Communicating about climate change can be enhanced through the use and application of computer graphics and visualization involving 3D and 4D techniques. Community mapping, future landscapes and photography provide a rich glimpse into the possibilities for describing, expressing and sharing powerful, effective and easy-to-understand messages about climate change. Planners, communities, action groups, businesses and government agencies will find this book useful for helping to expand their unique messages through the use of visual media such as new kinds of digital signage and video gaming.
Telling the story of climate change can be enhanced through the use and application of computer graphics and visualization. Using 3D and 4D visualizations that include community mapping, future landscapes and photography, this book provides a rich glimpse into the possibilities for including graphic media into powerful, effective and easy-to-understand messages about climate change.
"How can we get across the new reality to everyday people who have lived, loved, worked and played in towns and communities like this all over the world, thoughout their lives," asks author Stephen R.J. Sheppard while describing the seemingly climate change unaware communities in the English Cotswolds. Indeed, there are hundreds of thousands of communities around the globe that hear about climate change but may not know the so called 'invisible truth.'
The book begins by asking basic questions about climate change and inquiring whether or not our corrent communication strategies and approaches are doing the job correctly and informing the public about how they might begin to imagine a different world. Understanding and questioning current approaches is a continuing theme throughout the book that aims to improve our vision and insight. Sheppard conveys the issues surrounding climate change with a perspective that nudges us to think about how we might change, and what these kinds of changes would look like and how communities might understand them.
Visualiization is used to approach the three main issues including changing climate itself, choosing the needed action and raising awareness about social and perceptual barriers that prevent us from seeing and understanding correctly. Carbon exchange and carbon action is explained through the use of graphics that represent the carbon cycle, while charts provide opportunities to see the rising and lowering levels over time.
Issues like tax regimes as they connect to carbon production and climate exchange are explained and also the disconnects. The author suggests that the packaging of the message ought to be adapted to the audience and local community involved, indicating that context is often lost in wider scale message delivery. Examples include the Columbia Icefield Parkway in Alberta, Canada where a glacier has changed its course and size over a short period of time. Sheppard acknowledges that there are a large range of opinions, concerns, levels of awareness and complex scientific evidence involved when it comes to climate change. How we understand the issue (cognition) can be different than how we feel (emotion) about climate change as compared to our actions (behaviour).
Why the differences arise is discussed within the book. Sensationalist publishing, content adapted to specific goals, psychological state and type of visual stimulus can all assert a different message and uncover a different response. Scientists suggest that information can be prevented through the use of factual information, novel and concrete imagery, experiential learning (from personal experience), connecting to emotions and through the balance of positive and negative information - balanced reporting.
A new and more localized approach to visualizing climate change includes local level intervention that is visual and connects different elements of the story into more complete fashion, not just parts of stories and results. The author suggests that communities are starving for interaction and to participate in their own understanding, and that we are not providing enough balanced material for them to understand - nor to make informed decisions.
Scale plays an important role when it comes to understanding many of these issues. Scientists often excel at the scientific and complex levels, chasing global perspectives and linking global ideas together, But spatial gaps in such large-scale thinking lose context and deepen the gap between local communities and those involved in making the actions that are needed. Tools and technologies connected to visualization are often created with more effect locally, including higher resolution data, lower spatial gaps and improved cultural knowledge coupled to the message.
While billboards and other high-powered advertising messages may include climate change in their graphics, they often include a connection to buy a certain product to achieve this. Whereas, striking messages delivered from satellite imagery and other photography is often deemed more factual, evident and trustworthy it would seem.
The area of infographics brings into sight the possiblity for integrating parts of messages into broader stories that convey wider context. There is a growing body of people involved in the development of computer infographics, sometimes bringing large groups, with particularl knowledge, together to encapsulate larger and more diverse pictures.
How our visual perceptions of communities changes and is informed is described through photography that describes where cameras are placed along steets and some of the objects and features that people use to highlight messages and to sway percpetions. How our personal mind frames regarding climate change are developed and operate is described in terms of communitiy locale and how the landscape relates to individuals is an important contributor for sensing changes.
'Climateville' is used as an example of the community and its relationships in this book. Various actors within the community are outlined and readers will find this interesting because it links the possibility for placing themselves into the community through the presentation, adding their own personal narratives.
Several images of communities, places and examples for which climate change is linked are provided throughout this book. Collectively, these images add up to the understanding of the widespread linkage of common everyday objects and events that occur in the constantly changing energy-climate picture.
Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves, "are we getting it?" Do the messages make sense, can we comprehend their truth, importance and where we fit in? Or, has the climate change debate become one of global complexity, difficult to understand data and poorly designed communication strategies that neither seek to informa truthfully or to involve people in the process? Like the author states, "it seems we have convinced purselves that nothing is abnormal or wrong in the way we use carbon." Do we recognize the impacts?
Carbon use is the central issue and this book is aware that carbon use will continue, but it is the question of efficient energy use that is compelling because that involves conservation, better design and improved balancing of renewable with non-renewable sources. Adapting to climate change is a reality because the climate is constantly changing. In this light, resilience, proactive adaptation and taking action to adapt now are integral parts of the larger issue - but we must understand how climate change works to be effective.
To understand and adapt better, the use and application of spatial technologues and 2D, 3D and 4D communication strategies all have a central role to play. From maps to charting, to immersive environments, a large number of technologies can support improved educationa and build awareness. Future visualizations, virtual reality and simulation are also included into this toolbox of activity.
Yet, even if adaptive measures are taken, they too must be understood and sensed by an informed public. Starting forest fires, for example, does not make much sense as an adaptive measure to reduce amount of carbon in the atmosphere, but perhaps nurturing long standing forests does. As the Climateville examples in the book describe, individual actors will make their own adaptations based on their individual needs to improve situations.
"It strikes me now that we are living in some kind of phoney war on climate change. Our governments declare offical war on global warming with their pronouncements and endless international negotiations, news of one calamity or another arrives from the far-off front, and we increasingly hear dire threats. but on the ground life goes on pretty much as before," says Sheppard. A statement that best summarizes what this book is aiming toward - bringing about change.
To achieve that change visual leanring tools are a step forward. How we use them and and include them into the debate is essential for gaining their advantages. 'Landscape messaging' as example involves the ise of real world techniques for modifying the community landscape. Interactive messages involving wind in Scotland have used, photo-voicing - a technique involving striking pictures that cause people to think and blue-marking or the use of graphics on sidewalks and other areas can raise awareness about flooding areas. To achieve these kinds of objectives, inventory's need to be made of the current landscape and the potential for more informative landscape level communication tool intervention investigated. Tours, posters, bicycle trips, workshops and historical imaging can also be used to educate and create discussion.
This book describes how to acquire and create the data and graphics needed for building visual media programs and services. Readers will learn about landscape change mapping, migration maps, food production mapping and how to construct adaptation visuals. Selection of media for specific purposes is also discussed. The process for constructing visualizations in 3D is assessed and information about optimal viewing distances is even conveyed. Readers will find a wealth of information about techniques in 3D and 4D that can be put to use and special attention is directed at supporting local community engagement.
In summary, this book provides a unique approach for visualizing climate change. It not only describes technological approaches for engaging 2; 3D and 4D content into the wider debate, but it explains the climate change issue in depth at the same time relative to technological approaches. This combination of climate change knowledge, human and social experience and climate change knowledge is a powerful integration that makes this book seem more real, applicable and useful. The many graphics in this book support the goal, providing examples of how and why some of the climate change messaging occurs and what we should look for.
I like this book very much. I've not seen such a rich combination of ideas and technical knowledge about assessing, interpreting and understanding climate change before. The usefulness of this book is very high and it would not surprise me to see this book as necessary reading in course curriculum. For businesses, it has important messages to think about and consider, particularly if you are involved with spatial data, 3D / 4D and have interests in geographic information. Be sure to include this in the top of your books to read list.