Conceptual computer artwork of the total volume of water on Earth (left) and of air in the Earth’s atmosphere (right) shown as spheres (blue and pink).
We have all the technology, money, and knowledge necessary to solve the problem of climate change. We’re no longer in doubt as to the warming of the planet. So why are our greatest achievements on the subject an expiring protocol (Kyoto) and a toothless accord (Copenhagen)? It could be because Climate Change is perceived as a scientific topic. Perhaps the entire issue is too abstract and not popular enough to demand strong political action. If so, then we should take Bill McKibben’s words to heart when he says, “You don’t build movements with bar graphs”.Climate Change used to be a specialist issue explained by scientists and retired politicians with hockey stick graphs. Now, bloggers like Andrew Revkin and movements like 350.org are more vocal about the importance of effective imagery in communication. WWF is also engaging the public on this level. They have launched an art contest exploring the impacts of climate change on our personal lives.Much like the lunar photos of earth had on the environmental movement in the 1970s and scientific images depicting the whole in the ozone layer in the 1980s, images that poignantly express the actualization of environmental damage can lead to a real public appetite for regulatory change like we saw in the Montreal Protocol in 1987. The public’s engagement with climate change will be an ongoing theme of this blog. I will occasionally post stories on how imagination, creative visualization, and personal experiences help progress the demand for action on climate change. With governments increasingly concerned with public opinion and with key legislation in the senate, public engagement and popular acceptance of key issues is as important now as it ever will be.Matthew