Comics Uniting Nations launches climate change comic for children at COP21December 10, 2015
PARIS, 10 December 2015 — As world leaders continue to convene at COP21 to reach an agreement on climate, Comics Uniting Nations launches a comic to help children and young people understand the effects of climate change.
The comic, Chakra – climate change, features one of India’s leading superheroes, “Chakra The Invincible,” who was created by Stan Lee and Sharad Devarajan, and addresses climate change through the adventures of “Chakra The Invincible” and his best friend, “Mighty Girl”.
Chakra – climate change is the third comic to be released in the three part series created by Comics Uniting Nations, a collaboration between Graphic India, PCI Media Impact, Reading With Pictures, and UNICEF. The series gives people around the world the chance to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to help take action in achieving them.
The comic’s story follows a Model United Nations group discussing the effects of climate change on children and their countries. They decide to call on their superhero friends Chakra the Invincible and Mighty Girl, who try to fix the surface of the problem — using typhoon rains from the Philippines to put out a forest fire in Indonesia. But they soon realize that climate change is too complex to address action by action, even with superpowers. Instead, each community has to learn how to work together, and do its part.
In addition to Chakra – climate change, the series includes Heroes for Change, an introduction to the SDGs and Chakra – gender equality, a story created by Graphic India. Heroes for Change was released in September, when the United Nations officially adopted the new goals. It was distributed globally in 16 different languages as part of The World’s Largest Lesson and has already recorded over 120,000 downloads; its popularity led to official endorsement by the United Nations, including an announcement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the New York Comic Con in October, which attracted over 167,000 comic fans.
In a prerecorded video complete with animated graphics and sound effects, the Secretary General said: “As a kid, I loved comic books. Now, I see how they inspire people. The United Nations and superheroes are both focused on saving humanity from war, injustice, baby aliens and blobs.”
As Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder & CEO of Graphic India notes, “Our mission at Graphic India is to create new globalized superheroes that connect with audiences from Boston to Beijing to Bangalore, so we are thrilled and honored to be working with UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations to bring ‘Chakra The Invincible’, India’s leading superhero, to readers around the world. By creating great comics for kids, we can plant powerful seeds of change that will have a lifelong impact and foster a new generation of global leaders, thinkers and doers to tackle the world’s most pressing issues like climate change and gender inequality.”
Olav Kjorven, Director of Public Partnerships at UNICEF said: “Comics can address challenging topics in unique and entertaining ways. By articulating the principles and values of the global goals through stories, imagery and even some famous characters, we can get people to think about these critical issues and what they mean to their lives, their family and their communities.”
Entertaining narrative is the perfect vehicle for complex lessons like these: we look for role models in the media messages around us, and narrative storytelling has been proven to resonate particularly well. As the organization’s CEO Sean Southey said: “Good content drives good conversation. Good conversation inspires behavior change and shifts social norms. These comics are compelling stories, and they use characters that people can relate to and connect with. This will help the initiative reach target populations effectively, and provoke the discussions needed to create sustainable change.”
However, neither great conversation, nor high-quality content can be effective in a vacuum. Comics Uniting Nations is dependent on the talent and generosity of its advocates and supporters, from the pro bono contributions of industry icons like Graphic India, Sharad Devarajan, Jeevan J. Kang and Stan Lee to language localization by Translation by Design and the unwavering commitment of the initiative’s founding partners. This ever-expanding network has allowed the comics to be made available online, in an ever-increasing number of languages, for free.
As Josh Elder, founder of Reading With Pictures, put it: “Comics combine words and pictures to create a universal language that can speak to everyone. Thanks to the generous contributions of time and talent by comic creators and publishers from around the world – including Dark Horse Comics, IDW, Well Told Story, Bob Layton, Michael Uslan, Margreet de Heer, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, and Jim and Rose McClain – we have been able to use that universal language to spread the SDGs to every corner of the globe. ”
This week, one of the founders of Comics Uniting Nations — Natabara Rollosson — has been actively supporting COP21 working for the UN’s Climate Secretariat. As he notes from Paris: “This comic is a simple, elegant communication tool to break through the complex messaging we usually associate with climate change communication. There should be more people delivering complex information in stories like this. For us, this is just the beginning. There are many important SDG stories to tell, so stay tuned.”
For more information about Comics Uniting Nations and to download the complete climate change comic, visit: www.comicsunitingnations.org.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.
GRAPHIC INDIA is a character entertainment company focused on creating leading characters, comics and stories through mobile and digital platforms. Founded by media entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman, the company’s partners and investors bring together decades of experience in building businesses in character entertainment, media and India. Graphic believes that India is home to some of the most creative talent in the world, with more than 500 million people under the age of 25 and more than 850 million mobile phone users in the country. The Company’s mission is to create enduring stories and heroes that foster the imaginations and fuel the inspirations of a new globalized generation of youth in both India and around the world. www.GraphicIndia.com.
PCI Media Impact is a pioneer and world leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change. We empower communities worldwide to inspire positive social and environmental change through storytelling and creative communications. For 30 years, we have used a unique capacity-building approach to advance the wellbeing of vulnerable populations by improving knowledge, shifting attitudes and changing behaviors on critical social issues. To learn more about PCI Media Impact, visit: www.mediaimpact.org.
Reading With Pictures advocates and supports the use of comics in education to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We collaborate with cartoonists to create exceptional graphic content for scholastic use. We create and curate curriculum materials to support teachers in using comics in the classroom, and we act as “comics ambassadors” by organizing workshops and presenting lectures to audiences around the world. For more about Reading With Pictures, visit: www.readingwithpictures.org.
# # #