8 January 2021

#AntarcticLog: Goodbye 2020

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here

Happy New Year! Here’s a comic for the new year that looks back at some of the damage done. 


Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to 2021. How about you? It helps to have rose-colored glasses, otherwise known as a positive view.  This could come from an excess of irrational optimism. Or it could come from young activists who often hashtag posts about their activities to fight climate change with #fridaysforfuture.  

Last week I included an #AntarcticLog comic about what parents want their kids to know. This week I follow up with a comic about the impact kids can have on their parents.  It’s a comic that starts with cigarette smoke — something that pervaded my childhood, until my sister and I took action on it.  Our action began with information — an assembly at our little Catholic school that showed us what could happen to someone’s lungs because of smoking.  Up until then I thought smoking was grown-up; now I realized the grown-ups needed help. 

Where were you the first time you realized that climate change was real?  I may have heard about it in the abstract before 2010, but that was the year I rode along with scientists working in the Arctic.  Scientists working in the Arctic connect with “native interpreters.” Aboard our icebreaker was Benny Hopson, an Iñupiat man who told me a story about walrus stranded by receding ice. The light went on — and I created my first science comic in response. 

Seeing the response to this story opened a new world to me — one in which story can be used by those with passionate voices to create new understanding — and change. 

Which reminds me: Greta Thunberg just turned 18.  Happy birthday to her, and congratulations on two and a half years of activism, beginning with a piece of art — a hand-drawn sign — and a passion that together constituted a wake-up call not just to her own generation but to other, older ones. 

Next week: profiles of young climate activists. 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram