Monday, April 22, 2013

Poster of the Week

Wir Bringen die Pole zum Schmelzen
Klaus Staeck; Greenpeace
Offset, 1988
Germany: Heidelberg

We Bring the Poles to the Melting Point—Most Catastrophically Everybody only talks about the climate—we break it and make a good profit on it: by the production of 140000 tons of CFC’s [Chlorofluorocarbons] per year. Kali and Hoechst, the Climate killers.

The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was marked by environmental teach-ins held throughout the U.S. Approximately 20 million Americans participated and this date marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Now, more than 40 years later, the situation is worse and the climate is changing rapidly and very noticeably. The polar ice caps are melting faster than scientists had predicted, extreme weather is becoming the norm, and expanding swaths of oceans and lakes are becoming dead zones where no marine life can survive due to depleted oxygen levels caused by pesticide runoff. In 2004, 146 dead zones in the world's oceans were reported. A 2008 study counted 405 dead zones worldwide. Meanwhile, new ways of polluting our air, soil and water are increasingly profitable therefore actively supported by industry and government alike: from deep sea oil drilling, to fracking, to transporting tar sands across some of the most fertile and fragile agricultural land in the country. When will we ever learn?

CSPG’s Poster of the Week was designed by Klaus Staeck, arguably the most prolific political poster designer in Europe, for Greenpeace, one of the oldest environmental organizations with offices in more than 40 countries.

CFC’s, sold under the trade name of Freons, were extensively used in refrigerators and air conditioners, in the production of plastics, as solvents for electronics, and as a propellant in spray cans. When CFC’s were shown to destroy the Ozone layer, causing a rise in skin cancer, severe sunburns and eye problems, their use as aerosol propellants was discontinued. However, due to improper disposal, they continued to leak into the atmosphere, destroying more of the Ozone layer. In the 1980s, Greenpeace launched a campaign against the largest producers of CFC’s in Europe: the chemical companies Kali-Chemie and Hoechst. Hoechst also translates as “Highest”, so the poster uses the double meaning of the name to both highlight the company, and its role in contributing to global warming. In the 1990s, many Hoechst and Kali-Chemie plants throughout the world ceased production of CFC’s.

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