This public service ad by the World Wildlife Fund in Belgium needs no translation. Created by VVL BBDO in Brussels, “The Melting Earth” ad is a metaphor that works across all cultures and even communicates in a way that children can understand. The text in the boxed space warns: “The first signs of global warming are now clearly visible. We urgently need to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Nothing and no one will be spared from climate change….” As much as the image communicates the point instantly, what’s needed are follow-up ads/posters/booklets that spell out pragmatic steps that each individual can take. It’s not just a a problem for the world or a nation to solve. It demands action on all of our parts. But the public needs more guidance on what we as individuals can do to lick this problem before we suffer an irreversible meltdown.
Those of us who are concerned about climate change finally have a slogan and graphic identity to rally around, thanks to design legend Milton Glaser.
The campaign’s slogan — “It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying” — doesn’t mince words about what’s ultimately at stake for the earth if we don’t get a grip on global warming. Done in conjunction with New York’s School of Visual Arts (SVA), where Glaser is acting chairman and a faculty member, the campaign aims to spark action on climate change through the distribution of lapel buttons featuring a graphic symbol, designed by Glaser. The logo represents the earth as seen from outer space, with the lush green disappearing into an ominous black. To reinforce the sense of a dying planet, the green swath is printed in ghostly glow-in-the-dark ink. Like his iconic “I (heart) NY” image, Glaser’s climate change logo is powerful in its directness and simplicity.
SVA is spearheading this social awareness campaign by offering Glaser’s dying planet logo as a lapel button ($5 for 5 buttons) so wearers can visibly express their concern for the planet. Up until now, the global warming deniers have been the most vocal in expressing their views, while those who believe that the climate is changing have mostly relied on scientific papers, panels of experts citing data, and Power Point-laden documentaries (a la Al Gore) to present their reasoned arguments. It’s time to be seen. If enough people around the world are seen wearing Glaser’s button, politicians and policymakers cannot easily dismiss these constituents as a minority of alarmists.
Since Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879, designers have often used the familiar pear-shaped product as a graphic device to represent a “bright idea.” Think again, designers, because the European Union restricted the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs in 2009. It also targeted the phase out of Halogen bulbs by 2016. Cuba and Venezuela actually started phasing out incandescent lights in 2005. Other nations have scheduled phase out plans – Australia, Ireland and Switzerland in 2009; Argentina, Italy, Russia and the UK by 2011, and Canada in 2012. A late adopter, the United States will begin phasing out incandescent lights in 2012.