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Chicago’s Climate Action Heroes

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Climate change is a big, scary topic. It’s not always easy to talk about and it can be almost impossible to convince people to do something about it. Movies like An Inconvenient Truth have taught us that we cannot ignore the mounting changes in our planet’s weather patterns, we cannot simply sidestep our responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to our changing reality. Yet we have apparently not gotten the message. We emit, ignore, and sidestep.  Still.  More than ever.

So what is to be done? Well, we can learn some great lessons from a recent graphic novel developed by The Field Museum’s division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation. This piece – The Amazing Adventures of Chicago’s Climate Action Heroes – takes some very scary information and turns it into fun and enjoyable reading (click the link to download).

How do they do it? They use light, humorous, and accessible dialogue to show the ways that a diverse cast of characters is being impacted by the destabilization of our climate. Written and illustrated largely by Lisa See Kim, a communication specialist at the museum, the story merges the journeys of residents from four very different Chicago neighborhoods, showing how their everyday actions make them environmental leaders in their communities.

Using some unnamed special powers, these residents are brought together by four species whose habitats are being threatened by ongoing changes to Chicago’s climate. These are the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, the Monarch Butterfly, the North American Beaver, and the Black Tern bird. Through their supernatural citywide organizing efforts, these creatures recruit powerful human allies to help them save their ecosystems and homes.

This short graphic novel is a great read and an awesome resource. I recommend it for anyone looking to break down climate change in way where everyday people can understand it. You will learn about the shared fates of dragonflies losing their wetlands and young leaders fighting environmental pollution in their neighborhoods, and many other similar connections from real-world Chicago examples.

Please enjoy the reading! And to learn more about the project that spawned this graphic novel, visit: http://climatechicago.fieldmuseum.org/learn.

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