How might we communicate topics of sustainability to new audiences?
A whole new terminology around climate change is being created in schools, in the media, and in business reporting, but most of us feel confused, ambiguous, or lost amidst this new language. Climate change in itself is a nebulous concept that can manifest across many industries which seemingly have little in common, from economics to design to urban planning.
As the movement towards a “triple bottom line” of sustainability emerges and upholds many people’s desire for a reduced environmental footprint combined with greater social and economic equity, many more are seeking accessible and informative resources to educate themselves on the fundamentals of climate change.
Yet despite this surge in demand, most knowledge around how climate change will affect our political economy remains buried in dense academic literature and boggled by specialist vernaculars that the average person would never be able to locate nor understand.
THE DESIGN CONTEXT
Everyday language is constantly evolving, and with that, so is how we consume and understand literature. A truly accessible resource needs to account for a wide- ranging diversity of skills, linguistics, and capabilities, many of which are not covered by the traditional publishing industry.
A guide for the public on relatively complex topics relating to climate change must first use a consistently colloquial language that someone with a middle-school vocabulary can understand; this not only opens up our audience to most of the population, but also makes our literature a great primer for younger students interested in entering fields for climate change mitigation.
Secondly, the literature must be developed in several versions which accommodate for people of different aptitudes, including multilingual versions, versions for the neurodiverse, and audio versions for those with trouble reading.
Finally, any designed material with text should be complemented with a range of graphics and visuals to invoke a greater sense of dynamism in the publication. By letting these parameters inform how an open-source resource should be designed, the final product can truly be considered a “guide for the public” as it responds, first and foremost, to the actual needs of the public.
The Public’s Guide is a book series providing primers on emerging fields and movements which in some way respond to climate change.
We currently have three books in development: The Public’s Guide to Climate Economics by Noemi Florea, which will be released in 2023; The Public’s Guide to Sustainable Design by Noemi Florea, which will be released in 2023; and The Public’s Guide to Gentrification by Max Scott and edited by Noemi Florea, which will be released in 2024.
Each book ranges in word count between 15,000 to 25,000 words, making them short illustrative primers of approximately 100 pages designed to introduce readers to their respective subjects in ways which incite interest for further reading and research.
In additional to their concise and colloquial texts, these books are illustrated with a significant number of graphics and diagrams which break down more complex concepts into dynamic visualizations that allow readers to quickly and easily grasp them. Much of the content available within books will also be available online at the time of release in the form of short articles and even games designed to make the information as digestible and engaging as possible.