Visually Communicating Climate Change

Solar Panel School

Showing people the impact climate change is having on people usually results in rather depressing images. It doesn’t have to be this way, we can show people the great things people are doing to mediate and react to our changing planet. The mission of Climate Visuals is to help journalists to find and use positive imagery about climate change. Images that capture the resiliency of people and places that are withstanding the threats of environmental damage. We have the solutions to climate change, so let’s show those solutions to the world.

The first Climate Visuals report ‘Climate Visuals: Seven principles for visual climate change communication (based on international social research)’ summarises research with members of the public in three nations.

The research combined two different methods. Four structured discussion groups (with a total of 32 citizens) were held: two in London, and two in Berlin. Participants responded to dozens of climate images, engaging in detailed discussions about what they saw. Following this in-depth research, an international online survey of 3,014 people was conducted, with participants split equally between the UK, Germany and the US.

The survey allowed us to test a smaller number of images with a much larger number of people. Further details on the methodology can be found in the separate appendix document below.

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How to Avoid and Economic Crisis while Addressing the Climate Crisis

The impacts of the climate crisis increase in reach and damage every year with more people feeling the consequences. People have finally woken up to the fact that we need to act now to curb more climate chaos, the problem is that economists might figure that out too. Properties built on flood plains or other vulnerable areas are going to lose their value as global warming increases and that can spiral countries into recessions. In some parts of the USA politicians are planning ahead to navigate the troubled waters of the combined effects of climate and economic chaos.

If you want to address this today: ask the company you work for what their business plan is for a planet two degrees warmer than it is today.

A 2014 report from Arizona State University estimated that one year without water from the river could cause US$1.4 trillion in economic losses and impact 16 million jobs across the region. If calculations were done again today, those estimates of damage “would definitely be bigger,” says Timothy James, a co-author of the report.

The technical fixes are easiest to predict: more water-efficient technologies and policies like higher prices on water to encourage their adoption. But adapting to climate change also requires hard decisions about the pace and scale of development. It could mean refraining from building new communities in the desert altogether. At the moment, however, Phoenix is growing rapidly.

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Christiana Figueres: The Climate Risk Reward Ratio has Changed

The architect of the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres, is optimistic about the future of the planet and she sees the technology sector key in moving our economy to a carbon neutral system. She sees the exponential growth in the technology sector and argues that we need that sector’s help to manage “exponential growth in sustainable solutions”. Indeed, she claimed that “the tech sector is the portal to solving climate change” at a press conference at Collision Conference.

I doubt any parent alive today wants to be blamed for the environmental problems their children will face. – Figueres

Technology

We can’t have technology growing for growth’s sake. -Figueres

As she sees it, we are in a race between two exponential curves: sustainable tech growth and climate change. Her hope is that the tech sector can help move the economy away from fossil fuels. We need to decarbonize the economy as fast as possible.

Companies are starting to note that our climate crisis greatly endangers their future business plans.

Transportation

We are killing 7 million people per year because of air pollution that is entirely avoidable if we move to electric mobility. -Figueres

The economy is slowly moving away from fossil fuels, but this needs to happen faster. The risks are too great to continue our slow progress. She even notes that all the major automakers are moving to all electric – even Harley Davidson.

Cities need to regulate the types of cars and busses allowed in their borders so citizens are dangerously exposed to pollution. We have the knowledge, we just need the policies.

Housing

More corporations understanding that its in their own interest to decarbonize. -Figueres

We need purposeful growth and millennials get that, and that’s true when it comes to housing. Figueres envisions a short term goal of retrofitting existing buildings. She wonders why aren’t people retrofitting their buildings since insulation of homes is important to reducing energy combustion.

Figueres calls for policy makers to demand that new buildings power themselves and contribute to a healthier city. Again, we have the technology, we have the knowledge, we just need the policies.

Produce Action on Slowing Climate Change

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With the pace of climate change continuing unabated you might feel like there is nothing you can do about it. There is actually a lot you can do to save the future from climate change induced by corporate greed. The easiest thing to do is just to stop buying things you don’t need, but there are other things you can do too. Over at Lifehacker they list many options for you to pursue to make a positive difference in the world. Remember that every time there’s an election vote for someone who also wants to stop climate change.

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