02 Feb It’s Dying: Glaser’s Stark Message on Climate Change
Hoping to galvanize public demand for effective policy addressing climate change, Milton Glaser unleashed a campaign titled “It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying.” As one would expect from the designer of the iconic “I Heart NY” logo, the campaign is built around a logo: a stark graphic of a globe, it’s green field almost completely obscured by a black gradient. The campaign urged contributors to purchase buttons and t-shirts; all proceeds went to creating more buttons and t-shirts. The goal was to create a visual message to politicians, showing a groundswell of public concern on climate change. The campaign was publicized with a Twitter account, using the hashtag, #itsnotwarming. The hope was that the campaign would go viral, beginning with students from the School of Visual Arts, where Glaser teaches.
The campaign had its critics. As Joe Romm wrote on Think Progress, the slogan, “It’s Not Warming,” reinforces climate change deniers. Romm also wrote that the focus on the earth, implied in the globe, fundamentally doesn’t work as a PR message. Instead, he feels that a better message would emphasize that people perish directly as a result of climate change, as witnessed by the 6,000+ deaths which occurred as a result of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Jeremy Porter on Grist took issue with the #itsnotwarming social media campaign, pointing out that communicators advise against repeating the language of one’s opponents.
Glaser disputed the criticism. As he told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, he feels the term “global warming” is reassuring and comforting: “You begin by attacking the phrase itself… the truth of the matter is that the earth is dying, and wouldn’t it be nice if today was the beginning of the most important date in human history, which is the date we decided not to let the earth die.”
At top of page: The campaign buttons made an appearance at the ico-D (Icograda) General Assembly in October.