Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
New York. Paris. Bacon.
From what I recall, this is a persuasive tactic often most effective on small children: If you want to convey an abstract idea (sharing is good, stealing is bad) it's often helpful to frame it in immediate, concrete, emotional examples. For example: How would you feel if someone stole your [insert favorite toy here]?
In the debate over climate change (a really abstract concept), the world is more or less full of figurative toddlers. Which is why this interactive campaign from Al Gore's Climate Reality Project might actually be effective. The site, designed by digital production company B-Reel, invites people to select the things they love from a pretty comprehensive list that includes whole cities alongside everyday pleasures like cookies, coffee, and jogging.
The platform then constructs a "canvas" of the things you love...
...and then proceeds to tell you how climate change will spoil every one of them:
The project, which offers some fearful factoids on a dozen great cities (not to mention awesome things inside of them), is a reminder that municipal conversations around what to do about climate change all turn first on the task of convincing people to take notice. Gore, scheduled to speak on this very topic in New York next week at The Atlantic's CityLab summit on local-level innovation, argues in creating this project that we need to go beyond talk about climate change and dollar signs to imagining instead "who we would be and how we would live our lives without what matters most.”
All screen grab images via WhatIlove.org.