The UNICEF launched in October the first-ever climate change comic contest, where children and youth across the globe were invited to design superpower comic characters to fight climate change. The international agency announced the 20 selected finalists among 2,895 total submissions from youth across 99 countries on Monday.
The comics designed by the finalists will be featured on the contest website throughout the duration of the Bonn 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) from November 6-17. The COP23 will see discussions of the way forward after the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Also, over the period of the conference, top comic superheroes will be presented to the U.N. membership, broadcasted on Bonn public transport and displayed at the COP23 conference.
The contest is opened for public voting. The character who receives the most votes will be declared the winner and will go on to be featured in a full-length comic book. Voting closes on November 17, and the winner will be announced on November 30.
The contest is created by UNICEF to inspire and engage children and youth to take climate action through comic design. It is a message to world leaders participating at the COP23 that young people take the threat of climate change seriously and that they need to be engaged in climate action.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) November 6, 2017
Also, it shows the world that young people possess creative superpowers to protect the planet “We encourage the public to keep up the enthusiasm and support for the young people who have participated in the contest by voting for their top finalist,” said co-founder of the Comics Uniting Nations project Natabara Rollosson.
To inspire the participants, UNICEF listed a list of facts about climate change on its website, including that climate change is caused by human activity, it impacts severe weather events which affect children the most, it leads to more disease like malaria, dengue, zika. UNICEF also listed superpowers including mind reading, time travel, flight, invisibility, light generation, thermal resistance and underwater breathing.
The 20 contest finalists are from 19 different countries: Bahrain, Canada, Cuba, China, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.K., the U.S., and Uzbekistan.
In 2015, the U.N. teamed up with Spiderman creator Stan Lee to prepare a comic book about climate change. The book is part of the Comics Uniting Nations’ project, which aims to make the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more accessible to people through comics in partnership with academic, publishing and technology partners around the world.
“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,” said the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the launching event of the Comics Uniting Nations’ project.
Later in 2015, at the COP21 in Paris, the comic book Chakra – climate change was released featuring two superheroes, Chakra the Invincible and Mighty Girl, who are trying to take action against climate change.
According to a U.N. statement, Chakra the Invincible and Mighty Girl tried to fix a climate-change-related problem that appeared in Indonesia by using typhoon rains from the Philippines. The comics book continues to illustrate that climate change was too complex to be addressed by their superpowers only, so each community had to learn how to work together to face climate change.
Later, two comics books were produced and distributed globally by the Comics Uniting Nations project: Heroes for Change – an introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals and Chakra – and Gender Equality.