Change Is Coming

AMC Outdoors magazine | Nov/Dec 2016

With the 2016 presidential election looming, we wanted to find a way to communicate the big picture of climate change. Rather than carve off a single factor and trace its repercussions—a fish species whose spawning territory was threatened by warming waters, say—we wanted to present the whole ball of wax, from minnow to evaporation. As with our 48 hours project, the power of the story was in its scope.

But how to get across that vastness without readers’ eyes glazing over? I had the idea of hiring a graphic artist to illustrate the piece, delivering the medicine with a spoonful of sugar. I got lucky and found an MFA in cartooning who had worked as a caretaker in an AMC backcountry shelter—in other words, someone who had lived the organization’s mission and felt the temperature shifts firsthand. Together with a senior scientist in AMC’s research department, we storyboarded and scripted what became the centerpiece of an issue unofficially pegged to climate change.

That magazine, which landed in members’ mailboxes on Nov. 1, 2016, remains one of my proudest professional accomplishments and represents, for me, the influence an association magazine can wield. (Also see stories on clean air standards, synthetic ski slopes, carbon credits, upcycling outdoor gear, citizen science, and newly designated conservation land.)

Click below for larger versions of the pages or read the story on AMC’s website.