In my student years, I found that even at MIT and Harvard, company finances were taught and presented in fragmented jigsaw pieces. And the pieces were presented and labeled in ways that made it nearly impossible to put the pieces together, to see and understand the company financial picture. So I figured out how to put the pieces together to reveal a company financial picture – a graphic diagram of a company’s financial plumbing. Then I wrote the book on how to do so. That set me on the path I have followed ever since: developing visual methods of presentation to make things easier to understand.
I‘ve done most of my work of this kind in areas of finance. But when the subject of global warming began to win public attention, back about a quarter century ago, I became so interested that on the side I began to develop sketches about it.
I loved the way the subject of global warming involved me in illustrating elements of various kinds of science, and the way it led me into illustrating aspects of the history of Earth and its atmosphere and climate and life. On the other hand, what the science showed us to be risking terrorized me. I soon had created scores of sketches and other illustrations, growing into a story of our history and the future horrors we are risking.
With continuing rapid growth in research reports and media coverage of global warming, or climate change, I didn’t see any reason for me to try to bring my sketches to public attention.
However, trends of recent years have changed my mind. I think that the kind of thing my illustrations can become, turned into Scrapbook Earth, is desperately needed.
We have massive amounts of research reporting from thousands of scientists, leading to a consensus that we are on a path toward risk of climate change producing unimaginable horror for the future of humankind. And we have such heavy media reporting on climate change that most of the public is familiar with the subject. Yet in surveys of public priorities, the people rate climate change very low , and we elect leaders who rate it even lower, keeping us right on track toward that horrible risk.
One might say ”What we have here . . is a failure to communicate.” But I think what’s missing can be described more precisely as a lack of focus on what is most important for people to know. What the people get about climate change is a snowstorm of elements of the subject – melting of a distant glacier, thawing of tundra somewhere in Siberia, annual temperature up ¼ degree, and so on. And endless discussion of the subject’s bits and pieces. It reminds me of the way investment is presented in university textbooks and fiduciary training: a vast ocean of complex theory, leaving such confusion that even best-intentioned fiduciaries mislead investors into the great financial industry fleece machine.
What we need to tell the people, as clearly as we can, is the single most important thing for us to know in deciding how important it is to change: we are risking the future of human civilization and humankind.
Turned into Scrapbook Earth, my illustrations will present this single most important message vividly, visually.
I’m not a climate scientist, not a scientist in the formal PhD sense. But I think what’s most needed here is to draw from all the science what’s most important for people to know and present it as clearly as possible. For this I have some experience:
> Designing and developing software to guide people from the forest of investment confusion to assessment and selection of prudent investments in terms of probabilities and risks for future financial needs and goals.
> Conducting scores of courses sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs on converting accounting mumbo jumbo into visual clarity.
> Turning the jigsaw pieces of company financial reporting into the company financial picture, and then building 50+ illustrations of the picture into a Houghton Mifflin book.
> Self-publishing an ebook version of my financial picture book, full of illustrations, working with the master of high-quality ebook production, Joshua Tallent the eBook Architect.
But – for Scrapbook Earth to help deliver the message, the key is not me — it’s us, including you. There are floods of books, floods of good books, pouring forth all the time. Most just sink. Most of the rest sink in weeks. For Scrapbook Earth to help spread the understanding we need, we need it to become popular and stay popular. You are needed to sponsor this project, to attract other sponsors, and to spread awareness of Scrapbook Earth and its story and warning as widely as you can.
This is our story. I think spreading what Scrapbook Earth will show is the most important thing we can do. We can’t keep increasing the risk of ending our story that way.