Oxfam A – Development

Carbon Selfie

During the second meeting, we decided that one of the strongest ideas for this brief could be the idea of ‘Greenwashing’ and how a company, or entity might signal that they are green but in fact have an underlying carbon footprint. For example, using online streaming services, such as Spotify are actually worse for the environment than producing physical media in plastic, owing to the amount of energy it takes to send content over the internet (Blistein, 2019), and the use of cotton ‘tote’ bags over their plastic equivalent also have a pretty significant cost and need to be reused over 120 times for the offset to take effect (Edgington, 2019).

Aiming to stick with an online impact, we discussed the impact of the internet on the environment and there are figures that suggest that it contributes around 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse emissions (Griffiths, 2020). Where this relates to the ‘Your Street & Climate Change’ brief could be in raising awareness of this impact as it impacts all of us; we are all users of the internet, social media and mobile devices so all are contributing to this significant effect on climate change.

How do you raise awareness?

My idea is to create a viral social media campaign that could include short mobile device advertisements, hashtags, and even Instagram and/or Snapchat filters. It is worth noting however, that this would also have an impact on the environment by its very nature so it would be important to weight the cost/benefit of such a campaign. Ultimately, I believe that in order to cut-through in today’s online world, it is important to use the platform that everyone is currently engaged with – or risk such a campaign being ignored.

The goal of such a campaign might be to set a date where people could take part in a ‘world social media detox’ in a similar way to how the ‘Earth Hour’ works. This would focus on internet use.

Testing my idea
Figure 1: Phil Hill (October, 2020) Initial test for a viral video campaign.

To play with the idea of a viral social media campaign, I decided to utilise the statistics and see how that might look in the format of a quick video that would appear in the timeline of a social media app (Fig: 1). I feel that there is potential for a kind of interruption of the usual scrolling that takes place and may even have some kind of interaction with after they have uploaded a selfie.

I used a series of selfie images as a stand in for anything produced for the campaign that cycle quickly through to denote the amount of images uploaded to the internet every second. The text ‘Did you know that your #selfie costs 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse emissions’ is animated and plays through the duration of the short video. In order to give this additional clarity, I added a green layer in between with an 80% opacity, which also creates a link to Oxfam branding.

This is an initial test, so completely rough. The text could benefit from being slightly faster and there is also opportunity to add additional copy, such as the source of the statistics and additional Oxfam Branding.

Bibliography

Blistein, J., 2019. Is Streaming Music Dangerous to the Environment? One Researcher Is Sounding the Alarm. [Online] Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/environmental-impact-streaming-music-835220/ [Accessed 7 October 2020].

Edgington, T., 2019. Plastic or paper: Which bag is greener?. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47027792 [Accessed 7 October 2020].

Griffiths, S., 2020. Why your internet habits are not as clean as you think. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think [Accessed 7 October 2020].

Oxfam A initial Idea

I decided to select the Oxfam A as I am quite interested in exploring the idea of climate change on my own street. It aligns quite well with the research and my investigations into the idea of community and that I have already begun to create work based in my local area.

One of my key goals for Sustainable prospects was also to see how I might apply the focus of my research project and its core idea into a more commercially viable project, so this creates an embedded opportunity for me to consider first. It also means that there is potential for crossover and any of the images that I create for the brief might also sit quite well in the broader project that I am working on this module.

1. Your Street & Climate Change

Coming up with a concept that shows how climate change impacts everyone, not just how it is perceived in media as happening in other places far away. There is a topicality to how we are being impacted during the pandemic and arguments as to if Covid-19 was as a result of climate change, with no clear evidence that suggests so. However, there are other drug resistant Pathogens that are becoming more and more dangerous as a result of climate change (Richtel & Jacobs, 2019).

We are surrounded by all kinds of fungus, which are unable to live in the human body owing to our warm blood and a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, which the fungi will die off as it lives at much lower temps. Yet, one particular strain known as Candida Auris has been infecting a number of people around the world leading to deaths in some of the cases (Webster, 2020). What is being suggested, is that this fungus is periodically being exposed to warmer and warmer days as the climate is heating up ono average every year. As a result, it is able to survive at much higher temperatures, which crucially means that it can also survive in the human body causing disease (2020). Additionally, there has been a steady decline in body temperatures, especially in western culture, which has been linked to the way modern medicine has had an impact on our ability to survive many illnesses (Casadevall, et al., 2019).

What is quite striking about Candida Auris is that it exists everywhere, including on the streets that we live. Until now it has not posed a threat, until climate change has created the conditions for its need to survive at higher temperatures. This is something that has the potential to impact all of us and could even lead to the next pandemic if not addressed.

This is an initial idea at this stage, but I do see some potential in exploring it as a way to highlight that climate change impacts everyone and Is not just something that effects those in faraway places. I will pitch the idea as I feel that it can fit the Oxfam brief however, do realise that it also has a lot of links to the Welcome Trust ‘Climate and Health’ brief. If we as a group decide to create something else for the Oxfam A challenge, I may still explore this one independently and submit to the Welcome Trust photo competition as I feel it should be explored.

Bibliography

Casadevall, A., Kontoyiannis, D. P. & Vincent, R., 2019. On the Emergence of Candida auris: Climate Change, Azoles, Swamps, and Birds. American Society for Microbiology.

Richtel, M. & Jacobs, A., 2019. A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy: The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs.. [Online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/health/drug-resistant-candida-auris.html
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Webster, M., 2020. Radiolab Podcast – Fungus Amungus. [Online]
Available at: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/fungus-amungus
[Accessed 1 October 2020].