Visualizing global warming

December 10, 2008 — 4 Comments

A Geneva based organization called New Economic Orientation for the 21st Century (NOE21) has created a quite compelling visualization of global warming. I like it both because of the Sims like design approach but also because it doesn’t stop at visualizing the high level problem. It allows you to dig into the details and find out more about potential solutions and gives clear advantages and disadvantages of various technologies and applications. I believe it is these kinds of tools that will spark the creativity of technologists and designers to come up with better solutions. It seems like a really good step on the way to the massive increase in innovation we need.

I am interested to see whether anyone has come across any other useful visualizations or other tools that might act as design inspiration for tackling global warming or other major social issues.

What characteristics does a tool need to have to inspire new ideas around a complex large scale issue?

This was a topic we touched on at the recent World Economic Summit in Dubai. The role of design to visualize problems and challenges so that they can be acted upon – storytelling as an input rather than an output.

I believe we have tended to disassociate storytelling from design and I think it would be useful to make the connection more explicit. That is what NOE21 is doing by connecting issues to solutions. I believe we can help many more people make the leap from taking a passive approach to a seemingly intractable problem to active participation in creating solutions (or at least participating in the solutions that are already available such as energy conservation) if we use stories to make the connection.

Tim Brown


4 responses to Visualizing global warming

  1. You asked about any other design based visualization tools about the environment and sustainability. I would recommend you take a look at the website. It is a card based tool that helps visualize future sustainable mobility scenarios. It was developed by Lloyd Walker and others form the Graduate Program at the Art Center College of Design. The website allows you to deal hands, change cards and give feedback. It doesn’t actually solve sustainable mobility problems, but it provides a great discussion tool to help people visualize future scenarios and to discuss how future business models will survive in these new worlds scenarios.

    Works very will.

    Dave Muyres
    Art Center College of Design,
    and one of the co-developers along with Andy Ogden and Geoff Wardle.

  2. Josmael R. Kampa March 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Fantastic presentation. There’s a lot of complementary information. My EcoDesign friends here in Brazil will certainly appreciate it. It’s a good didatic introdution to the LCA concepts and LCA softwares like SimaPro.
    Thank you!

  3. Global warming is becoming such an obvious problem that someone somewhere other than the US Preisdent needs to step up to help drive the bus!

  4. Global Warming and Climate Change is the biggest environmental issue that we face these days. the long term effects of these environmental changes to a nations economy is quite damaging. there would be a shortage in food supply as well as on water supply too.

Leave a Reply


Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>