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Just downloading, much less reading, the entire 2,000-page-plus Fifth Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change takes a long time. Anna Fahey reports on the images in that video above:

What if we could communicate the essence of this important information in plain language and pictures? Well, that’s just what one Northwest oceanographer has done. He’s distilled the entire report into 19 illustrated haiku.

The result is stunning, sobering, and brilliant. It’s poetry. It’s a work of art. But it doubles as clear, concise, powerful talking points and a compelling visual guide.

How did it come about? Housebound with a rotten cold one recent weekend, Greg Johnson found himself paring his key takeaways from the IPCC report into haiku. He finds that the constraints of the form focus his thoughts (he told me he posts exclusively in haiku on Facebook), and described the process as a sort of meditation. He never intended to share these “IPCC” poems.

Johnson’s daughter, an artist, inspired him to try his hand at watercolors. On a whim he illustrated each haiku and shared the results with family and a few friends. [...]

Condensing to this degree is not how scientists typically operate. But, as Johnson proves, scientists can also be poets. Still, he’s is quick to caution that this is his own unofficial artistic interpretation and that it omits all the quantitative details and the IPCC’s scientific qualifications.

Just goes to show how outstanding beauty can be created out of even grim tidings, which certainly is what the Fifth Assessment contains.

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