30 September 2022

#AntarcticLog: The wombat connection

Posted by Shane Hanlon

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

I’m in Crownpoint, New Mexico this week, researching future comics at Navajo Technical University– and learned that the campus here used to have more trees. Piñon and juniper have died because of recent drought, says Abishek Roychowdhury, who teaches environmental science here. 

For Crownpoint, these trees are the canary in the coal mine — the hero of a story that demonstrates a broader point. You might think that a comic called #AntarcticLog wouldn’t be interested in what’s going on anywhere but the southern continent,  but I work to cover climate change wherever it’s happening, which is everywhere. Here are few examples of the canaries this comic has covered in its more than 200 entries. 

In an Australian story that got press around the world,  one wombat made a difference, symbolic or otherwise. 

Coral makes quite a canary — as do the efforts to revive it, grow it, and perpetuate climate-resistance species. 

The tiniest canaries — microbes — make a difference when it comes to climate, as does the plight of one microbiologist whose lab was forced to look at the impacts of climate change in more ways than one. 

And of course Antarctica has its own canaries — microbes as well as megafauna, especially one as charismatic as the leopard seal. 

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