Over the five years that Iâ€™ve blogged for Artists and Climate Change, I have never pitched a product. Until today. It feels a bit sacrilegious to do so, especially in the context of next weekâ€™s ritualized over-consumption frenzy, but hear me out. This is important.
With this post, Iâ€™m temporarily stepping outside my comfort zone â€“ where I shine a light on global artists, designers, and architects experimenting with renewable energy as an emerging art form â€“ to boldly suggest that our readers consider purchasing (several copies of) the Infographic Energy Transition Coloring Book as #climate-themed holiday gifts this year.
This award-winning coloring book (an updated version is currently being printed in Germany and will be ready for distribution in early December) is a visually stunning communication tool that I believe can help shift the needle on our mostly dystopic climate narrative. It is designed to engage all generations: young, old, and anyone in-between.
What I like most about this coloring book is its appeal to broad sections of the population, including those not yet convinced of the need to shift to sustainable energy sources, those for whom the jargon-heavy scientific climate reports are difficult to decipher, and even those already working on climate change and the energy transition.
Created by two Berlin-based organizations â€“ Ellery Studio in collaboration with the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) â€“ the Infographic Energy Transition Coloring Book hits the sweet spot for me on so many levels.
First, not only is it scientifically accurate and visually stunning, this book manages like no other to take a complex, geeky subject like the energy transition (which I have tried to write about here, here, and here from an artistic perspective) and makes it highly accessible to the general public.
As Bernd Riedel, head of Ellery Studioâ€™s visual strategy lab explained to FastCompany, â€œThe energy transition will only succeed if people are aware of and enthusiastic about the possibilities of a decentralized, renewable energy supply.â€
Secondly, this coloring book draws you in, no matter your point-of-view on the climate crisis. Once you pick up a pencil or crayon to start coloring, it is impossible not to feel engaged, to feel empowered, to feel part of a larger whole. That alone is reason enough to purchase this book.
As Anika Nicolaas Ponder, Head of Sustainability & Innovation at IKEM, wrote on Medium:
Fostering public engagement in climate change activism will require a new approach to communication. Reporting shouldnâ€™t just highlight the risks and challenges involved as global temperatures rise, but also theÂ opportunitiesÂ that can emerge from smart responses to climate change. This means that we need to communicate our message in a new format â€“ and with a new narrative.
Thirdly, this coloring book focuses on the positive, on solutions, on the way forward. All music to my ears. According to Ms Ponder:
These are the tales that need telling, and these are the narratives we need to hear. We will be more effective messengers if we reframe the way we talk about climate change and the energy transition. We can do this by focusing on opportunity and empowerment and drawing more people into the conversation through accessible communication formats.
I canâ€™t think of a better playful gift with the potential to open the conversation between friends and family who may not always have seen eye-to-eye on the climate or the energy transition. For more information about the Infographic Energy Transition Coloring Book, follow â€œMy Energy Transitionâ€ on Instagram.
Iâ€™ll end here with my favorite illustration in the book. It would have to be the clever â€œMeet The Renewablesâ€ (which somehow reminds me of The Incredibles). This â€œfamily portraitâ€ includes five of the most popular members of the renewable energy family: onshore and offshore wind, hydropower, biomass and solar. They are displayed on a modern electronic tablet which contrasts starkly with four cracked and cob-webbed frames in the background of the fossil fuel family (which reminds me of the original Addams Family!) Kudos to all who worked on this brilliant project!
(All images copyright and courtesy of Ellery Study, Berlin.)
This article is part of theÂ Renewable EnergyÂ series.
Joan SullivanÂ is a Canadian renewable energy photographer. Since 2009, Joan has found her artistic voice on the construction sites of utility-scale wind and solar projects. Her goal is to keep our eyes on the prize â€“ a 100% clean energy economy in our lifetimes. Joan is currently working on a documentary film and book project about Canadaâ€™s energy transition. Her renewable energy photographs have been exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada, the UK and Italy. You can find Joan on Twitter, Visura and Ello.
Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.
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