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Tonight's Earth Hour - it's really about what you do next ...

Rebecca Cooke

29th March 2014

In the lead-up to tonight's Earth Hour one organisation is putting the creative community on the front lines of the battle for climate change. Rebecca Cooke reports on the remarkable series of 29 posters to provoke and intrigue us into climate action.

The 29 posters are beautiful, playful, romantic, mischievous and provocative ...

Millions of people around the globe will be turning off their lights and appliances tonight for Earth Hour - from 8.30 to 8.30 pm local time, wherever you may be.

But there's much more to it than that - like what you go on to do afterwards. And that's what Do the Green Thing Ltd - an organisation dedicated to provoking action on climate change - are hoping to achieve with their innovative poster campaign.

The easily overlooked ...

Perhaps not even the most ardent environmentalist would know that the meat industry generates more carbon emissions than the car industry.

Nor perhaps that a gallon of mineral water costs roughly the same to produce as a gallon of oil. The minutiae of everyday decisions which impact the environment and cause climate change may be a fleeting thought for many.

In their pioneering poster campaign Do The Green Thing have teamed up with WWF-UK in asking world-class creatives to design a poster which will inspire the world to make sustainable choices.

The central themes of the posters, produced by artists, designers, authors and illustrators form Sir Paul Smith to Sir Quentin Blake, are cutting carbon emissions though walking and promoting energy efficiency through turning off appliances.

But some of the more effective posters are those that deal with often overlooked aspects of modern consumerism and industry which contribute to climate change.

Meat - the facts 

One poster, titled Hot Dog Hot Smog, highlights the startling economic and environmental impacts of the meat industry. It highlights the fact that the meat industry causes 18% of all green house gas emissions -more than cars at 10%, household appliances at 9% and even planes, which contribute 2% of all green house gas emissions globally.

One poster simply has the stark image of a fleshy, raw streak with the sombre heading "Eat Responsibly".

The campaign, which has seen a new poster produced each day in March, will conclude with 22-year-old Rebecca Charlton's work, who won a public vote in the Earth Hour Young Creatives competition.  

Playful, romantic, mischievous 

Naresh Ramchandani, co-founder of Do The Green Thing and partner at international design studio Pentagram, said:

"Do The Green Thing has always looked to be a public service for the planet, working with world class creative talent to make brilliant inspiration, and feeding that inspiration to as many people as possible across the world to encourage them to be more sustainable in their everyday lives.

"Together, the 29 Posters are beautiful, playful, romantic, mischievous and provocative, and I hope they will inspire as many people as possible to be part of Earth Hour 2014 and Do The Green Thing before, during and after it."

Creativity with a purpose

The campaign's success is an example of how the arts have a place in influencing environmental awareness and by using art to popularise a conscious movement toward sustainable life choices can have a lasting and significant effect on the planet.

Rachel Bloodworth, WWF-UK said: "WWF's Earth Hour is about inspiring people around the world to help protect the planet and the 29 posters campaign with Do the Green Thing is a brilliant way of creatively showing how we can all live a more sustainable lifestyle.

"The quality of designs from both the student competition and the well-known creatives have blown us away with their thought Cycle For Peace by Quentin Blake provoking and artistic qualities.

"We're so proud to be a part of this collaboration and the final designs are an incredible collection that beautifully reflect the spirit of what Earth Hour is all about."

Small but collectively significant

The need to act more responsibly with regards to climate change has been on the political and social agenda before the campaign began on the 1st March.

It has been a point of controversy in the mainstream media in recent months with the severity of the floods that have ravaged the country and the sober reality of global warming becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

Activists, artists, and organisations such as Do the Green Thing have noted that the public concern over climate change is reaching a fever pitch.

But rather than scaremongering or pre-empting the apocalyptic, erratic weather anomalies, the campaign appeals to the activism that can be taken through the small but significant acts that, collectively, could soften the impacts climate change - and put us on the path to a sustainable future.



Rebecca Cooke is an energy, environment and foreign affairs reporter. She has written for The Ecologist, New Internationalist, The Sunday Times and blogs at TrillionFund


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