What role can Graphic Design play in (meaningfully) addressing the issue of climate change?


Climate change has been described by the Dictionary (2018) as “a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels”.

The National Ocean Service (2018) have announced a fun fact on their website, being: “To date, we’ve only explored less than five percent of the ocean”. However, we’ve managed to pollute 80%, with a huge majority of the pollution coming from land (National Ocean Service, 2018).

Air pollution along with is associated with climate change due to the release of CO2 emissions ( IASS POSDAM, 2018). Greenhouse gases are also considered one of the main elements in effecting climate change.

Although climate change is often mentioned in magazines and newspapers, it is repeatedly brushed to the side due to more “exciting” articles. Justin Bieber dating a new girl or what colour Kim Kardashian’s new wig is. Discussing climate change is recognised as distasteful or a downer in the modern world, especially when you have the option of avoiding acknowledgementThankfully, there are companies such as Green Peace, National Geographic and NASA dedicated to disclosing the information they believe is vital. By letting us know, we are able to tackle the problem together rather than live in ignorance and let our Earth die.

Two pictures taken on the same day within one hour. First photo, clear skies, rather warm (Campbell, 2018). Second photo, freezing cold, icy windows and snowing (Campbell, 2018). Taken in March, “the beginning of Spring”.

The Paris Agreement was established quite recently, in the year 2016 however had been drafted throughout the end of 2015. It’s purpose is to deal with greenhouse gases across each country and discover a way to lessen global warming starting in the year 2020. Donald Trump questioned the concept of the agreement and in June of 2017, stated his hope to remove America from the plan (‘United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement’, 2018).

The detective-like group Public Citizen revealed an analysis last year about how the mainstream media neglect to report climate change into their news stories (Public Citizen, 2017). Leppig (2017) also collected a series of opinions from several journalist on the same topic of including climate change in the media. A remarkable amount of journalists all agreed that covering the topic of climate change in media is significant, however, there needs to be a balance.

Klein quotes (pg. 6) “Climate change has never received the crisis treatment from our leaders, despite the fact that it carries the risk of destroying lives on a vastly greater scale than collapsed banks or collapsed buildings.” and it’s true. Although some of the effects are detectable, does the invisibility of it play a part into why it’s not taken seriously?  Klein also dissects (pg. 7) “all the kinds of ways that climate change could become a catalysing force for positive change” as it could finally call for a requirement of help for a new world and a new life.


Campbell, E. 2018. Elephant & Castle: Before. [photograph] (iPhone library).

Campbell, E. 2018. University Window with Snow. [photograph] (iPhone library).

Dictionary (2018) Climate Change. Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/climate-change?s=t (Accessed: 10 February 2018).

IASS POSDAM (2018) Air Pollution and Climate Change. Available at: https://www.iass-potsdam.de/en/output/dossiers/air-pollution-and-climate-change (Accessed: 24 February 2018).

Klein, N. (2014) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. United States of America: Simon & Schuster.

Leppig, J. (2017) How Important is it that the Mainstream Media Covers Climate Change. Available at: https://islandpress.org/blog/how-important-it-main-stream-media-covers-climate-change (Accessed: 7 March 2018).

National Ocean Service (2018) How much of the ocean have we explored. Available at: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html (Accessed: 10 March 2018).

National Ocean Service (2018) What is the biggest source of pollution in the ocean. Available at: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/pollution.htmll (Accessed: 13 March 2018).

Public Citizen (2017) ‘Carbon Omission: How the U.S. Media Underreported Climate Change in 2017’. Available at: https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/public-citizen-carbon-omission-media-report-january-2018.pdf (Accessed: 23 February 2018).

‘United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement’ (2018) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_the_Paris_Agreement (Accessed: 10 March 2018).


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