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May 1, 2013

Another Piece of the Climate Change Jigsaw Puzzle: Climate Cartooning?

Climatographer Team

Cartoons are a very useful communications tool, as noted in a recent blog at CartoonMotivators.com: 

“Often public service communications will contain cartoons to illustrate their message, or to underline the written content of the message, just to ensure that those who are either illiterate or non-native speaking will grasp the meaning. Government certainly understands the importance of cartoons, and it can be the ideal way to make sure health and safety messages are heeded. A cartoon will often be picked up on before the written content of a sign, too. The message is conveyed in seconds and without the need for a lengthy explanation. Conversely, if you have a message you need to convey with words, cartoons help to emphasize your message. They are increasingly being used in school text books for this very reason.”  

Great examples of how cartoons are used for a wide range of business communications can be found in many places; one source we like is at the home of the Grantland cartoon strip. 

If you look around, you can find cartoon-based introductions to almost anything, from calculus to U.S. history.  But interestingly, cartoons are a communications medium that we don’t automatically think of when it comes to climate change.  Political cartoons perhaps, and climate change does occasionally grace our daily newspaper cartoon strips, but that’s about it. 

That’s about to change, and that’s a very good thing.  Given the challenges posed by climate change, we need to take advantage of every communications vehicle we can find.  A cartoon-based introduction to climate change might appeal to audiences that have not been drawn in by the many bookshelves worth of other introductions to climate change. 

Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein, well-known for their cartoon introductions to economics (The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume 1 Microeconomics and The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume Two: Macroeconomics), are behind this new project to produce a Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change.  They’re a great team for this project, as reflected in this review of their prior cartoon work:  

“Hilarity and economics are not often found together, but this book has a lot of both. It also does a great job of explaining important economic concepts simply, accurately, and entertainingly—quite a feat.”

—Eric Maskin, Nobel Laureate in Economics

I had the opportunity to meet Yoram last week.  He brings to his climate change project passions for both climate change (he has a Ph.D. in environmental economics) and communications.  I also had the opportunity to witness Yoram in action as the world’s only “stand-up economist”; you can see examples of his work at his website at StandupEconomist.com.

I came across Yoram’s current climate change project at Kickstarter.com, where as of today they’ve raised 79% of the $20,000 they need to move into the final phase of the Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change (the six-month or more drawing phase).  Kickstarter funding, combined with a modest advance from Island Press for the book, will make the project possible. 

It’s a great opportunity for those of us in the climate field to support a project that could turn out to represent an important piece of the climate change jigsaw puzzle.  Folks in the climate field can even contribute directly to the book, since Yoram will be posting draft chapters of the book at his website for review and comment before final production. 

For a $50 contribution, you will be named in the book and receive a signed copy when it is published.  For a $500 pledge, you get climate immortality; your picture will be drawn into the book itself!  There are only 13 opportunities left for climate immortality left, and yes, you’ll see me in my famous Australian hat when the book appears!  So join me – at any level of contribution — in helping add “climate cartooning” to the climate jigsaw puzzle.

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Climatographer Team

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