Viridian Design Contest

Greenhouse Disaster Symbol:

Design Criteria from Viridian Note 00147: There's no easy and immediate way for a passer-by to connect these many disasters to their coherent source: the Greenhouse Effect. Imagine that you were puking and losing your hair. A handy Nuclear Radiation symbol would make causation quite clear. An outbreak of cultured anthrax downwind from a BioHazard symbol would be no big mystery, either. But a Greenhouse Disaster lacks a simple, striking logo.

Since the health authorities are a little remiss in this matter, it's up to eager amateurs to make the invisible visible. This situation requires some very simple stencil, a wordless survival warning like a hobo's sign, that can be quickly chalked or sprayed onto a typical wrecked bridge or drowned beachhouse. This symbol should convey the useful message that this mishap is, in fact, no mishap. It is part-and-parcel of an ongoing Greenhouse crisis.

This simple, multinational symbol should be especially suited for use in the Third World, where literacy rates are low, communication is spotty, infrastructure is limited and disasters are especially spectacular.

Number One: Possibly an example of it being best to go with one's first instinct. Three concentric circles with a bulls-eye; Target Earth.

Number Two: Same general theme. I thought the pointyness might suggest, you know, a threat or disaster.


Number Three: A bit of a different variation; the six circles represent the six electrons in the carbon atom. This at least identifies the culprit.

In thinking of what a universal greenhouse disaster symbol should be, even without Bruce's references one would first think of the universally-known radiation and biohazard symbols. Those two glyphs have several traits in common: they are symmetrical, they are effective in one color, they are easily reproducible (i.e. with a simple stencil) and are comprised of simple, geometric forms.

Neither the radiation hazard nor biohazard glyphs have any real symbolic link to the dangers they warn of. The hardwired fight-or-flight sensation they can produce is the product of their universal, long-term use in the context of, "If you can read this, you're hosed." I hoped to put together a greehnouse glyph with at least some symbolic link to the dangers it warns of.

The greenhouse disaster glyph represents a shrinking Earth in the sense of a reduced area of habitability and carrying capacity. This is represented by the concentric green circles. The white crossbars can be inferred to represent the division and separation of habitable areas and ecosystems or just that this thing the glyph is attached to is/was in the bulls-eye. The white bars also provide anchors for a stencil pattern.

Connor W. Anderson 17 May, 2000

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