Surge journal energizes activists, artists

Surge: The Lowcountry Local weather Journal goals to attach readers with the struggle for local weather liberation by providing locally-focused local weather change protection alongside artistic work by artists, poets and writers on the subject.


Surge co-founder Belvin Olasov stated that the rationale the journal contains artistic components alongside reporting is to energise activists of their struggle, and to offer solace within the non secular and existential points which can be inextricably linked with the motion.

“Local weather activism can’t simply be confrontational with doom and gloom,” he stated. “It additionally must be joyful and celebratory to a sure extent, as a result of the rationale we care about these items is that we love our world. The purpose is to provoke people to motion, and to unfold the motion wider. I imagine you unfold actions wider with artwork, with artistic storytelling, with the human components.”


The journal was co-founded by Olasov and Sydney Bollinger. Camela Guevara is the artwork director behind the venture.

Each co-founders of Surge share backgrounds in artistic writing and local weather activism. Bollinger was beforehand concerned with a local weather change journal in Missoula, Mont., known as The Altering Occasions. When she moved to Charleston in 2021, she needed to create an analogous publication and reached out to native activist Olasov. The primary situation of Surge was printed in March 2022, with two points launched since.

“Individuals have been actually excited to see it and to inform us that they really feel prefer it helped them be taught extra about what’s really happening right here, and the way they’ll become involved, which is one in every of our largest objectives,” Bollinger stated.

Olasov can also be the co-founder and co-director of the Charleston Local weather Coalition, a neighborhood local weather change advocacy group which got here collectively within the fall of 2019 as a gaggle of residents rallying for the World Local weather Strike.

“We’ve had a surge, no pun supposed, when it comes to curiosity within the local weather disaster prior to now 5 years,” Olasov stated. “I’ve very a lot felt this underlying narrative that I feel everybody of my era has felt, unconscious worry and nervousness rising up understanding that there’s an impending local weather disaster, and but the world round us is just not reacting.

“So I needed to alter no matter I may. It annoyed me that Charleston was not a pacesetter — and that to this present day is my motivation — to make the Lowcountry a pacesetter in local weather motion. As a result of now we have each purpose to care,” he stated.

Artwork director Guevara stated she selected this work for the quilt picture as a result of it reveals how “precarious it’s in Charleston, being situated on the coast with all of those floods and storms. To me, it illustrated my nervousness.” | Offered

Multidisciplinary artist and designer Camela Guevara was a pure match for the position of artwork director at Surge. Guevara’s visible work explores the intersection of artwork, craft and style, inviting her viewers to rethink their relationship to sustainability. With Surge, she’s flexing her visible abilities in graphic design and curation.

Guevara’s design work is “beautiful, clear and communicative — all the things I feel you’ll need in {a magazine} attempting to clarify the local weather disaster and combine storytelling,” Olasov stated.

Guevara curates work by Charleston-based artists for the journal and stated she is “attempting to share this chance with different people who find themselves working in a local weather targeted manner” and is all the time open to studying about artists who’re occupied with climate-related points.

The journal additionally options artistic writing curated by Hailey Williams, a School of Charleston scholar pursuing a grasp’s of effective arts diploma in poetry. Williams handles the submissions and outreach for Surge. She known as the journal “an artifact for the motion.”

“I’m a Summerville-born woman, and I’ve been writing about Charleston in my artistic work for some time,” Williams stated. “I used to be happy that there was a publication rising associated to nature, and to the Lowcountry setting. I used to be actually excited that this was a possibility for artistic writers to share their views. Artistic writing is a good outlet for this as a result of we will comment not solely on the particular scientific and cultural modifications, however we will even have the ability to share the emotional affect.”

“Seeing poetry and artwork in Surge, that’s necessary to us,” Bolinger stated. “We try to encourage and in addition present restful areas, and I feel that’s what that does.”

The fourth situation of Surge will probably be launched in late April, coinciding with Earth Day. The Local weather Change Coalition will even host occasions surrounding Earth Day and its situation launch, such because the “Tour de Earth” occasion, a motorcycle journey eco tour round downtown Charleston. Olasov additionally teased a fundraiser night time with Theatre 99, with particulars to come back later this month.

“I feel, in quite a lot of instances, people solely see the local weather penalties clearly of their minds: they know hurricanes, they know rising sea ranges,” Olasov stated, “however they don’t know the way we will reform our transportation methods, our constructing methods, our waste methods and defend pure environments. They don’t have the image of their head. And so a part of my job, I feel, helps construct an image of their head. And also you do this by storytelling.”

To be taught extra about Surge and the Charleston Local weather Coalition, go to