06 May 2014

Here and Now, There and Then

A new Web site on global warming suggests we can use images and interaction to communicate things too big for words.

Global warming challenges us with its size and scope of time. We often struggle to express and understand its complexities, and it requires us to make sense of a timeframe extending back hundreds of thousands of years.

To complicate matters further, we have to understand the issue now. The National Climate Assessment, a report released today from the United States government, details the impacts already underway because of global warming.

While it placed this huge issue squarely in front of our faces, the National Climate Assessment also gave us a tool for comprehending the situation. This Web site communicates the report's findings in an amazing way. It uses images, charts, and interactive graphics to communicate the full scope of global warming. Along with showing the current impacts, the site looks at future issues. In addition, it breaks down the effects by region and by the systems they impact. Finally, it outlines various ways of responding to global warming.

The site impresses me with its ability to address the whole issue. It's also visually appealing, and it allows visitors to share the information they find through social media. All in all, it's a great piece of environmental communication and a wonderful resource to use as we address the biggest issue we've ever faced.

Rhetorical scholars know the importance of matching communication to the situation, and we're finally reaching that goal in relation to global warming.

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