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Winds of Global Symbols

Changing weather in representing global warming

from SubStack of Ujjwal Dey

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Dan Brown brought forth the power of symbols in an entertaining way when people were starting to forget writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Many were surprised with how symbols relevant to civilized humans changed over the years — sometimes in just a few years.

Change in symbols is not to be confused with the theme of transformation as imagined in ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka or ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ by Thomas Harris. For example, the novel ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ by Thomas Harris refers to a moth as symbolic for the serial-killer’s obsession with transforming ‘himself’.

Symbols can represent personal as well as social change. It can even be revolutionary or represent a sanctuary, a place of safety or refuge.

Recently, Twitter changed its famous logo to represent a new vision from the new owner Elon Musk. A logo is not just a brand icon, but also a symbol representing the purpose and ambitions of the company, product or service, the management (and sometimes its users/customers). The word ‘Twitter’ and ‘tweet’ itself may go away as Twitter is currently rebranding to X which is also its new logo.

Symbolic expressions? What’s the easiest symbol to make yourself approachable and friendly? Yup, just smile!

Meanwhile, no one seems to have made as much of an impact on Earthlings with climate related fiction as the late author Michael Crichton’s novel ‘State of Fear’. My consideration for this year 2004 novel is primarily because domestic terrorism is now a reality not just in third world nations but in developed nations as well. People today are ‘offended’ with just about everything. They are retreating into their digital devices and the only social exchange is a public display of dislike and differences between groups.

While referring to Crichton’s novel, ‘Doomsday’ and end-of-the-world is an old concept used since hundreds if not thousands of years to control and coerce society and gain power. Symbols play an important role in events and ideas affecting the whole world.

Want a bad analogy? Here is one…Not all bears are ‘teddy bears’ but they are all important with regards to ecological diversity, ecosystem and environment. Putting them all in a sanctuary or a zoo is not the solution. However, recognizing and celebrating differences while finding ways to co-exist without encroachment or hostility is a learning curve for all lifeforms at present.

Be human (though that may or may not be a good thing as per perspectives).

Meanwhile, below is something more serious than the above:

Why the climate movement doesn’t talk about polar bears anymore

Global warming moved from the North Pole to your backyard — and so did its symbols.

“The hunters in particular have a really deep respect for those big-ass, crazy scarred ones,” National Geographic photographer Yuyan said. “When that bear came down, everyone was like, ‘That one, he’s a survivor. Let him eat. Let him eat!’ Everyone was shouting it.”

Starting about two decades ago, National Geographic and the like began churning out images of lonely, hungry bears adrift on melting ice floes, painting them as the hapless victims of climate change. Whereas charts and statistics had failed to evince much of a reaction from the public, the polar bear sparked sympathy.

Today, that symbol has largely fallen out of fashion. The advocacy group ClimateXChange even says the focus on the polar bear has done a “disservice” to the goals of the movement; a handbook for public engagement for members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading group of climate experts convened by the United Nations, says the image prompts “cynicism and fatigue.”

full story at:

This SubStack from Ujjwal Dey at:
Images by Ujjwal Dey

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