges with climate change is it's so abstract to most people that it's very hard to wrap your head around," says Finn. "I personally felt I was lacking any sort of community to speak to people who were realizing the same things I was realizing, a safe space to just talk about how scary and daunting this all is, and then once you get past that point to talk about what potential solutions might be."

Generation Next: Finn and Jack Harries

Finn, now pursuing a master's in architecture at the University of Cambridge, and Jack, who has a master's in filmmaking, are no strangers to social media fame. Each has well over a million followers on his individual account thanks to JacksGap, a YouTube channel Jack founded in 2011 to document his gap year. Their early videos were a mix of vlogs, challenges, and collaborations with other influencers, expected fare for a pair of charming English brothers, but Finn says that after a few years, both twins wanted to turn their attention to more serious issues. "At some point, you question why so many people are following you and if what you're saying on these platforms is deserving of that following," he relates. "Jack and I have learned to try and speak with a sense of passion and authenticity on the social media platforms we have and use that audience for something that benefits not just ourselves but a broader purpose." In 2015, the two traveled to Greenland to film a documentary about climate change with the World Wildlife Fund, a successful early attempt at harnessing their reach for a greater cause.

With Earthrise, named after Bill Anders's iconic 1968 photograph of Earth taken from the moon, the Harries, now twenty-eight, are building what Jack calls a "video-first media platform" that makes overwhelming, and sometimes disheartening, ideas and concepts digestible and relatable. "Fundamentally, we respond to human stories. Climate is often told through the lens of things happening in faraway places, remote events, and it's often confused by graphs and numbers and data," he adds. "We wanted to find a new way to tell that story through a human lens. We also felt like we weren't seeing any positivity, no vision for the future. It's hard to motivate yourself to try and create change or unify behind this vision."

Generation Next: Finn and Jack Harries

Having recently released The Breakdown, a series for the WaterBear streaming platform meant as a broad introduction to the climate crisis that is now available on YouTube, the Harries say they are optimistic that social media, long a bastion of disinformation, ostentation, and petty grievances, is evolving into a force for positive change. "I feel like our generation is waking up in these incredibly challenging times and realizing that we have these amazing tools at our fingertips to educate one another and to organize," Jack adds. "Our generation faces the greatest challenge of any generation before us, yet we also have the most incredible tools to tackle that challenge. We have more tools than ever before, so that's where I find my hope."

New episodes of The Breakdown are available on Fridays on Jack's YouTube channel. Read this story and many more in print by ordering our inaugural issue here. See the full Generation Next series here.

Jack Harries
Finn Harries

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