Environmentalist Penelope Lea interprets The Scream

VIDEO: Penelope Leas personal intepretation of Edvard Munch's famous painting.

In the fight against climate change, Penelope Lea (15) has become one of Norway’s most important voices. She has been an environmentalist since she was eight years old. As the leader of the Norwegian Children's Climate Panel, she has given several engaging speeches. This year, she became the second youngest UNICEF ambassador of all time.

The young environmentalist visited our livestream of The Scream, where she performed her personal interpretation of the world famous painting. 

Environmentalist Penelope Lea. Photo: Sigurd Fandango

Penelope Leas text

When I was a small child,  and stood in front of  The Scream for the first time, I got scared.

 I closed my eyes.

 At the time I lived right across Munch`s house.

 I bathed on the beaches and shores he painted, I hobbled along the tracks, played around the Melancoly-rock, climbed in the pines that where there, in his paintings, I could recognice the exact branch I sat on, I slept over in the woods where Madonna once where, not beeing a madonna, just a girl, I ran over the bridge where the girls once where.

 Now I stood with my eyes closed in front of The Scream.

I opened them again.

 For a little while I felt like I was inside the painting.

At the same beaches, tracks, stones, under the same pines, the sky.

 But now, everything I knew, everything I loved, screamed.

 It was at the exact time I first became a climateactivist.

 A couple of years later I read a poem where Munch wrote aboute what he felt that night, when he saw the blood red sky.

I read about how he felt left alone, when his friends kept on walking, as if they did not see the same as he did, as if they did not feel the anxiety in nature, the one Munch felt.

I wondered if he was scared, or if he just felt alone.

I have so many friends, from all over the world, I know they feel lonely too, and recognise a scream inside of them.

I do.

I have felt that scream ever since I understood how we treat our nature, our home, the beaches, the rocks, the woods and the trees.

The sky.

And for how long we have known, without changing. 

Over 70 years.

When we see something, we cannot unsee it.

When we learn something, we cannot unlearn it.

When we ruin something, we cannot have it undone.

I have read that the sound that wakes people easiest is the sound of a human scream.

That’s why my friends scream.

That’s why I scream.