The Entire IPCC Report in 19 Illustrated Haiku

A work of art that doubles as powerful talking points and a visual guide.
This post is part of the research project: Flashcards
The Future.

Reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can be daunting, even for science and policy insiders. The full Physical Science Assessment, the first installment of the Fifth Assessment Report (pdf), released in manuscript form earlier this year, is over 2,000 pages long.

And even the Summary for Policymakers, rather optimistically referred to as a “brochure,” is a dense 27 pages.

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 that 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.

When I got wind of it, I had to see it. And I’m glad I got the chance. I immediately wanted everybody I know to see it too!

Condensing to this degree is not how scientists typically operate. But, as Johnson proves, scientists can also be poets. Still, he’s 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.

Therein lies the beauty; stripped of the jargon and unfathomably large numbers, the limitations and the scales of confidence that confound and distract us laypeople, it is an arresting and informative entree into the science—not, of course, a substitute for the full report.

We are delighted to share Johnson’s beautiful meditation here (Also as a PDF, DIY booklet, and video slide show for personal or educational nonprofit use.).

Climate Change Science 2013: Haiku, by Gregory C. Johnson.


Big, fast carbon surge.


















A note from Greg Johnson: This work is an attempt to distill into haiku “The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group 1 Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report.” The result is solely my own creation, so any views or opinions expressed herein are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Government, the IPCC, or any other entity.

Interested in using Dr. Johnson’s series for personal or educational use? Please download it in your preferred format below. However, explicit permission must be granted by Sightline and Greg Johnson for republishing this work in full or in part. In no instance may the work be republished for profit.

  • Presentation: All slides, full size (PDF)
  • Print-out: All slides, 6 per page (PDF)
  • Booklet: Slides arranged with instructions to cut and fold into a booklet (PDF)
  • Video (not downloadable):


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  1. Deb Rudnick says:

    Bravo and well done Greg! I love it! Climate change and haiku making are two of my passions as well and its so creative and powerful to see these two things combined! The video needs a voice-over, Im thinking Samuel L. Jackson. :-)

    • robin birdfeather says:

      Very moving and effective. Strongly support the suggestion of Samuel L. Jackson as the voice-over!

  2. Liz Banse says:

    Greg, kudos! Wow. Amazing work.

  3. Russ rankin says:

    Wonderful Gregg, so proud to know you and your family. Keep up the good work. Picking up where Dad left off!

  4. Brandon Murphy says:

    Great work capturing the essence of the IPCC message! I plan on sharing this with my students.

  5. joyce johnson says:

    Dear Greg,

    It is wonderful that your booklet is available now to so many people. A great teaching tool for all ages. One of my friends asked me for 5 booklets, yesterday. Your father and I are so very proud of you and your work. I will be sharing this link with many friends.

    Mom Joyous

    • Win and Barbara Burr says:

      We were blown away by the beauty and simplicity of this. It’s genius!! Keep up the great work. Best wishes, Win and Barbara Burr

  6. Johannes says:

    Great Greg!

    and: I checked with my kids – they like it too!!

  7. christelle b says:


    how can I ask for permission to use some of the pictures to illustrate a Climate Change Impacts work that is aimed at scientists.

    Let me know!

    • Anna Fahey says:

      Christelle, send us an email and we’ll figure out what permissions we can grant. first name (@)

      • Raymond Johnson says:

        I write, for free, no charge, a monthly article for our local paper on Climate Science. The paper is the Press Republican. I stick to the science and not opinion or politics. I would like to use one or more of G. Johnson’s watercolors and poetry in one of my articles.
        Please advise. Many thanks,
        Raymond Johnson

      • Serena Larkin says:

        Thanks, Raymond. Look for an email from me with details later this morning.

      • andrew says:

        Quote — A work of art that doubles as powerful talking points and a visual guide. –

        I have been using art, creativity in realms associated with topics you consider for some time now (1996)

        I would prefer to send you something about that off blog – would you please advise me of your e-mail and I will share some examples.

        I live near Oxford, UK.


  8. Paul Rifkin says:


    Powerful words,
    evocative watercolors…
    much terrifying wisdom

    So proud to be a friend of your wonderful parents,
    Charles and Joyce!

    • Jessie says:

      amazing. i will use this when i teach about climate change.
      THANKS so much for sharing.

  9. marvie m. says:

    Thank you for doing this! Totally brilliant!

  10. Fireweed says:

    Wonderful Greg, thankyou! I so wish you could add a few cows to one of your graphics….we don’t have much time left to emphasize that we can all make a difference through the power of our food choices!!

    • Sam Berman says:

      It is so very important to link food choices and all of our health to global warming. Our food choices have a direct affect on our health; Most folks don’t realize that by making healthy food choices, they will be making healthy choices for the planet as a whole.

      The message has to get to our “representatives.” They are currently endangering all of our health for a buck.

  11. Victoria Serda says:

    Thanks so much Greg! I’m going to share this with the Climate Reality Project’s networks, because there are over 4000 people trained as volunteer Climate Leaders who may want to use your brilliant summary in their free educational presentations.

    I appreciate your immense ability to simplify and convey the report’s complexity.

  12. Michèle Sato says:

    thanks for sharing such wonderful post
    i loved it!

    hugs from brazil

  13. S. Oestreicher says:

    Beautiful summary! I appreciate the evocative image paired with the “History, Air” Hiaku. I often think of only the negative results of more rain. It’s nice to also have the possible, verdant view of the future. These slides are a lovely, accessible summary!

  14. Mark Duffett says:

    Superb, though the last picture would be much more powerful and apposite with the addition of something like this:

  15. Prof L Prasad Bangalore says:

    For me, one slide says it all:
    “Forty years from now
    children will live in a world
    shaped by our choices…”

  16. Liz Freedlander says:

    While I also find this brilliantly illustrative, my main reaction is to feel very sad for the uncertain and dark future it describes for my grandchildren.

  17. LASER Science Podcast says:

    These are beautiful, I’m glad to see such a publicly accessible and understandable summary of such important information.

  18. Bridging Entertainment says:


    were Bridging Entertainment, Were currently in development of an app that will launch sometime before the summer of 2014. Our team comprises of people that has had years in experience in the game/entertainment industry. We started this company because we found a need to create a bridge between entertainment and direct funding for good causes. To have messages like this be brought to the public in a much more fun and engaging way, through mobile interactivity. But most importantly, to instill knowledge and to get people concerned and engage to things that matter.

    The work we see here, already has a lot of potential to get people aware of a pressing problem, but a collaborative effort needs to be create in order to help heal problems like this quicker and faster.

    The work presented here, is just beautiful and i would like to thank greg personally for his efforts, if anyone of you know people like him or would like to be apart of this effort or shares the same interest as us, do contact us at [email protected]

    Collaboration is needed to help heal the world,

    Yours Sincerely,

  19. Reziah Khan says:

    Absoultely wonderful! Very creative.
    My attempt:

    Monetary gain
    Dreaming logical thinking
    To each point of view

    Gentle on our land
    Sustainable in our plan
    Ancestors have taught

  20. monica mc namara says:

    Explains it so simply. Beautiful drawings. Thank you.

  21. James Curran says:

    This is a great way to get the message across.

  22. Joe Rooney says:

    Global warming; Why?
    Milankivic foretold this
    Insolation; No?

  23. Ian says:

    Very cool! I look forward to sharing this with my elementary science methods students.

  24. Lokendra Thakkar says:

    Superb piece of work. This is highly creative. I will use it in my presentation and tals on climate change. I will try to translate poetry in haiku form in Hindi let us see if I can keep the spirit alive. Congratulations.

    Lokendra Thakkar
    Bhopal India

    • Prasanta tripathy says:

      Dear Lokendra,
      I agree with you completely. Please share the materials after you have translated in Hindi. I know that you will do a womderful job.
      Best Wishes

    • Greg says:

      Dear Lokendra,

      If you do translate it into Hindi, please let us know where to find the translation!

      Greg Johnson

  25. Kathleen Perry says:

    As an educator, my students participated in such projects. They also created wonderful public service announcements on similar subjects. If they make their own flash cards, that is great, but I don’t advise using flash cards as an educational tool.

  26. Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy says:

    They are beautiful narration but what is the reality? see below my observations on IPCC’s report:

    It is argued by the IPCC that models that predict future temperature scenarios are based on physical principles but at the same time accepting the fact that there are several other localized or globalized factors contributing to it. Such factors are rarely accounted for in their models. Thus, there are no clear cut physical principles concerning global warming. It is basically statistical inferences that vary with data and period. The IPCC uses the number of people accepting the predictions to validate it. In science, unless they are verified by ground realities, they are generally termed as “hypothetical”, which has no meaning in science. The IPCC is sensationalizing the impacts based on such hypothetical predictions on several processes, including agriculture.

    The IPCC, UN, Media, agencies like World Bank, Oxfam, CGIAR, etc. are using Climate Change as synonymous to Global Warming. This is not so; Global Warming is one component of Climate Change in which natural variations play vital role with extremes forming a part. The World Meteorological Organization of United Nations (WMO/UN) published a manual on “Climate Change” as far back as 1966. It dealt with methods to separate man-induced variations from natural variations. Natural variations are beyond human control, only we have to adapt to them. On the contrary, the impact of global warming must present a trend, increasing or decreasing to ascertain its impacts. The IPCC and UN bodies are talking about individual events that are part of natural variations as associated with increased global temperatures.
    These are highlighted by the media with misleading headlines. By attributing the impacts associated with normal climate extremes within the limits of Climate Normals and rhythms present in meteorological parameters to global warming is dangerous.
    Now the IPCC itself has agreed that 100% of the raise in global temperature is not associated with the raise in Anthropogenic Greenhouse gases and agreed that around 10% is contributed by urban-heat-island effects – this contributes to rise in night time temperature and lower layers of troposphere temperature. These are localized effects.
    Same is the case with changes in land use and land cover, known as Ecological changes. The majority of meteorological stations are in urban areas and thus urban-heat-island effect is going to be added to global warming component and on the contrary meteorological stations are sparsely located in rural areas that generate cold-island-effect due to increased activity of irrigated agriculture and spread of irrigation reservoirs is not going in to global warming component – however, this may create a trend in precipitation at local and regional scales like that seen in AP precipitation.
    In all around 50% of raise shown under global warming is influencing the local and regional aspects but not national and global aspects like sea level raise, ice melt, etc. Southern hemisphere with less number of urban areas, with less ecological changes and with more area under ocean waters showed lower temperature raise over the average pattern. In the case of Northern Hemisphere with more urban areas, more ecological changes and with less area under ocean waters showed higher temperature rise over the average pattern.
    It is a fact that in the last 17 years there has been no significant change in temperature, including ocean temperatures; ice melt in Arctic and Antarctic zones are within the standard deviation around the mean; no change in precipitation – monsoons, etc. In association with local conditions and natural disasters the sea levels show rises in some places, falls in some places, and no change in the majority of places.
    Ice is confined to outside the South Polar Ring and inside the North Polar Ring. That means South Polar ice melt is the true reflection of global warming impact on ice melt. At present it is not showing any melt in the Southern Polar zones. The Southern Polar zones are on the contrary building ice. North Polar zones are losing the ice but this is within the long-term standard deviation around the mean – within the accepted statistical terms. In the North Polar zone, impacts other than climate are also contributing to ice melt.
    Alaska shows a large fall in sea level. Along the USA coastlines, a large part showed a 0 to 1.0 feet fall, this may be associated with human activity along the coastal zones, tidal erosion, etc. [San Francisco airport does not show any sea level rise]. Also, error variations are far higher than the estimated rise, which is not statistically significant. In addition, all these localized natural variations play a vital role – even the global temperature showed a 60-year cycle – sine curve. Cyclonic activities including Hurricanes and Typhoons – and precipitation, all present cyclic variations. With the growing population of the planet, and building more structures in the path of cyclonic storms – that includes Hurricanes & Typhoons – and Tornadoes, and thus this makes ordinary storms more damaging.
    Food production, food security & nutrition security are not affected by global warming. Floods and droughts are part of rhythms in precipitation, however, their impacts are modified by agriculture technology and ecological changes. Food includes not only agricultural products but also include several others such as Dairy products, Poultry products, Sea & Water products [fish & prawns], Animal products [meat], etc.
    These are affected by agriculture technology and pollution components and not by global warming as crops adapt to temperature regimes which is evident from extremes in temperature given under climate normal data. These, along with ecological changes are the major contributors of destruction of biodiversity – on land, in water including oceans. Pollution, more particularly from new agriculture technology, is the major source of health hazards globally and not associated with Global Warming. Global Warming is in fact a brain-child to counter the Environmental Movement against pollution, more particularly agriculture pollution, initiated in late 60s and early 70s.
    In the agricultural perspective, these matter: stop wastage of food; plan better utilization of water resources; shift from chemical inputs to organic inputs technology that help reducing pollution and public health aspects; do not forget that the losses due to intense weather systems increase with the population growth. Globally, cold waves are affecting many more vulnerable people than heat waves. Wild fires have nothing to do with global warming. Dry weather helps spread of fire over wet weather, which is nothing to do with global warming.
    Please see the following two articles published in “Mail online 19th December” how the climate change is misused to pocket money:–cash-in.html

    “The Great green con: MPs, Lords and lobbyists who advise Ministers on eco-policies —- then cash in”

    “ The fatcat ecocrats exposed: Web of ‘green’ politicians, tycoons and power brokers who help each other benefit from billions raised on your bills“

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
    Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN & Expert – FAO/UN

    • Sandhprakashi Bhide says:

      Hello Jeevananda
      We can try all the intellectual arguments and statistics to prove our points. But you can look at this rather simplistically and get the essence of it. You do not have to have a quantitative argument. Qualitative argument should get you there.
      1. First of all, compared to the radius of the earth (7000+ miles), the thickness of breathable air is rather thin. When I climb or drive at the Rocky Mountain National park at 12,500 feet or climb Pike’s Peak at 14,000 feet, I can hardly breathe and my car can hardly function. This tells me that I have a rather thin veneer of air at my disposable and which I should not screw around with. The Oxygen portion is barely 1/5 of it. So, the available resource is rather small for sustenance.
      2. Secondly, post industrial revolution, more machinery and industry are taking competing for that Oxygen (coal plants).
      3. The population growth indicated even more individual breathing more Oxygen and creating CO2. The consumption of resources: food, water and other resources have gone up in proportion to the population growth. So, all of that on demand side.
      4. The total square Kms of forest land creating Oxygen has gone down creating lesser Oxygen.
      5. So, the prior balance of O2 and CO2 has shifted with to more CO2 and more pollutants.
      6. Both Co2 and other particulate matter and gases hold more heat.
      7. Less O2 and more Co2 cannot be good for humans (obvious).
      8. Al so far I talked about are man-made changes. I did not talk about natural causes such as volcanoes, meteors hitting the earth – why? Because of these are beyond my control.
      9. How many babies should I create, how much I drive, how much water to use for my bath, how much to eat, how much food I should process, whether I should throw goods or fix them, whether I should cut the forests, how much plastic I should use, … all under my control. I should control what I can control and what I cannot control (increased solar radiation), I should leave it alone.
      10. I should make every effort to minimize my wrongdoing and let nature worry about its own.
      11. We do not need mumbo-jumbo statistics and attitude of show me and then only I would believe. Instead as humans do, think ahead of time, connect the dots, look at things qualitatively, take the obvious actions first, and then go about proving someone is wrong.
      12. Err on the positive side. Later on if we find out there is no correlation between earth warming and coal burning so be it. I would rather not do bad things (for example, it is like saying, do not breastfeed the child until I prove mother’s milk is good for the babies. For thousands of years, females have done that, so do that or continue doing that first and then in the spare time figure out why it is or it is not good for babies.
      13. Scientific arguments can be qualitative. Sometimes the data is unknown, unknowable, and sometimes the cost of acquiring data may not be worthwhile or prohibitive.
      14. At the of the day, you have to ask “is it a right thing to do”. For example, should I do things just because they are there. Just because I can kill animals, does that mean I should go on killing as many as I want, or I just kill a deer just for my sustenance.
      15. The fuels, coals, gases, oil have taken millions of years of earth processes to form. If we use them in an out of control fashion, it will take another million years to form them, so shouldn’t we use them judiciously or behave out of control.
      16. What I am saying, is use common sense approach. By the time, you prove things right or wrong, it might be too late to correct. So, my approach is to do what is right (reduce consumption, reduce global warming activities) and in the meantime continue science. As you pointed out ” there are several other localized or globalized factors contributing to it. Such factors are rarely accounted for” and these factor may NEVER be able to get accounted for or the cost of getting the data might exceed the cost of its intended result.
      17. I know I have not written this coherently, but more as a stream as it came to mind. So, the flow may not be right, but I hope you get the central argument. BTW, I have a strong math/science/engineering/technology background, so I am not talking with some experience and background …

      • Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy says:

        Impacts of Pollution on Environment: Myths & Realities!!
        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

        An article of mine published in Platinum Jubilee Compendium of Institute of Engineers [AP Chapter] —

        “Pollution is part and parcel of growth & development. Pollution impacts environment directly and indirectly. Humans are part of environment. The presence of pollution in the environment causes numerous problems to nature as well as to life forms on the Planet Earth. Environment is facing two sources of pollution, namely point sources and non-point sources. To control or to reduce point source pollution governments brought in laws & acts as well standards and agencies to monitor them. In the case of non-point source pollution there is no such mechanism as it involves change in technology which needs government intervention and support.”
        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
        Science has empowered humankind with the knowledge and secrets of universe and the role human beings can play towards ensuring sustainable Planet, the “Earth” and ensuring a healthy and happy life within one’s life span and transferring the pro planet growth systems and strategies to the future generation. Playing with the nature is like scratching the head with the fire. Yet we need development to meet the needs of non-linearly increasing population. But this development must meet the basic needs of people today without ruining the chances of future generations to do the same that comes under sustainable development. Under rapidly changing innovative technologies and consequent changes in life style under globalization scenarios, which is profit driven is leading to, unfortunately, unsustainable path. This scenario results numerous environmental problems which humankind has to face. As part of 67th Independent Day address to the Nation our Respected President of India Shri. Pranab Mukherjee put fine words of “inclusive growth” but what is happening is selective growth. Under globalization scenario 25% of the population of the world including India consumes 75% of its natural resources annually. Unfortunately, world over sustainable growth or development in itself is not a political theory but it has been recognized that without political change, sustainable growth or development is not possible.

        Environmental issues!!!
        Environment may be broadly understood to mean our surroundings and affects our ability to live on the Planet Earth—the air we breathe the water that covers most of the Planet Earth’s Surface, the plants and animals around us, and much more. That is, the sum total of all surroundings of a living organism, including natural forces and other living things, that provides conditions for development and growth as well as of danger and damage. The Environment provides resources which support life on the Planet Earth and which also help in the growth of a relationship of interchange between living organisms and the environment in which they live. In the recent past the term “nature” has been used as parallel to word “environment”. It has been generally believed that nature is what man has not made. In our discussion environment and nature have been used as synonym.
        Environmental issues are harmful aspects of human activity on the biophysical environment. Environmentalism, a social and environmental movement that started in the 1960s, addresses environmental issues through advocacy, education and activism on current problems faced by the environment. Concerns for the environment have prompted the formation of Green parties, political parties that seek to address environmental issues. Initially these were formed in Australia, New Zealand and Germany but are now present in many other countries. There are several environmental problems facing mankind today. Some of these have historically contributed to the collapse of past societies namely, Climate change; Deforestation and habitat destruction; Soil problems [erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses]; Water management problems; Over hunting; Over fishing; Effects of introduced species on native species; Over population; Increased per capita impact of population; etc. Added to these, new factors may contribute to the weakening and collapse of present and future societies, namely, Anthropogenic climate change; Buildup of toxins in the environment; Inefficient use of resources and energy crisis; generation of huge quantity of non-recyclable waste; Genetic engineering; Nuclear engineering and nano technologies; Full human use of the Planet Earth’s photosynthesis capacity, etc.
        Over population relates to carrying capacity. India occupies 2.3% of the global area but human population is 17.31% & livestock population is 20% and uses 4.6% of world’s fresh water and 25% of groundwater – 33% of fresh water used comes from groundwater. The global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land; responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption; 80% of deforestation; 30% of greenhouse gases emissions; it is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change that contributes to local & regional climate change.
        With the growing population, under globalization, the problems are increasing and of late they have taken a demonic size, which necessitated expert attention to be solved. As globalization paves its way across the world these problems no longer remain local problems but become international issues and there are numerous causes of these problems, some of which are created by man and can also be controlled by man.

        Pollution issues!!!

        In recent years, scientists have been carefully examining the ways that people affect the environment. They have found that we are causing pollution, deforestation, and other problems that are dangerous both to the Planet Earth and to ourselves. These days, when you hear people talk about “the environment”, they are often referring to the overall condition of our Planet Earth, or how healthy it is. The term “pollutant” refers to any substance that, when introduced to an area, has a negative impact on the environment and its organisms. Pollutants can impact human health, air, water, land and entire ecosystems. Most sources of pollution result from human activity. There are numerous ways pollution is caused. Among these the three major polluting activities includes industrial revolution, agricultural revolution and transport revolution.
        Industrial Revolution: The industrial revolution heralded a completely new era in which the term ‘environment’ attained new dimensions. Since the ancient past thermal energy had been used in direct application, but during the Industrial Age it was used to mechanize tools. The Industrial Age witnessed the conversion of thermal energy to mechanical energy and thus enhanced the possibilities of greater exploitation of natural resources. The conversion of thermal energy to other forms of energy tremendously increased the overall demand for energy and resulted in a gradual depletion of the sources of energy. Consequently search for newer sources of thermal energy began: hydrocarbons, i.e., coal, petroleum products, etc., were explored and the magnitude of their exploitation widened. Unlike the earlier renewable source of energy like human and animal labour and wood, newer sources of energy i.e. hydrocarbons are non-renewable in character or have economically unviable extra long cycles of renewal.
        The introduction of non-renewable source of energy redefined the relationship between the environment and humans. The greater use of energy led to major problem of environmental pollution. With this energy entering the market several new polluting activities such as steel & iron, cement, bulk drugs manufacturing industries, etc come up affecting environment. These added not only to air pollution components but also to water pollution components as well direct health impacts on life forms. All these are point source pollution and thus with the progression of time invented controlling or reducing pollution technologies. As the manufacturing industries are profit driven, the control has not received its due place and thus pollution entering in to environment and became a major factor affecting nature in diverse ways.
        Agriculture innovations: Newer technology ensured greater agricultural production and thus technology was portrayed as a solution to all human problems, especially the problem of hunger and poverty. The use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture under green revolution technology has risen astronomically not only in global prospective but also in India. In India the fertilizer use has increased from around 1 kg/ha to around 140 kg/ha in the last 60 years. Most of it is used under irrigated agriculture for crops such as paddy, wheat, sugarcane, cotton. According to World Bank data, per hectare fertilizer consumption in India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Israel in 2007 stood at 142.3, 331.1, 171.2, 166.2 and 524.0 kg/ha, respectively. The green revolution chemical input technology created non-point source air and water pollution. Application of pesticides-insecticides created air pollution and the deposits of the same on ground contributed to water pollution also.
        Water pollution is associated with agricultural runoff, which is surface water leaving farm fields because of excessive precipitation, irrigation, or snowmelt. Agricultural runoff is grouped into the category of nonpoint-source pollution because the potential pollutants originate over large areas and the point of entry into water bodies cannot be precisely identified. Nonpoint sources of pollution are particularly problematic because it is difficult to capture and treat the polluted water before it enters a stream. Point sources, such as municipal sewer systems, usually enter the water body via pipes, and it is comparatively easy to collect that water and run it through a treatment system before releasing it into the environment. Because agricultural runoff is considered nonpoint-source pollution, efforts to minimize or eliminate pollutants focus on practices applied on or near farm fields. In other words, we usually seek to prevent the pollution rather than treating the polluted water.
        Transport innovations: Transportation [on land, in upper atmosphere & on oceans] is causing point source pollution but through its’ movement it also becomes non-point source pollution. Through better technologies [fuel and vehicular (combustion)] both air and water pollution could be brought down drastically. However, on land air pollution is countered by congestion factor with poor planning in urban areas. In the rail network, we have changed from polluting engines [coal & oil] to non-polluting engines [power]. In urban areas for reducing the pollution component that causes urban heat-island effect, temperature rise from surface to upper layers of the atmosphere, rail based systems such as metro rails is essential. That mean with the technologies we are trying to bring down the pollution component in surface transport system but on the other hand humans with their greed countering this process.
        On oceans, cruise ships generate an astonishing amount of pollution: up to 25,000 gallons of sewage from toilets and 143,000 gallons of sewage from sinks, galleys and showers each day. Our coastal environment and marine life are at risk from the threats of bacteria, pathogens and heavy metals generated in these waste streams. Ships generate 15 to 30 percent of the world’s smog-forming emissions. Bunker fuel burned by ships is 1,000 times dirtier than highway diesel used by trucks and buses. The shipping industry burns 300 million tons of bunker fuel per year. A single ship coming into harbor produces the smog-forming emissions of 350,000 new cars. Ships also generate huge amounts of solid wastes.
        The emissions from commercial jet aircrafts change the atmospheric composition. Directly: by emitting carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) water vapour, unburnt hydrocarbons, soot, and sulfate particles; and indirectly: by a chemical reaction chain similar to smog-formation the greenhouse gas ozone (O3) can be formed. As a result of these chemical reactions also the concentration of methane (CH4), another greenhouse gas, decreases. The most modern engines on new jets have reduced carbon dioxide emissions, but they’ve increased nitrogen oxide emissions. NASA is developing technology that would permit Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 jets, in 2018, to burn 25% less fuel and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%. Short flights release far more CO2 than longer flights because it is necessary to burn large quantities of fuel to get the aircraft into the upper atmosphere. Many European environmentalists advocate that all short-haul flights should be banned.
        New Type of Waste generation: With the character of agriculture based societies, the growing ability of humans to make use of a variety of environmental resources opened up the possibilities of the exploitation of natural resources for self-benefit. However, what has been a more bothersome fall-out of this process is the development of materials not naturally available in the world, i.e., polymers. The chemical revolution of the 1930’s & 1940’s developed an artificial material which was not biodegradable and was thus difficult to destroy and decompose. At the same time, the wider applications of the material in industrial and domestic use and low cost of production encouraged its wider circulation. The problem of decomposition of the material made it a major cause of concern for the scientific community. Similarly, the question of the viability of nuclear fuel as a source of energy has been a major issue of concern. The production of non-natural radioactive substance for energy production has been a major scientific and technological development, but again the decay or the proper and cost effective decomposition of the residue has been a major technological failure.

        Environmental issues of concern and Remedies
        Sustainability is the key to preventing or reducing the effect of environmental impacts. There is now clear scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably, and that an unprecedented collective effort is needed to return human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits. For humans to live sustainably, the Earth’s resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished. So here we must understand some of the environmental problems created by humans, their causes and effects in terms of air and water pollution and remedies to minimize such impacts. Pollution in the atmosphere causes both direct and indirect affects. Let us see some of these issues in brief.

        Air Pollution:

        It is a unique form of pollution that results from release of harmful gases into the atmosphere. The six major types of pollutants are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, particulates, sulfur dioxide, and photochemical oxidants. One of the most common sources of air pollution results from the burning of fossil fuels, such as vehicle and factory emissions. These emissions are a major contributor to smog, a mass of particulate matter that hangs like a cloud over many major cities and industrial areas. The accumulations of such pollutants in the atmosphere impact environment in diverse ways. Air pollution plays vital role on human health, a direct impact, and on nature, indirect impacts. To cure health hazards again we introduce air pollution in to the atmosphere through drug manufacturing industries and hospitals. They in addition introduce water pollution also. It is a vicious circle. The indirect impacts on nature are quite many. Among these the most important ones are climate change, which includes ozone depletion, global warming, acid rain, weather modification, etc. Most of these are associated with new technologies. Let us see some of these issues.
        Stratospheric Ozone depletion: The ozone layer is a belt of naturally occurring ozone gas that is located in lower Stratosphere and serves as a shield from the harmful ultraviolet B Radiation emitted by the Sun. After 1970s there was a widespread concern that the ozone layer is deteriorated. With the invention of new materials as part of new lifestyles introduced new gases in to the atmosphere. These gases [Chlorine, Bromine] were observed modifying the natural ozone process — creation and depletion. Such deterioration allows large amounts of Ultraviolet Radiation B rays to reach the Planet Earth. This change has significant effect on life forms on the Planet Earth. With the Montreal Protocol these substances were replaced by new substances but some of them act as greenhouse gases. However, as these gases life time is long the impact continues but at decreasing levels.
        Ground level ozone: Unlike the good, protective ozone layer in the stratosphere, ground level ozone is a harmful air pollutant, a constituent of smog. It is also a greenhouse gas. It’s formed when NOx, CO & VOCs in the presence of sunlight. Weather plays a key role in this type of ozone formation. The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months under high temperatures and when the wind is stagnant or light. Ground level ozone is a health hazard for all of us, especially the young and elderly. Those who are active and exercising outdoors may experience breathing difficulties and eye irritation. Prolonged exposure may result in reduced resistance to lung infections and colds. Ozone can also trigger attacks and symptoms in individuals with pre-existing conditions, like asthma or other respiratory infections like chronic bronchitis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). With the growth in industries and transportation, ground level ozone concentrations are increasing with time, more particularly in urban areas with unplanned urban growth. Better technologies to treat pollution at the source and better transport system along with better town planning are few solutions to minimize this.
        Acid rain: Acid rain is the term for pollution caused when sulfur and nitrogen dioxides combine mix with atmospheric moisture produces highly acidic rain, snow, hail, or fog. The acid eats into the stone, brick and metal articles and pollutes water sources. The chemicals in acid rain can cause paint to peel, corrosion of steel structures such as bridges, and erosion of stone statues. It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Thus, acid rain can lead to the death of trees, fish kills in lakes and damage to statues, monuments and building faces. Governments have made efforts since 1970s to reduce the release of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere with positive results. Coal in South Africa is rich in sulfur and the power stations could be responsible for acid rain over other areas of a country. Though through fuel technology sulfur concentrations were brought down in transportation but it is not the same in industries. NOx concentrations in the atmosphere are gradually increasing. This is happening in oceans also. We need better technologies to bring down NOx in industry and transport.
        Global warming: Global Warming is the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, which trap heat that would otherwise escape from the Planet Earth. This is a type of greenhouse effect. There are several other causes also contributing to global warming, namely deforestation, unplanned urbanization, mining, etc. In the last one century it was stated that the increase is around 0.5 0C. Combustion of Fossil Fuels results in the total worldwide emission of about 22 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. About a third of this comes from electricity generation, and another third from transportation, and a third from all other sources. However, it is fortunate, that growth in temperature is not linearly related to carbon dioxide but related to power of less than 1/3. Also, this has longer life time in the atmosphere.
        Government of India under National Action Plan on Climate Change introduced several missions to look in to pollution free power generation, namely energy saving, energy efficient methods, renewable energy production [solar, wind, etc]. Though these are pollution free process, the progress in that direction is very slow and needs more thrust. Also, governments must encourage intensive re-forestation programmes globally.

        Water Pollution:

        Supply of clean and fresh water is steadily decreasing with the growing population under the new lifestyles. At the same time destruction of water resources through pollution & inefficient use are reducing fresh water availability. Water pollution is the introduction into fresh or ocean waters of chemical, physical, or biological material that degrades the quality of the water and affects the organisms living in it. Here it involves both point sources and non-point sources. In the case of point source pollution, to reduce and to mitigate such pollution new technological innovations were brought in – in the case of transport & industries. Sometimes due to cost ineffectiveness the creators of pollution discharge them in to the environment untreated or partially treated wastewater, mostly from industries, ships. This reduces the fresh water availability and impact the biodiversity in the water sources.
        Pollution from agricultural runoff is now considered the primary source of pollutants to United States streams and lakes; the third leading source of pollution in US estuaries; second largest source of impairments to wetlands; and a major contributor to contamination of surveyed ground water. Pollutants in agricultural runoff include eroded soil particles (sediments), nutrients, pesticides, salts, viruses, bacteria, and organic matter. Through rivers the pollutants reach oceans and causing dead zones. The clear example to this is the mouth of Gulf of Mexico wherein the river Mississippi in USA enters the ocean. That is, after green revolution technology agriculture became a major water polluting activity globally – both surface and ground as well both surface and ocean waters. It is a global problem.
        Agriculture is the major source of non-point pollution and this must be talked through changes in technology. UN World Economic Social Survey chapter on sustainable agriculture under small farm holders, FAO in 2011 released an edited book titled “Climate Change and Food System Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa” and several other international reports suggest that ecological agriculture holds significant promise for increasing the productivity in developing countries. The use of chemical fertilizers is steadily decreasing under this system. The green revolution system has shown that increase in yields doesn’t necessarily translate into food security. That is, technological strategy does not guarantee food security or even social security. The so-called success of the green revolution system was due to heavy government incentives in terms of providing subsidies, building infrastructures and providing guarantee for credits. It is not a sustainable agriculture. In India, the Ministry of Agriculture is promoting organic farming in the country under National Project on Organic Farming, National Horticulture Mission, etc. NGOs in collaboration with farmers are working over different parts of the country. Farmers achieved remarkable yields. This needs more thrust. It is not only going to help governments but also to the nature as well people in general in terms of health and farmers in specific in terms of improving household economy. At the same time it acts environment friendly. The importance of organic farming has been recognized globally but moving at snails speed.

        Health & biodiversity hazards:

        Many pollutants have a negative impact on human health. For example, pollutants in the air, such as ozone or particulates in the air, may lead to respiratory health problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. Drinking contaminated water may lead to stomach and other digestive problems. Pollutants such as mercury can accumulate in fish and seafood and can lead to serious health problems, especially for vulnerable populations such as children or pregnant women. Pollutants in the soil, such as contamination by heavy metals, toxins or lead, can lead to serious health problems, including cancer and developmental problems in children.
        Water pollution may result from run-off from places such as agricultural fields, construction sites or factories; oil spills; sewage spills; and the accumulation of trash. Water pollution has a deleterious effect on the native plant and animal species that call bodies of water home. Run-off from agricultural fields can lead to algal blooms which choke out other plants and decrease the amount of available oxygen for species of fish and other organisms. Chemicals in the water can affect animal development, leading to deformities, such as extra legs in frogs. Oil spills kill native species of animals including waterfowl and mammal species. Sewage overflow can contaminate sources of human drinking water, leading to serious health problems, as mentioned above. The accumulation of trash in bodies of water may also lead to animal deaths resulting from becoming tangled in plastic items such as plastic bags, fishing wire and other debris.
        Pollutants in the soil most often result from industrial sources. Particularly insidious soil pollutants include lead, PCBs and asbestos. These pollutants may negatively affect human health and native plant and animal health. Pesticide use can also impact the land. One undesired impact of using pesticides is the death of native plant and animal species that also reside in the area. Because each type of pollution (air, water, land) does not occur separately from one another, entire ecosystems are often impacted. For example, the use of pesticides or fertilizers on land may negatively impact terrestrial species of plants and animals. When these materials are introduced to nearby bodies of water, they impact aquatic species of plants and animals. Thus, curbing pollution in one area of an ecosystem can also help protect another part of the ecosystem.

        Concluding Remarks
        I think technology might have originated from man’s laziness. He didn’t want to use his muscle power like other animals to earn a living. So he used his intelligence to invent enhancements. Eventually he found that the enhancements did not really reduce his work, it only created a new set of problems which increased his workload. So he invented another technology to solve those problems. But again that new technology gave rise to a new set of problems and he invented another technology to solve those. The process is going on and on; we call it progress.
        I think the real driving force overall behind Science is Greed & Power. Looking at the big picture technology overall does not value human life or nature anymore and is very destructive. The majority of the inventions are based on a Faulty, Reductionism, and machine-like type of science that likes to control nature and is very much misguided due to the BIG “I” which is Industry. The majority of the greatest Scientists are all working for BIG “B” which is Business which is all about Profit. This is why in my opinion technology has surpassed our humanity and has somewhat resulted in the ecological world problems. I am not implying that all Science is bad, I know that Science is vital for humanity to evolve, however it’s like a system out of control and we appear to be devolving instead of evolving.
        When we want adopt a new technology, we rarely look at its’ long term impacts, both positive and negative, of such technologies on nature and thus on environment. This lacuna is glaringly evident in agriculture. In all these business interests out play the environmental consequences. Sometimes it may not be possible to recover the destruction caused by the technologies, particularly those that affect biodiversity.
        Following the proverb “Think globally and act locally”, if we improve local environment, this will ensure improvements in global environment. In this direction, first we must create clean and renewable energy and clean & faster transport systems on land, in sea and in air. We must reduce the landfill waste [electronic & nuclear]. We must stop using new technologies that effect biodiversity, such as chemical inputs and GMOs in agriculture. We must stop creating unclean urbanization. We must encourage the climate change studies in real time rather than personal interests outweigh global interests which is anything but logical, not to mention the ethics of it [global warming]. But in the world driven by the money and power what more can you expect? In this process we are looking at greenhouse gases rather than at pollution in its totality. Because of this we are unable to ensuring safe and sufficient water and protecting our health. Pollution can take many forms. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the ground where we grow our food, and even the increasing noise we hear every day—all contribute to health problems and a lower quality of life.
        Let us fight against the evil pollution and let us demand the government to encourage technologies with zero or negligible pollution and thus save our Planet Earth and thereby ourselves.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Marcel Kincaid says:

      This is almost wholly wrong, and the author misrepresents himself:

      • Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy says:

        Marcel Kincaid — it is misinformation campaign by pro-IPCC/Al Gore groups. If you wants to know — see the reference given under the article in What’s Up — a book of mine that is available in WMO library. On the back cover I presented “About the Author”, wherein I mentioned “Dr. Reddy served Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] as Expert & World Meteorological Organization [WMO] as Chief Technical Advisory”. My first book “Agroclimatic/ Agrometeorological Techniques: As applicable to Dry-land agriculture in Developing Countries”, 205p (1993) — now available at — was reviewed by the then Vice-President of WMO incharge of agriculture meteorology group — see Agri. For. Meteorol., 77:325-327 [1994]. Also you can see a book: R.K.Gupta & S. Jeevananda Reddy (Eds.] “Advanced Technologies in Meteorology”, Tata McGraw-Hill Publ. Comp. Ltd., New Delhi, India (1999), 549p. Also you can see in my another book: S. Jeevananda Reddy, “Dry-land Agriculture of India: An agroclimatological and agrometeorological perspective”, BS Publ., Hyderabad, India, [2002] 429p.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  27. Carolyn Mone says:

    These haikus are great! You should make and sell t-shirts with two these on them (front and back).

  28. Peter Shaw says:

    Profoundly evocative. Poetry + art touched me at an emotional level — super hard to accomplish with research findings! I’m not a poetry fan, but this makes me yearn for more.

  29. Massimiliano says:

    Hi Greg,
    thanks for your beautiful work. Some people argue about the Haiku forms applied to the climate description, as it has a didascalic function, and it’s ruining the very pureness of this kind of poetry (“name it differently”, one comment says), but I think this is what we need to do: put together, link, connect. Haiku, as a poetic form, was born in a quite different world compared to the actual one, but it could still help us to communicate important (vital) things, issues, feelings.

    So, I was very excited about your Haikus and I did dare to translate them in Italian. Here are the results:

    I’m sorry about the poor job, I’m not a professional, and I used the simplest editors (the only ones I had) to do it.

    I hope you’ll like it, anyway.



  30. Leisa says:

    Excellent work! Amazing to condense into such short poems. We can debate the other elements but first in getting the key messages in such succinct message is an incredible feat. Thanks for sharing and for doing this! We need to creative like this more often!

  31. Angela Needham says:

    The haikus are a great idea. Such a shame that scientists then had to use their presentation as an oppotunity to enter into a complicated discussion in the very way the haikus were there to help clarify though I so much agree with Sandhprakashi. Jeevanandra Im sorry I gave up on your reply to the reply.
    The point remains, regardless of the detail, we need to treat earth and each other in a gentler way , so why argue

  32. J. Lemken, RN BSN says:

    Inspirational – as a fiber artist/quilter, I am so impressed with your creation.
    I have 2 grandsons under the age of 13, and I worry for their future.
    May your work touch MANY people, to spread the word.
    Thank you.

  33. Faustino aka Genghis Cunn says:

    Stripped back like this, the CAGW nonsense is more apparent.

  34. Susan says:

    Such a beautiful and succinct way to express such a complex problem. I love haiku for its focus and melody – and you made it work for essentially a scientific issue. My heart responded most emotionally to the haiku and drawing: Forty years from now children will live in a world shaped by our choices. Those children will be my grandchildren’s children. The time is now.

  35. Josef Davies-Coates says:

    Wonderful stuff, thanks for sharing.

  36. cirrelda snider in albuquerque says:

    thank you for sharing. excellent job, Gregg! these forms of haiku and illustration will inspire others to debate, to express, to find out more.

  37. Charles says:

    This violates my Meyers-Briggs orientation for data, not feelings.

  38. Scott Clark says:

    Art and poetry meet models and statistics. Very nice, I’m going to show this to staff. We may put it to use. Thanks for doing this.

  39. Dorothy Matthews says:

    Thanks for this, Gregg. I want to introduce your creation to my class ArtAnywhere. For years I have encouraged painting on the go and have adopted the Japanese “haiga” form which combines haiku with simple paintings very similar to what you have done. I carry 4×6 watercolor postcards for the purpose. Your creation is an inspiration for anyone who has an intense interest as a profession OR avocation but TIME to communicate the essence of a thought — not so much. Pentel water-bladder brush and a small pocket size water-color set will keep you going wherever you are. Please keep it up! -Dorothy Matthews, Bainbridge Island, WA

  40. madalina cozma says:

    Very impressive, from educational point of view is important and suggestive. A nice achievement.

  41. Ann Swadener says:

    I really enjoyed Gregg’s Haiku and artwork. We need to do more of this kind of think to bring climate change in the public eye and more simple and less threatening language. Many people shut down when confronted by scientific reports like the IPCC report. I would really like to get songs,rap, books, phone apps, youtube videos, etc. out there in popular form so that climate change and what we need to do to work on climate change becomes more talked about than “What does the fox say” or Miley Cyrus’ tacky tailspin.

  42. Erich J. Knight says:

    Oil Disinvestment & Soil Reinvestment,
    A two edged sword, cooling delightful:
    Carbon not loosed & CO2 Life-Cycled.

    Not burning the stuff, the Oil guys know,
    Leaves mountains of widgets to organically grow,
    By DNA patterning of particles Nano.

    So it is not “Plastics, Plastics” in “The Graduate’s” ears
    Its’ Carbon is Life, …. Life must be Revered
    One million years,… Our Fiery Friend
    The Combustion Age,…. soon to end.
    A new Diamond Age for industrialist
    A New Soil-Age for Ecologist.

    I try with da-Farmers and try with da-Bankers ,
    Only once and awhile
    I at least get a thank-ya.

    Dr. Erich (Suess) Knight

  43. John van Boxel says:

    Great stuff,
    I am thinking about using them for the intro of my lectures on climate change. It would make a nice theme.
    I will look for your email for formal permission.
    Thanks a lot

  44. Sam says:

    poetry, science
    oversimplified, specious
    as temps remain cool

    models invalid
    consensus of five percent
    shush any dissent

  45. Rob Wilder says:

    I think this is one of the Very First Times that I have ever Posted a Comment.

    I am doing so compelled by the Beauty and Simplicity of this Haiku, and its great use for teaching about climate risk… I intend to use it in my lectures: Thank You!!

    Rob W.

  46. Dave says:

    Footprints on a beach.
    Birds soar, iguana skitter.
    Waves lap at my door.

  47. Michelle Laurie says:

    Thank you for this gift to the climate change community. I love it!

  48. Steve says:

    These are very, very beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your creations!

    It’s easy and common for us educators to stick to the facts, the data, graphs, numbers, the concepts and their explanations. I teach science to teens in high school–and as a scientist, I try to have students use some different abilities & ways of presenting concepts/information: diagramming, concept maps, flowcharts, sketches, etc. Your haiku goes well beyond what we’ve practiced, and I really appreciate how far you’ve “stretched”.

  49. Carlo Arreglo says:

    Wonderful! I actually also love the line in the text about how scientists can also be poets. I would love to see examples the other way: how poets–novelists have tackled this, Ian McEwan’s Solar comes to mind– can also be scientists in terms of climate education.

  50. Sheila Merlau says:

    I love it, but not necessarily the message.
    Did you live in Tallahassee 40 years ago, and is your daughter’s name Alise?

  51. Ron Partridge says:

    This is a genuinely successful work of art in both respects, for the poetry and the painting, as well as being a charming illustration and explanation of one of the most critical scientific and public issues of our time. Congratulations to Greg Johnson. He deserves our admiration and gratitude.

  52. Eric says:

    Wonderful work! I hope it spawns haiku aimed more at folks who choose to deny what they don’t want to be true. Quick examples:

    I don’t like Al Gore.
    Inconvenient problems
    I choose to ignore.

    I’m a good person
    but science says I’m to blame.
    This heat can’t be real.

  53. Esther Sarris Rupp says:

    Kudos from a retired language arts/reading teacher who believes that it’s all true and who spent a decade in Hawai’i once (“small kid” is pidgin to identify childhood time and “ono” means “yummy”):

    Hawai’i shave ice
    Melts quickly in small kid mouths.
    Ono climate change.

  54. BM says:

    You forgot to add dinosaurs and ninjas.

  55. Graeme Olsen says:

    So many teachers
    Rushing to use these slogans.
    Weep for their students.

  56. JDO says:

    I drive my car
    and realize my three children
    have been watching.

    - apologies to Kato Shuson

  57. Duncan Noble says:

    Thank you so much for this. It’s wonderful. I showed it last night to my local climate action group as the learning/inspiration/motivation to start the meeting. People loved it.

    Suggested sound track, Pete Seeger, “My Rainbow Race” My Rainbow Race

  58. Debra Colodner says:

    Fantastic! You’ve inspired many ideas for our youth and adult programs! Thank you Greg. I’m proud to say I knew you way back when at WHOI.

  59. jana goldman says:

    So proud of Greg! It was a delight to work with him when I was at NOAA. A creative way to reach people who wouldn’t read a scientific report, but who would be captivated by the poetry and artwork.

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