Meltdown Flags reduces the white space in national flags to reflect their country’s disappearing glaciers

The makers of the project are staging a digital protest during what should have been the UN Climate Change Conference this week.

11 November 2020


Meltdown Flags is an activist initiative put together by environmental science specialists Meter with communications agency Serviceplan and design studio Moby Digg, to depict data on glacier retreat in the form of national flags. The project features 17 flags including those of the US, Argentina, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Norway and Iceland, all of which have glaciers, and adapts their existing design to reflect the devastating effects of global warming on those glaciers.

The redesigned flags use the white space in the existing designs to represent glaciers, and show their reported and projected decrease in size in three years: 1995 (the year of the first UN Climate Change Conference), 2020 (to show the present status) and 2050 (the goal year set within the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. With it comes the terrifying message of the dire consequences of glacier melt on our planet. For every centimetre of sea-level rise, one million people would lose their homes, and if glaciers melt completely the world will lose 69 per cent of its drinking water.

The initiative first launched in December 2019 during last year’s UN Climate Change Conference, but this week has staged a digital protest during what should have been this year’s conference in Glasgow – postponed due to Covid. The group says that the postponement has led to silence from governments on climate change, despite the new date set for November 2021 potentially being “too late for the planet’s ice,” citing reports that Greenland’s ice sheet has “passed the point of no return”.

The flags exist in hand-made form, and digitally on the project’s website, where the flags and more in-depth data about each country’s glaciers can be explored and interacted with. To support the cause during this week’s protest, people can try the Meltdown Flags AR filter or gif stickers, create their own message with a sign generator, or post their country’s Meltdown Flag and tag their policymakers.

Gallery© Meltdown Flags

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© Meltdown Flags

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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