Social Media, Illustration and Graphic design: Tools for a change
Since the UN (United Nations) announced that we have 7 years to stop climate change, and how greenhouse gas emissions have doubled in the last few years, we have seen in social media a boom in topics of environmental issues, changes that need to be made and how we can reduce our carbon footprint with actions in our day to day. People have been more aware and concerned about the summer heat and how the weather has changed in a matter of a year, the seasons are no longer the same, and climate change is taking over.
Although social media have always been criticized for handling false news, causing mass hysteria and misinformation, they have
been a fairly great tool to report global problems at the moment. Most of them are free and easily accessible to anyone with a mobile device and internet. Pages like Pictoline, Playground, Climate reality and many more are optimizing visual news by bringing information to a larger audience in a language that everyone understands, illustration, and graphic design. They are targeting the news with colorful designs that synthesize the information and change the scientific language to something easier to understand.
Illustrations are more attractive than pages full of letters and words that not everyone can understand. And graphic design helps to find different ways to show and explain what is happening in the world, videos, infographics, photographs, and reels on Instagram or Tik Tok (the most popular apps at the moment) are some of the most used tools to spread the news.
All of these are trying to start with small changes that eventually become big, and to influence people to take action in certain aspects of their daily life, an example of this as well as of the previously mentioned tools, are the ecological movements that have been trending such as consuming local foods, buy-in refill stores to avoid unnecessary use of plastics, home gardens or more
conscious movements that generate an immediate change such as #NoMowMay.
No mow May is an initiative organized by Plantlife, an organization dedicated to the care of urban biodiversity in the UK, it encourages people to reduce the pruning of their gardens as much as possible but more during May where it explains that avoiding pruning is of great benefit to our pollinating friends that wake up in this month, who have also seen a decline in the sighting of these species in recent years.
Social media has been loaded with photographs of gardens and a wide variety of bees, butterflies, wildflowers and a lot of biodiversity, all thanks to the spread of illustrations, posters, and infographics explaining the importance of the movement, so people notice and become part of the change.
Let us remember that we have all the tools in our favor to make a change not only in our community but also to influence other people to join, investigate and learn more, after all the planet is our collective responsibility and it depends on us to restore it to a healthy, livable site, starting with small steps.
In MayanToons we want to spread the word with visual information about our surroundings, teaching about culture and nature in Guatemala. You can find many materials done by the Graphic Design, Illustration, and Animation teams on our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and our web page: www.MayanToons.org