Local Warming - 5/2019

A selection of student zines from the exhibition.

A selection of student zines from the exhibition.


Arissa Lopez, Camden Dechert, Rama Duwaji, Lauren Hanapole, Chrislin Hearn, Xueyan Gao, Eli Vidano, Kathleen Deal, Madison Stoots


Students in VCU's Department of Communication Arts have put their design and illustration skills to work combatting government inaction on climate change. As an assignment for their class Bookmaking Book Arts and Publication Design taught by Barry O’Keefe, each student rewrote and redesigned the lengthy IPCC report on 1.5 Degrees of Global Warming into engaging 8-page booklet, complete with illustrations.The IPCC Report, which was released in 2018, makes an exhaustively researched case for drastic and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. At our present rate of emissions, we’re on track for at least 4 degrees of global warming by 2100. The report describes what that means in clear terms: crop failure, mass starvation, the flooding of major cities, overtaxing and breakdown of social institutions, rampant wildfires: a biblically apocalyptic scene. Despite the overwhelming consensus and dark prognostications of the scientific community, the Virginia state government continues to invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure, and has not publicly acknowledged the real threat of extinction. 

Students read the report thoroughly and then designed an 8-page zine to make the information more engaging and accessible to legislators. The assignment taught them fundamentals of page layout, composition and publication design, but also challenged their abilities as storytellers and visual communicators. As a class, we believe that it is the responsibility of all people, especially artists and educators, to tell the truth: the planet is dying.