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Friday, 19 September 2014

Climate Change Science 2013 - #Haiku version



Reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can be daunting, even for science and policy insiders. The full Physical Science Assessment, the first installment of the Fifth Assessment Report (pdf), released in manuscript form earlier this year, is over 2,000 pages long. And even the Summary for Policymakers, rather optimistically referred to as a “brochure,” is a dense 27 pages. 

What if we could communicate the essence of this important information in plain language and pictures? Well, that’s just what one Northwest oceanographer has done. He’s distilled the entire report into 19 illustrated haiku. The result is stunning, sobering, and brilliant. It’s poetry. It’s a work of art. But it doubles as clear, concise, powerful talking points and a compelling visual guide. 

How did it come about? Housebound with a rotten cold one recent weekend, Greg Johnson found himself paring his key takeaways from the IPCC report into haiku. He finds that the constraints of the form focus his thoughts (He told me that he posts exclusively in haiku on Facebook.), and described the process as a sort of meditation. 

He never intended to share these “IPCC” poems. Johnson’s daughter, an artist, inspired him to try his hand at watercolors. On a whim he illustrated each haiku and shared the results with family and a few friends.