Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Brilliant' Climate Change Cartoon Goes Viral After Elon Musk, John Green Share It on Twitter

Popular
'Brilliant' Climate Change Cartoon Goes Viral After Elon Musk, John Green Share It on Twitter

Earth's rapidly changing climate is often depicted with highly precise graphs or a detailed scientific explanation. But in Randall Munroe's latest xkcd webcomic, climate change is simply and hilariously explained with stick figures.

"A Timeline Of Earth's Average Temperature" is going viral xkcd

Munroe is your classic, multi-hyphenate wonder—a cartoonist-physicist-former NASA roboticist. He's also incredibly self-deprecating, as he writes on his about page:

I'm just this guy, you know? I'm a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, I worked on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 I live in Massachusetts. In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around.

Munroe has expertly tackled climate change in a previous comic. His latest illustration covers a huge swath of time from the last Ice Age in 20,000 BCE to current day and beyond. As Munroe writes, the comic shows what it means when people say, "the climate has changed before."

The drawings and captions depict significant earthly milestones, from humanity's spread across the continents to the extinction of the saber tooth tiger. A number of historical figures also make appearances, such as Gilgamesh, Buddha, Shakespeare and even the last North American Pokémon ("that is not a real fact"). All the while, the temperature accelerates from cool-blue on the left side to red-hot, record-breaking heat on the right.

For those of us who believe in climate change, the post has some great chuckles along the way as you scroll down the strip, like the mention of 300 BCE that's like the movie "but regular speed and with more clothing." But once you hit the ominous temperature curve at the bottom, it's a sobering reminder that we all must act soon before carbon emissions hit the point of no return.

The post is going viral on social media with a number of high-profile Twitter users lauding the comic. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about it on Tuesday morning.

It's a fitting tweet from Musk. The clean energy advocate once said we must "fight the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry which is unrelenting and enormous."

Author, Vlogbrother and Nerdfighter, John Green, called the comic "brilliant." Fun fact, the Fault in Our Stars writer once interviewed President Barack Obama about climate change and the most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions.

Gamer and internet icon Felicia Day also had similar words for the illustration.

Politicians are also getting into the mix. Here's a tweet from Denis Richard McDonough, the current White House chief of staff.

Finally, here's a tweet from Dr. Katherine (Katie) Mack, an astrophysicist based at the University of Melbourne, Australia, who was dubbed a "science shero" by Women in the World last month after being trolled and expertly responding to a climate-change denier on Twitter. Maybe she can use this comic next time to hit back at climate deniers.

See the full comic here or below.

Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth on April 2, 2012 in Western Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty Images News

By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge

In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

Trending

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less
New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less