Hot Gift for the New Year #2018

A new set of emojis about climate change has been released by a team of NYU students and their professor. The “climojis” depict various forms of climate impact, all of which are unfortunately familiar by now – trash, smog, a fish with swallowed plastic bottle, trees on fire, flooding, hurricanes, drought. Et cetera.

Deceptively adorable, endlessly memorable, communications experts think these little icons could actually move the climate conversation to a broader audience, accelerating investment in—and sweeping adoption of—hard-core, snap-forward solutions to fix global warming.

“Artistic expression and the construction of non-scientific visual or verbal language are more than illustrations; when successfully rendered, they resonate and become a lens for seeing the world in new ways,” explains Professor Marina Zurkow, who advises the student team that led a climoji-thon to brainstorm ideas.

Zurkow is an accomplished media artist focused on near-impossible nature and culture intersections. “Climate change is not exactly the kind of subject matter most people are addressing in their intimate SMS conversations,” she says. “But if a starving polar bear becomes a metaphor for personal despair, then the language of climate change might actually be entering into the common discourse.”

Have a look! Start using them! They’re yours to download for free. Join the team on Facebook. Got an idea for a new climoji? Send it in! The team is accepting submissions as post-it note sketches or text-based ideas at climoji.hello@gmail.com.

Many thanks and Happy New Year to Zurkow and her team, and to NYU’s Tisch School and Green Grants program.

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