Lessons on climate change don’t require wonky charts or boring lectures. They can sometimes be as simple—and cute—as an animated video featuring penguins, an elephant seal, and some researchers ready for the freezing temperatures of Antarctica.


That’s the takeaway from this video released during the Hay Festival, which strives to present art and science ideas to help visitors imagine what the world could be in the future. That, of course, involves some explaining on climate change.

The Trans.MISSION series the festival put on in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council. Message from Antarctica might be its cutest production yet.


The video, created by Emily Shuckburgh, an oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey, and Chris Haughton, an award-winning author and illustrator, is tailored toward younger viewers. “We were trying to make it accessible as possible,” Haughton told Earther in an email.

The video shows the orange-suited scientists taking ice samples to learn about historic levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The science can be a little tricky to explain, but this video makes it easy to digest: Little bubbles in ice tell us how much carbon dioxide existed in the atmosphere in years past. The video goes on to explain how scientists have used this information to show that carbon emissions today are off the charts—and what that means for the world around us.

Artists can play a major role in conversations around climate change, collaborating with scientists in the past to create a hope-filled children’s book, this museum-worth visualization of rising temperatures, and much more. The rest of the videos in the Trans.MISSION series, which include lessons on clean air and weather, also use art to captivate audiences in a way that numbers and words sometimes can’t.

Watch the other videos here.


Yessenia Funes is a senior staff writer with Earther. She loves all things environmental justice and dreams of writing children's books.

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