We normally don’t think of climate change as funny. But what if we flip the idea around to ask how humor can help communicate climate change issues, or encourage us toward introspection in questioning our own behaviors and assumptions? That is the topic of this spotlight.
There are several ways in which people are using cartoons to communicate climate change. You can see these ideas illustrated in the Spotlight.
- As a teaching tool. Yoram Bauman’s The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change is (to our knowledge) the only entrant in this category for climate change. Effectively a cartoon-based text-book, it’s an entertaining way to introduce the full range of climate change issues. You can even find Climatographer Mark Trexler drawn into the book! Yoram has similar cartoon guides to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, both of which are topics that many students find confusing. Cartoons might help!
- As a way to tell a story. Perhaps the best known example of this when it comes to climate change is the short comic-based exploration of a potential link between climate change and the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Derrick Jensen’s As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial is another interesting story-telling case. We would love to hear about other good examples — let us know!
- As a way to make a personal, topical, or timely statement. Thousands of climate change cartoons likely fall into this category. We’ve collected several hundred in the Climate Web. The Spotlight shows just a few examples of how cartoons are being used to: 1) get viewers to think about climate change differently; 2) evoke an emotional reaction; and 3) laugh at our own beliefs and behaviors. You can explore more cartoons in the Climate Web through the multimedia heading M – Cartoons. Click here to see that heading in the Spotlight. There is even a formal literature on humor and communications, which we’ve started to organize. You can see it in the Spotlight through this link.
As is the case throughout the Climate Web, hovering over a thumbnail graphic expands it to become easily readable. URLs and PDFs can be activated in the Notes field at the bottom of the Spotlight (if you can’t see it, click on the small up arrow). Clicking on a specific thought will show you other thoughts it is linked to, allowing you to explore to your heart’s content. You can even jump to the hub of the entire Climate Web by clicking on the HOME thought at the upper left of the Spotlight.
To back up to a prior view at any time, click on the “breadcrumb trail” at the bottom, or simply backspace in your browser. To return to the original Spotlight view at any time, click here at any time.
Important Note: When it comes to cartoons shown in this Spotlight and elsewhere in the Climate Web, the Climatographers claim no ownership with the exception of our own cartoons, nor are we encouraging the misuse of cartoonists’ intellectual property. We’ve organized the large amounts of material in the Climate Web, including the cartoons, with the goal of improving personal, organizational, and societal decision-making on climate change. Humor can be an excellent communications tool, but only if potential users know it exists. If you are concerned about anything of yours that you see represented in the Climate Web and want it removed, please just let us know.