Last spring when the whole world went into lockdown, carbon dioxide emissions quickly plummeted. Although by June the emissions had already bounced back1, this shows that change is possible with rapid and radical actions. Humans are however not wired to tackle complex and long-term threats, such as climate change, with such intensity.² To overcome this obstacle, Nordic’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published a font to visualize climate change and its impact. Font shows how Arctic sea ice is predicted to shrink due to climate change.
Visualize climate change
To make climate change and its effects easier to grasp, newspaper Helsingin Sanomat developed The Climate Crisis Font that visualizes the urgency for climate action. The font’s weight varies according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s (NSIDC) data from 1979 to 2019 and continues with IPCC’s projection³ until 2050. In other words, every headline, comment or article written with the font will exemplify the real impact of climate change to the arctic sea ice extent.
“Our mission is to make complex matters more comprehensible for our readers. What the past year has taught us is that humankind is much more adept to act when faced with an abrupt threat such as COVID-19. So when it comes to more complex issues such as climate change we need to find different ways to concretize the urgency”, says Kaius Niemi, Editor-in-chief from Helsingin Sanomat.
“The ongoing pandemic is by no means a reason for us to stop fighting against climate change”.
Font is freely available for download
The heaviest font weight represents the minimum extent of the Arctic sea ice in the year 1979, when satellite measuring began. The lightest weight represents IPCC’s 2050 forecast, when the Arctic sea ice minimum is expected to have shrunk to only 30 % of the 1979 extent.
“These kinds of new methods of journalistic storytelling compliment our recent investments in data journalism. Yet, we don’t just want to keep it to ourselves, which is why we are giving it out for free and hope to see it in use elsewhere as well”, says Tuomas Jääskeläinen, the Art Director of Helsingin Sanomat.
The font is freely available for download here. Helsingin Sanomat itself recently used the font in a collection of its climate change articles published during 1979–2020. The collection shows how attitudes towards climate change have changed over the years in relation to its progress and the dwindling Arctic sea ice.