HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Climate change isn’t usually considered a funny topic, but Hastings cartoonist Isabella Bannerman is providing a bit of comedic relief after winning the Union of Concerned Scientists’ annual Editorial Cartoon Contest. Her cartoon pokes fun at the serious subject of pollution and will be featured on the cover of the 2013 Editorial Cartoon Calendar put out by the organization.
“I thought if denial is always with them it’s like a renewable resource,” Bannerman said. “From there I thought, well, what’s the image that goes with that? Some things about climate change aren’t visible, but smokestacks are visible.”
Bannerman didn’t have to look far for inspiration for the cartoon. Growing up in Buffalo, N.Y. provided Bannerman with plenty of images and memories of towering smokestacks spewing pollution, she said.
“We’d have these gorgeous orange sunsets every night and as a kid I didn’t know, but the reason they’re like that is because there’s so much soot in the air.”
The contest organizers choose 12 finalists and then choose one of those finalists to be on the cover, while the rest get a spot on a month page, Bannerman said. The calendar comes out in October and is sold as part of the organization’s fundraising and awareness efforts.
Winning the calendar contest isn’t the first time Bannerman’s work will be on display for the world. Earlier in her career, Bannerman worked on “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” the children’s show, “Doug,” a Madonna movie and various commercial advertisements. Since 2000, Bannerman has been one of the six women who draw the syndicated comic Six Chix.
Bannerman said she hopes the cartoon will bring awareness to the climate change crisis and also help people with different opinions find a common ground.
“Cartoons can be like an entryway into finding out more about an issue and I think humor can also bring people together who would otherwise disagree,” Bannerman said.
Bannerman said although she doesn’t want people to deny climate change, a bit of denial is necessary in everyday life because taking on all of the problems in the world at once is just too much for one person to handle.
“Even though it’s kind of a cynical take on the subject, it’s a catharsis,” Bannerman said. “So many people are worried about this issue and want to do something about it.”