I spend more time than I should casting about on the internet to see what political signs and artwork others are making… The Women’s March and the Science March were incredible wellsprings of creativity, I think in part because both of those marches ‘rose above’ politics in many cases, and because they featured a core demographic (women, scientists), and for whatever reason, identity politics always seems to be a driver of creativity. From a the perspective of developing signs, I think the Climate March is slightly more challenged. The climate risk is so cross-cutting that it doesn’t impact just one group– though identifying those groups that will be harmed first and disproportionately seems to be an important part of the message–hence the “People’s” Climate March. Messaging also has to walk a fine line between reflecting the true urgency of the situation while avoiding becoming so desperate or doomsday that people tune out. Tipping to far in either direction is easy.
To illustrate what I’m saying, I feel suspicious of messages that don’t reflect urgency, or have a clear direction for action. As much as I love this “Make earth cool again” poster for it’s lightness, I dislike it because it leaves open 1) WHO is in charge of ‘making earth cool’ and thereby puts nobody on the hook, and 2) doesn’t really point to any plan, policy (or sacrifice) that might need to happen in order to ‘make her cool.’ I’m afraid to say that I want to hear more ‘real talk’ about climate at this stage in the game.
On the flip side, we have this poster– “State of Climate Emergency” from Paris 2015. This one is not light, and does reflect urgency (clearly), but because it similarly doesn’t offer any clear target or actions for ‘what to do about it,’ it comes off as just straight-up doom and gloom.
Annyway, I know my fellow marchers will prevail with amazing signs in spite of these challenges, and wanted to show some of my early favorite memes:
Children and Families
I was surprised at how strongly affected my 8-year-old was by the “R.I.P. Great Barrier Reef‘ tombstone sketch I did for day 10 of my brainstorm. He didn’t want to look at it as I was drawing, and was stricken when I explained the challenge our coral reefs are up against. I think that we do enough climate action-type work in our lives that he was able to connect his sadness to something actionable– but it did remind me that I’ve had 30 or so years to process my feelings about species loss, while the sadness of it is new and fresh for him. How to bring children into this work without giving them a complex, (or seeding their future disregard for climate because it seems to sad and insurmountable) requires creativity.
I give credit to whoever thought of the idea of doing ‘pollinator parades’ for children and families, where kids can dress up as bees and butterflies as a way of ‘representing’ these VIP insects that are under threat. See this one here:
— Moms Clean Air Force (@CleanAirMoms) April 27, 2017
While I am personally on the fence about whether my family should carry tombstones (now that we’ve talked through it!) or join one of these pollinator parades, I think these are a way to make the march fun and positive, which is incredibly important for our youngest members (they will have PLENTY of time for grief later on.)
One of the things I’m like the most about the People’s Climate March is it’s focus on equity, resilience and environmental justice. My favorite sign in that category (below) shows women and kids drowning, while businessmen float up on umbrellas. I’m pretty sure this was done for the first People’s Climate March in New York. This is a hard concept to get across gracefully, and I think this sign carries it off.
I like this one also.
Keep It In The Ground
A great series of tongue-in-cheek travel posters from: http://www.waldenhyde.com/portfolio/science-march/
Before-and-after National Parkposters from http://www.hrothstein.com/#/national-parks-2050/
I love this “It’s In Our Hands” campaign. Really, we can’t kick this one down the road for someone else to deal with. It’s about everyone making the decision to hold themselves and their representatives accountable.
Ending with humor: