Week 5- Lecture #5: Thermometer Survey: The People Side of Climate Change

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I found this talk from Randall Pearce the most interesting of the lectures so far. In this day and age, statistics about climate change are thrown around but this has led to the public now becoming immune to the issue. What was the difference from lecture from the others was the delivery, as Pierce demonstrated, is putting the statistic into context, involving the viewer to picture the future- for example, what the world will be when today’s generation becomes 80.

Certainly this technique will prove essential to me and my visual communicator peers. It would be far better to set a scene involving the audience instead of shoving impersonal statistics down to the masses. It is especially important for the more self-driven society of today as Pearce mentions that people care more about themselves than the environment (Pearce 2010).

It is also interesting how he mentions Australia as a “rich social laboratory” (Pearce 2010) on the topic of climate change- thanks to recent threat of the drought. This has led to a generally increased belief on climate change in this country than say, Canada- the experience of recent events has shaped Australians’ thoughts in making climate change more believable. There is a potential within his claim, perhaps the Australian audience will become an interesting market to assess social values regarding the issue. More importantly is the possibility of how these current trends and values may change in the future.

Pearce also provided suggestions to possible enablers to social change which include points such as good design and new technology. Interestingly, he mentions the need for globally consistent trust marks to lessen the confusion- which could be an opportunity for visual communicators to create globally recognised symbols. The need for a consistent language that could span across cultures is an interesting proposition, however there will be barriers such as cultural differences in syntax and various legislations.

In the end, it was clear that Pearce suggested for future designers to create solutions that will shape trends: whether it be changing fashion norms or shifting product trends from high volume disposables to high quality durables. However, Pearce warns that us designers can not mistake the lack of action for apathy- something that struck home as a very good point. Certainly it’s not that people don’t want to do something, perhaps they are waiting for someone else to take action, whether it be the government or the businesses. Nevertheless, it was an interesting insight as Pearce once again takes us into the minds of normal, everyday people- something that us designers can not and should not forget or ignore.


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