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Climate Change Now Has A Logo

By Laura Dattaro
Published: August 9, 2014

Climate change now has a logo: A plain green and black circle, designed by the same artist who created the wildly successful and equally simple “I [heart] NY” logo in 1977. The circle is brightest and greenest at the bottom, darkening into pure black at the top.

The logo represents Earth, with the bright green symbolizing life and the smoky black showing the deadly effects of climate change, according to an interview with the logo’s creator, Milton Glaser, in the architecture and design magazine Dezeen. A giant poster featuring the logo has been hung outside of New York’s School of Visual Arts, where Glaser is chairman. It’s also being distributed on pins, five of which can be purchased for $5.

Glow-in-the-dark green ink makes the narrow band of green at the bottom of the pins shine, which Glaser hopes will highlight the urgency facing life on Earth in the face of climate change.

"There is no more significant issue on earth than its survival," Glaser told Dezeen. "The questions is, 'how can anyone not be involved?'"

An animated version of the logo appears on an accompanying web site, Itsnotwarming.com. The plain white page features the text “It’s Not Warming It’s Dying” and “The Most Important Fact on Earth,” along with a button to purchase the pins and the hashtag “itsnotwarming” to promote the campaign on social media.

Some have taken issue with the language, including environmental magazine Grist, which published a column on Saturday arguing that spreading the phrase “it’s not warming” will add confusion to the conversation and aid in the misunderstanding of climate science. The column also states that it takes away attention from the part of climate change that people most need to understand -- that it’s not Earth that climate change will kill, but humans.

“The planet doesn’t die when a hurricane strikes or a wildfire ignites,” the column’s author, Jeremy Porter, writes. “People do. Hurricane Sandy killed 148 people. Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines last year killing more than 6,000 people. Almost 100 people died in the recent floods in Southeast Europe. Wildfires are raging in the western United States. People are dying and it’s going to get worse. The earth, meanwhile, will just keep on spinning.”

Climate change may not destroy the planet’s rocky foundation, but it does effect humans, and many other species are at risk from a changing climate. Though desperate polar bears have become somewhat of an unofficial logo for climate change, many species are at risk from a changing climate and its associated effects, such as increased droughts and wildfires and ocean acidification, which is damaging to life-sustaining coral reefs.

(MORE: Beautiful Panoramic Photos Show Coral Reefs in Decline)

Glaser told Dezeen that the spread of the logo and the buttons will make it harder for politicians and large corporations -- the “masters of the universe,” he said -- to ignore the realities of climate change, and will spur them to action.

"If one is looking for a purpose and theme to their life, avoiding the worst event in human history is a good place to begin,” Glaser told Dezeen. "I hope people will respond by acknowledging what is real."

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