Student Article Choice of the Week: Visual Storytelling, “What Climate Change Looks Like Everyday”

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/26/what-climate-change-looks-like-everyday/

Please read an article on the Proof blog by National Geographic at the link above. The article “What Climate Change Looks Like Everyday”, discusses the use of photography and social media, specifically Instagram, on how to capture such a complex issue. The specific Instagram account “everydayclimatechange” has some examples posted throughout the article as examples. Throughout the article the author does a good job at explaining the background, bringing in quotes of photographers utilizing Instagram, and writing good rhetorical questions to draw the reader in. The lead in of the article is a little general but still draws the reader in. Delano states he tries to incorporate interesting captions, such as scientific evidence about global warming, alongside great photos to draw in an audience.  I think the “nut graph” of the article came towards the end when Delano is quoted saying: “The main goal is to bring the concept that climate change isn’t just happening ‘over there’ but is something that affects the whole planet. The other goal is to bring this visual evidenced through the eyes of some of the best photographers on the planet to a new audience beyond our little cloistered photo world.” I feel that quotes sums up the purpose of the article well and even clearly states the photographers goals. In my opinion the article ended a little flat, it was a cute quote, but did not leave the reader feeling impacted enough, and did not summarize the overall essence of the article. I felt this article overall did a good job discussing and using visual storytelling and the current uses of it to bring news to a larger audience.

Do you think using Instagram to bring awareness to climate change is effective? Why?

What are some other ideas you would have along the topic of sharing how “climate change looks like ‘everyday’”?

What did you like/dislike about the article? What do you think the “nut graph” of the article was?

Any general comments?

-Carlea Hazzard (clhazz)

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4 Responses to “Student Article Choice of the Week: Visual Storytelling, “What Climate Change Looks Like Everyday””

  1. You know, when I was a younger, brash, and over-confident photographer I thought instagram sucked. It was taking jobs from photographers, taking the camera out of the hands of trained professionals and putting them into amateurs. How dare technology do that to us!?

    As I’ve grown older and acquired a duality of comfort and cynicism from my middle class status and job security, I’ve gained an immediate sense of believing in a higher order and reason for our lives. We are here to connect with one another and bring about change in a continuous state of social solidarity. In order to do that, we must embrace technology and we must embrace the cultural shifts that result from it. Instagram and other social media networks has put the power of story telling into hands that had the potential for it all along. It puts it in the hands of those who are unfiltered and unbiased by the commodification of one’s work. It puts it in the hands of everyone and enables us to connect with one another.

    Let’s go ‘gram the world.

  2. I think Instagram has the potential to bring awareness about climate change to a large group of people and also make an impact on those people. The saying, “a picture paints a thousand words,” explains how visual information can have a much stronger impact on a person than an article or essay. Also, many people may not be interested in reading an article about how sea level is rising or that polar bears are losing their habitat, but seeing a picture will instantly send the message of what climate change is doing. While there are many people who do not use Instagram, the impact it has on some is better than none.
    Facebook is another tool that can be used to post pictures of climate change. Since posts can be shared, it can be used to send information through multiple networks of people.
    I really liked the quote referring to the effects of climate change as “slow moving disasters.” I think that helped connect to the “everyday climate change” concept for using Instagram to show people the small changes and the beginning of devastating future consequences.

    • A year or so ago I was very hesitant to actually sign up for an Instagram account because I was already used to sharing my photos on facebook and twitter. Now, however, I think Instagram is the perfect app for posting pictures because, well, that’s why it’s there. With facebook it’s sometimes difficult to actually find posts that you find interesting and it’s easy for your feed to become cluttered with long status updates and advertisements. I think that Instagram is the perfect app for conveying important and complex topics through digital media and visual representations because the people who are using Instagram are using it for the sole purpose to see pictures. It’s easier to reach out to a larger audience by using instagram, since you can post a meaningful photo as well as a meaningful caption for people who would like to see both (although most will probably avoid the caption and just look at the photo).

      I like that social media is being used as an educational tool since literally people of every age and background are using them. I looked at the instagram account mentioned in the article – “everydayclimatechange.” I like the fact that the account exists, I actually followed it myself, but the account only has around 4000 followers. In my opinion, the images aren’t reaching a whole lot of people. I think that in order for this account to actually go viral and make an impact, it needs to be advertised. This National Geographic article is a good start for them! I believe that accounts like these that are intended to raise awareness have a lot of potential!

      I liked the nut graph, and I agree with you as to where it was located. However, I wish that it appeared sooner in the article. The quote, “The main goal is to bring the concept that climate change isn’t just happening ‘over there’ but is something that affects the whole planet”, was a very strong one and it was a good idea to close with it in order to leave the reader thinking about it, but perhaps the rest of the article would have seemed a little more relevant to some people if they had read that sooner.

  3. What struck me about me is the beauty of the photos in the article, everydayclimatechange, such as the man swimming in crystal clear water. Yet when put in context, these images can be powerful representations of climate change. And this is why Instagram and other social media are such strong tools for awareness. People from all around the world can put their images in context, creating narratives that can only be represented correctly through real life events, everyday (hence the name of the account). Although magazine and newspaper reports can be highly informative and entertaining, they tend to focus on the extreme events, and people can be quick to stereotype after reading an article about a disease ridden, war-torn town in Africa. Social media sites like Instagram are the best way to post real-life, real-time events and communicate the truths about events like climate change. I thought this article did a great job highlighting an Instagram profile that is an example of great journalism– and hopefully they get more attention and followers from this article, which will hopefully open the eyes of the world to the real life truths of climate change.

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