The young folks of Generation Z apparently want to talk about climate change. A lot.
But one website is wondering how a right thinking, modern, mobile-using Generation Z’er can properly talk about climate change without a new set of emojis to facilitate the discussion.
And so, the site is demanding the implementation of tiny new icons to cure that first world problem.
Amidst one of the colder starts to winter in some time, website The Verge laments that emoji use has actually “made it hard to talk about climate change,” and they want that Internet climate to change.
Enter the “Climoji“:
There are no emoji about pollution, wildfires, or rising sea levels. So artists Marina Zurkow and Viniyata Pany launched a set of mobile stickers specifically about climate change, called Climoji.
Taking an end run around the admonition to “use your words” when talking about tough issues, the “Climoji” features tiny, left-wing passion plays in each image.
There is the whale that swallowed the plastic water bottle to shame us to stop using plastic.
Another water bottle adds the skeleton of a fish on it to warn us that bottles kill fish, too.
There is the emoji shaped like a swirling eye of a hurricane because hurricanes are worse… aren’t they?
There is also an emoji showing a kitchen faucet and drinking glass, but with fire coming out instead of water to frighten us about fracking.
Unsurprisingly, we get a toxic waste barrel with a scary skull on it. And we even get the old global warming scare standby of a polar bear standing on a tiny iceberg.
Of course, many of these emojis are pushing false claims. The kitchen faucet spurting fire to discourage fracking is a scare tactic long ago debunked as evidence against the drilling style. We know for a fact that hurricanes are not worse than they have ever been. Even the old saw of the dwindling polar bear population has turned out to be a fraudulent claim.
But Millennials and Gen Z’ers are more worried about the feelz than the facts, and nothing relays feelings better than emojis, so, naturally, a Climoji is a must have for today’s mobile-friendly, emoji-besotted generation.
“Why are some of our primary communication tools avoiding this issue? Why isn’t there even a hurricane icon in the official emoji set?” Climoji artist Zurkow asked Verge.
Indeed, Zurkow imagines her new Climojis to be a new form of indoctrination.
“There’s a lot of studies done on how metaphor enters into language. All emoji are metaphors: lips are a metaphor for love, for kissing someone,” she said. “So, can these things as visual metaphors amplify and naturalize the conversation around climate change?”
Zurkow also says that using her Climojis will prove how “woke” you are.
“For us, it really is chapter one: chapter one is, be awake and be okay with experiencing with how discomfiting this is, without letting your guilt consume you,” she said.
Zurkow was also pleased with the “brown-skinned” character in a life raft whitesplaining that climate change mostly affects “brown people.”
The unfortunate truth is that people who are predominantly brown are going to suffer. It is a demographic problem, right? People who are white or symbolically white are going to do better in the face of climate change. They’re going have more escape hatches, like lifeboats. They’re going to literally have more lifeboats to get out. That’s a fact. That’s happening already.
In the end, Zurkow hopes that her Climojis will help “woke” Gen Z’ers express their terror over global warming and their disgust that white people will likely survive it while having fun in the process.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.