While the impact of climate change on a future generation is still yet to fully unfold, according to the children of The Guardian Weekly’s art director, Andrew Stocks, we should be panicking. This week’s Kids V Climate Change February edition of the publication has allowed young people to set the visual agenda, directing and creating the imagery around the not so little story of, well, the future of our planet.
Speaking to It’s Nice That about the aesthetic decision, Andrew says: “We wanted to capture the mood of children around the world regarding climate change – that the grown-ups in the room just aren’t appreciating the severity of the situation and taking action fast enough. Kids are making protest signs and taking to the streets, so it just felt right to get some of them to help with the cover. I had a couple of willing accomplices at home, so over the weekend I asked them to hand-paint some slogans (including quotes from Greta Thunberg’s speech at Davos) and a world on fire. As soon as I tried the ‘panic’ line on page in the office it immediately worked as a cover. And with the world on fire in the background, it was pretty much done.”
The issue focuses on fighting back to what has gone before to create a better world to come, and features novelist John Lancaster who laments “the legacy of those happy to bequeath a burning earth”, co-ordinated strike action following the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, and focuses our international gaze to Venezuela, Nigeria, and New York to look at everything from Maduro’s enduring power to “skinnyscrapers” adorning the Manhattan skyline.
Editor Will Dean notes the importance on focusing the lens on teenage activism creating a stage for a trickle down moment, saying: “With the schools strike cover we wanted to capture several things. One, obviously that this was a protest started by a teenager (Greta Thunberg, who started the school strikes on her own last summer in Stockholm) and that it’s something kids and teenagers have taken upon themselves to make into a proper protest movement. It made sense to ask someone from that generation to try and capture that spirit. Obviously, we’re a weekly news magazine with a very rapid turnaround. We got the kids over the weekend to paint out some of the lines from Greta’s speech at Davos in which she implored the political elite to act now.”
The Guardian Weekly’s glossy rebrand last year has bought with it some beautiful and timely covers, finding the beauty and power of everything from the US agenda to a future of Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death. “Since we relaunched in October, we’ve utilised several approaches from humour (we loved the Brexit clarity squiggle and the US muscle corn) to type and photography-led fronts,” says Will. “We’re still finessing the GW style – and it’s tricky with a magazine with such a broad remit (basically, what the biggest global news story is in a given week) to do that. But as a team, we think we’ve quickly hit upon an identity that can jump from serious to witty in a week”.
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