Foreword by Ms. Espinosa
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, March 23, 2023.
Two weeks ago, we – Frederik and Erlend – announced the partnership with the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Now, we could not wait any longer to break another extraordinary news: Patricia Espinosa, the former executive secretary of UNFCCC, has provided the foreword of the book ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’!
During her time in office, Ms. Espinosa led UNFCCC from when the Paris Agreement entered into force in 2016 until the conclusion of the Bonn Climate Conference in 2022, which helped provide a global stocktake on the agreement’s progress. She continues to be a tireless supporter of multilateralism as a way to improve conditions for development in all regions of the world.
No wonder then that she shows up in our book, sending its protagonist, Jess, off on a journey around the world before reconnecting with her back in Bonn. In fact, Ms. Espinosa is the only real person illustrated in the whole book.
Despite that, we find it surreal that an executive secretary of UNFCCC lends her credibility to our book. Because of this, we feel deeply honored.
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, March 9, 2023.
With the same excitement as some three months ago, Frederik and Erlend are thrilled to announce the partnership with the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) for the book ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’! This collaboration offers another opportunity to reach and engage a wider audience on climate change issues.
ACE is a term adopted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to denote work under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. Its overarching goal is to empower all members of society to engage in climate action through the six ACE elements: climate change education and public awareness, training, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation on these issues.
Frederik and Erlend met with UNFCCC first time at their headquarters in Bonn, Germany, in February 2020. Later, they were lucky to present their book at the Climate Action Hub at the 2021 Glasgow climate conference (COP 26), hosted by UNFCCC. On both occasions, it became obvious just how important ACE’s work is for our common future.
Hopefully, three years after their first encounter, the book will help ACE in empowering all members of society to engage in climate action.
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, November 24, 2022.
Frederik and Erlend are thrilled to announce the partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’! Securing such a collaboration is a testimony to the educational value and international reach of the book.
While in Paris for another UN meeting in February 2020, Erlend was lucky to set up a meeting with the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) team at UNESCO. With Frederik joining in digitally too, it quickly became obvious that we all shared the same goal: engaging youth in climate education.
Only weeks after that hopeful meeting, COVID-19 shut Europe down, making further contact difficult, but the common goal kept the dialogue alive. Today, we are looking forward to exploring more ways to widen the climate discourse.
The publication of the book will be the joint first step in this direction.
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, August 5, 2022.
The summer is well underway, reminding us that its 2021 version was only part of a trend with more extreme weather events ravaging large parts of the planet. This summer, heatwaves have swept across the northern hemisphere, especially continental Europe, the UK, China and parts of the U.S. It is just another stark reminder of the importance of swift climate action.
Speaking of that – and on a more positive note – the authors of ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’ was invited to the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Youth Exchange in June. It aims to foster education and public awareness, training, public access to information, as well as participation in climate change action. On its first day, Frederik led a comic workshop, empowering youth to communicate their personal stories through comics.
In July, Frederik and Erlend met again in Cologne – the city where the comic book cooperation all started. Re-opened borders following COVID-19 meant that it once again was possible for Erlend to travel (climate-neutrally) to his old city of residence and re-connect with old friends and colleagues like Frederik.
August will be a month of easing back into it before another important fall – for climate action and our comic book. Follow us as we will share updates along the way.
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, April 19, 2022.
As spring has arrived and the English version of ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’ is getting close to ready, we have renovated our web pages.
In addition to updates to existing pages, we have added two new pages: ‘Publicity’, highlighting some of the media coverage the book has received thus far; and ‘Contact’, making it easier for you to get in touch and follow us in social media.
What do you think of these changes? We would love to know in the new comment section below.
Dark Clouds are Looming
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, February 28, 2022.
Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest climate report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change. It paints far from a gloomy picture of our road ahead: a rapidly narrowing window of action to avoid irreversible changes, a widening climate adaptation gap and billions being pushed into the frontlines of climate change.
Through his position at the Norwegian Environment Agency, Erlend -one of our two authors – was able to participate in the report’s approval process over the last two weeks. From 6 AM to 12 AM, the days were filled with wordsmithing and raised concerns from 193 UN countries. Added to this, his own toe split in two, the meaningless invasion in Eastern Europe and the ongoing pandemic globally made up a bleak background.
On the other hand, the point for climate action has never been better: we have never known more about the consequences of climate change and how to best adapt to it. If we are to achieve climate-resilient development, we need to think inclusively and sustainably about climate mitigation and adaptation simultaneously.
Hence, while the clouds are indeed dark, sunlight can still break through them.
United on the Stage
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, November 7, 2021.
Last Friday was youth day at the United Nations climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow (UK). And while there were very few seats occupied by the youth to negotiate their future, strong and fresh voices came from two chairs at the stage of the Action Hub.
At the stage, Frederik and Erlend were given a wonderful opportunity to present their comic ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’. With them, they had two youth representatives in Salome and Rufaru, who shared their perspectives on two of the stories in the book. Their personal stories brought the listeners even closer to the reality of power instability in the African countryside and of the sea dependency on small Pacific islands.
Hopefully, the joint call to action from these two leaders, our protagonist Jess and the youth on the streets around the world will be too loud to dismiss. We are entering the final week of COP26, meaning that we need true leadership now more than ever. There is simply too much at stake to miss this chance to unite behind our common future.
So, why should we work together? Because, in the end, it’s all about us.
(In case you missed the event, you can watch a recording of it here: https://unfccc-cop26.streamworld.de/webcast/about-us-a-comic-on-climate-change)
Long Time No See
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, October 25, 2021.
Embarrassingly long since our last post, here it is: an announcement, and not just any announcement. In fact, we are heading to Glasgow!
The book ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’ has earned a spot at the Action Hub during COP 26. At 2 pm local time on November 5th, the book’s authors, Frederik and Erlend, will be presenting two of their stories and engaging with two youth representatives on stage. They will keep the event inclusive, participatory and transparent – just in line with the Action Hub spirit.
Stop by if you are around! And if you are not, you can follow the event and others at the Action Hub virtually. The full program can be found here.
Looking forward to re-connecting with you and our audience – in person or online.
Happy New Year!
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, January 7, 2021.
We hope you had a peaceful holiday season and now are off to a good start in 2021.
This start is hopefully with your very own copy of the book ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’ in your hands, as this was sent out to our German crowdfunders over Christmas. If you have not or if you want to buy some more, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a few more books and other material left for 22€ (the book only) / 33€ (the book, a poster, an art print, two stickers and a bookmark).
2021 will be a critical year for humanity and our planet, as we decide how to recover from COVID-19 and solve the climate crisis at the UN climate summit in Glasgow. As for the book, we are working to make it part of the latter.
But first: let us work together to be building back better.
Hot off the Press
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, December 16, 2020.
The book is almost here!
We have received our first product from the print shop: the bookmarks. All those having supported our German crowdfunding campaign through the options “…fängt den Wurm”, “Das Buch + Extras”, “Das Buch und die Expertise” or “Du mit dem Star des Buchs” will receive one of these.
And what is better still is that the other material, the posters, art print, stickers and – most importantly – the books, will soon arrive too! As soon as we have them, we will send them out to our wonderful crowdfunders, hoping for them to arrive in time for Christmas. If you are one of those hopeful ones, please check your email for more.
From all of us to all of you, a very merry Christmas.
With a Little Help from Our Friends
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, November 16, 2020.
Meet Julie, our German translator!
We are very glad to have Julie on board for the German translation of our book ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’. While the two of us – Frederik and Erlend – are currently finalizing the last illustrations and texts, Julie is transforming our work into a world of “Klimawandel”, “Salzwasserintrusion” and “Kohlenstoffdioxidausstoß”. That way, we expect to have the German version ready before Christmas.
Julie normally has her hands full in the tourism industry, but thanks to the closed borders, she has some time to spare for our book. We are truly grateful for her contributions, which she – in her own words – is providing with “her whole heart” as a positive, passionate and vegan citizen of the world.
Together, we are strong, and if there is one time that has shown this, it is the time we are living through right now. The climate crisis, COVID-19 and political division: now is the moment to reach out for/with a helping hand from/to our friends.
The Way Forward
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, October 2, 2020.
Just like Jess is joining the march to push the European Union forward on climate issues in our Belgium story, so is the climate movement motivating us to complete the book. But just as making the right steps are critical for the continent overall, so are the steps toward our finish line at the printing house.
What this means is that we now have entered the final development stages of our comic book ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’. The authors – Frederik and Erlend – are working hard to complete the final maps, texts and drawings, including that from Brussels depicted above. We hope to be able to send the German version to our wonderful and patient crowdfunders soon. I mean, who does not want a climate comic book for Christmas? 😉
COVID-19 might have postponed COP 26 and challenged our lives, but one thing is nonetheless certain: the people in our book and around the world are still fighting for climate action. We are working days and nights to make sure their voices are heard.
The Scientific Basis
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, September 7, 2020.
Did you know about the vast depth of science going into the stories in ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’?
Doing and having PhDs in geography and climate, respectively, the authors – Frederik and Erlend – do their utmost to make sure the book is founded on credible and updated science. The photos below show evidence of this.
The left photo shows how Frederik modeled the potential release areas for avalanches around Mt. Everest based on scientific literature studied by Erlend. The right photo displays how this is used in our Nepal story, where Jess learns about the consequences of climate change for the region’s Sherpas.
You can learn more about this in the explanatory text following each story in the book.
The New Normal
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, July 28, 2020.
Having adapted to a new normal, many of us are ready for an alternative summer break, staying close to home. So too are we, Frederik and Erlend, but we also keep our comic project ‘About Us: Stories of Climate Change’ close to our heart.
Over the last months, we have worked productively from our home offices. The main character, Jess, has gotten new friends in our freshly illustrated Belgium story, while others have been moved by her passionate speech at the podium of the United Nations (sketches above).
Want to know and see more? Follow us in our social media channels (links below) as the book is coming to a completion. Its stories show that a new normal not only is needed but also viable, in which both human and planetary health thrive.
Ups and Downs
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, March 28, 2020.
The world is such a different place now compared to a month ago…
As the authors of About Us: Stories of Climate Change, Frederik and I (Erlend) feel for everyone affected by COVID-19. We are lucky to live in countries with well-functioning health care but know that this is far from the case for everyone. Hence, please take care of each other and listen to the scientific advices from the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019) in these troubling times.
In times like these, plans get turned upside down. For our comic book, it is really not all that bad. We will continue as before, but with less focus on public attention now that this attention needs to be directed at tackling another crisis.
What this means is that we will still work to tackle the climate crisis. Since our last post, we completed a highly successful crowdfunding campaign for the German version of the book. Thank you again for this! We will therefore keep on working to complete this version so that we send the crowdfunding merch to each supporter in the early fall. The crowdfunding campaign for the English version, however, is put on hold until further notice.
This is truly a challenging time for us all. We want to thank you for your support in reaching our funding goal and ask you to continue supporting our global goals: slowed spreading of the virus and solidary actions for its most prone recipients.
We Are Funded!
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, February 24, 2020.
We just hit the 2000€ funding goal for the German version of About Us: Stories of Climate Change! Thank you for your support!
What this means is not only that the comic book will be printed but also that Frederik and I (Erlend) can travel to the UN climate conference COP 26 in Glasgow, UK, in November. There, we can share the comic book with a wider audience, illustrating the various effects of climate change and what you and I can do about it.
The crowdfunding campaign is still running for another 24 days. If you want to get a copy of the German version and some merch, go to startnext.com/ueber-uns and choose your support level. An English version of the book is to be developed and announced later, so keep on following us here, on Facebook and on Instagram.
“I’ve Had the Time of My Life”
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, February 6, 2020.
Oh, what a night!
On February 6, 2020, About Us: Stories of Climate Change faced its first public test as its authors, Frederik and I (Erlend), launched it at the hostel die wohngemeinschaft in Cologne, Germany. We were simply blown away by the wonderful feedback we received!
With all 69 chairs filled and the windowsills and door also occupied by the crowd, we cannot stress enough how grateful we were for your support. You gave us a night to remember, and it was therefore only deserved that we ended it by a duet on Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, immortalized by the no. 1 chick flick movie of the ’80s: Dirty Dancing.
Thank you all that came out and supported us! Your Jennifer & Patrick will forever remember it, and we hope you will too (for other reasons than bleeding ears).
Launch of the Book Project in Cologne!
By Erlend Moster Knudsen, February 6, 2020.
On February 6, 2020, we will for the first time publicly tell the story about our main character, her journey across the world and how this is all about us. Having worked on this project since we first met in May 2017, Frederik and I (Erlend) are really excited about sharing our idea and hearing how it’s received.
The kick-off event will take place at the hostel die wohngemeinschaft in Cologne, Germany. You can find more details about it here.
Stop by if you are in the area and join us for a night of excitement, new perspectives and a lot of laughter!