The story of climate change is a complicated one to tell. Scientists and researchers tend to produce pretty inscrutable communication materials, which does little to successfully disseminate the most important information. But the time for radical change is now. My aim with this design project is to wake people up to the reality of climate change through factual visuals which are clear and easy to comprehend.
Spring 2014. I was holidaying in Greece after a non-stop-working-winter. At one point, the weather wasn’t all too good and I was sitting inside the apartment checking Facebook. This particular headline “It Is Too Late To Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change” caught my eye. What do you mean it is too late?! Of course, I knew things with the environment weren’t great. But up until that point the tenor of any article I had read on the topic – not many I must add – had always been an enumeration of bad stuff that might happen with a soothing ‘but if we act now, the world can still be saved’ at the end, making you think there are people out there – most probably our government?! – who will deal with this problem.
So I then read the interview with professor Clive Hamilton, downloaded his featured book “Requiem For A Species – Why We Resist The Truth About Climate Change”, read it and for days following I was in utter despair. Clive’s message is clear. The world is now on a path to a very unpleasant future and it is too late to stop it.
Once I got back home in Amsterdam I continued reading publications by science institutes. For me, it was one shock after another, having always been perfectly able to push away concerning news from the environmentalist front. I started casually asking around what people knew about climate change. It was striking nobody – and I mean nobody – seemed to have the faintest idea of the gravity of the situation. It started to dawn on me all this important research had never reached a big audience.
The abundance of unmeaning (sorry!) scientific terminology, the extensive amounts of poorly laid out text (no pictures?), the absence of overarching insights, I just naturally got going on designing information. I think there’s a task for designers to bridge the communication gap between scientists and the general public, being ill-informed regarding climate change.