A New Visual Language for Climate Change

Climate Outreach

A New Visual Language for Climate Change

Climate Outreach

Currently, the understanding of the role that images play in communication about climate change is very limited. The project builds on the first international analysis of which images work and which do not. It aims to transform the visual language of climate change in order ultimately to bring about more committed and compassionate personal engagement from citizens at an international level.

Despite the energy and resources dedicated to communication and campaigning on climate change, understanding how to effectively engage people using visual images is much more limited. The climate change iconography, that has taken root over the past 25 years of polar bears, melting ice-caps, smokestacks, etc. undermines the effectiveness of campaign messages.

It is a barrier to personal behavioural engagement and detracts from the reach and value of journalistic reporting on climate change. A more compelling and diverse visual language for climate change is urgently required.

In this project, Climate Outreach will use their unique position to match the social research on effective visual communication with the practical goals of campaigners. This multi-layered and strategic intervention will shift the visual language of climate change out of the “green ghetto” and into the mainstream.



Climate Outreach

Climate Visuals – Creating & Catalysing a New Visual Language for Climate Change

Programme Area:
Sustainable Behaviour


DKK 2,099,493


Climate Outreach is a politically independent, Oxford‐based, non‐profit organisation. With 12 years of experience, the organisation seeks to broaden public engagement with climate change. Through the Climate Visuals Project, Climate Outreach seeks to:

  • Change the working practices of globally-influential photographic agencies
  • Build, train and support an active ‘user‐community’ of influential visual communicators
  • Establish the Climate Visual website and image library as a key international resource
  • Secure a future for the Climate Visual programme
Climate Outreach map

Location of the project’s activities