Emma Egede Skafte

We asked some young people in Copenhagen to share their thoughts on life, creativity and sustainability.



Article | 02:58 min read

Portrait of

Emma Egede Skafte


Copenhagen, Denmark

Still photography by

Frederik Kjeldgaard

Interviewed by

Adam Morris Philp

“We are floating around all alone in this big dark space. It reminds me that there is no safety net.”

My name is Emma. I’m 25 years old and I study photography.

How do you remember your childhood?

I grew up on a farm that functioned as a collective community. So I lived with five other families who also had a bunch of children. It was a very magical childhood.

I think growing up in the countryside close to nature has really meant a lot to me. It was a good place to play around as a child. I’ve always played a lot, and I think that has really shaped me as an adult. Like, I love to play and be a child. I did not necessarily want to grow up too quickly.

You said that nature has shaped you. Could you explain that?

You could do anything you wanted to do because there was just so much space. There was a forest and there were bushes and gardens and fields. It was very magical.

I remember the smell of freshly cut grass or waking up on the weekend to the smell of toasted bread because my parents were making me breakfast. I also remember we had so much sand that we could build castles out of it, and we made soups out of water and leaves. I have always used my imagination. I loved to play fantasy games where I lived in this world that no one could see except for me.

What is sustainability for you?

Sustainability for me is looking at the world as something that we have to protect. It is not something that we can use and then throw away. We need to think that everything we build, everything that we create, should be reused or build in a way that will last a hundred years instead of only twenty years.

I also think about all the good resources we have that are so useful, like trees. I like when we are filling cities with trees or flattening out all the roofs and plant gardens there. That is a way of cleaning the air and at the same time making the cities greener and more enjoyable for the people living there. It will also create habitats for urban wildlife.

What is unique about this planet?

Every time I see pictures of Earth from space, it’s kind of scary. We are floating around all alone in this big dark space. It reminds me that there is no safety net. If we fall, we won’t fall on anything. We will just fall into nothing. I think it’s pretty scary. We are very fragile. But it also reminds me that Earth is so full of life. We have so much water and we have so much to sustain life, which is very unique about Earth in comparison to the other planets that we’ve already explored.

What is important in your life?

I think what’s important for me is just to live every day with an open mind and just surround myself with people that know me and make me happy.

I think it’s really important for me to laugh and have fun. And it’s really important to create something, mostly for myself. Being human, sometimes I think it’s important to take something and turn it into whatever it might be. Maybe photography for me, or writing.

Do you ever get frustrated about trying to take care of this planet?

I constantly get frustrated. I think it’s just so overwhelming, and it is so frustrating that so much of it is put on individuals. Many people are really good and really responsible, and they’re really trying. You remove plastic from your life, you take short showers, you plant trees – you do those kinds of things. But sometimes it feels like it won’t change unless the big evil corporations with the black smoke coming out of their chimneys – like, if they don’t change, then I really fear that nothing will change.

But you should always think about everything you buy, everything you consume. Try to be really aware if it’s something that you will use once and then throw out, or if it’s something that will have a lasting value. It’s good to take inspiration from the younger generation. I think they are really marching in the front and are telling us what to do. If we listen to them, then we’re in a good place.

What do you think their goals are?

I think their goal is to have a planet we can live on. I think they don’t want to be accountable, they don’t want to be the ones standing with a sinking ship after everyone dies. And they’re saying stop. They don’t want to clean up other people’s mess.

So now they want to try and create a world that is sustainable and livable where people are in charge of the environment, not politicians and large corporations. They’re taking the power back and taking it into their own hands.