Top 10: Climate Change Campaigns | work in development

When it comes to climate change ads, we’ve seen everything from melting polar bears to electricity-conscious orangutans. But which ones really stood out from the others? The 350 and Liberate Tate campaigns have proven popular among our readers and subscribers, so here’s the full top 10 as decided by you:


There’s no denying that the WWF has produced an impressive array of climate change campaigns over the years, from evocative images of displaced seals sleeping on park benches to Tarzan swinging in an arid rainforest. One who is firmly anchored in by Julie Mollins the mind is the image of a shadow where a tree once grew. She says:

I like this commercial because it shows the importance of trees in the urban landscape. It reminds me of places I’ve lived where trees die or disappear.

Photography: WWF Photography: WWF

9. Stand up! Action for Australia

Over 600,000 people have joined GetUp!, Australia’s movement for action to make democracy participatory. One of his greatest campaigns was an attempt to protect the Great Barrier Reef. A recent petition to their federal environment minister attracted some 120,000 signatures. @jongray1963 tweeted us to say:

I like the campaign because it is independent, seeks to educate and inform governments. It was effective: a good example of change from below.

Get up
Photography: GetUp! Action for Australia Photography: GetUp! Action for Australia

8. Fossil Free

Following environmentalist Bill McKribben’s mantra that “if it’s wrong to destroy the climate, it’s wrong to profit from this wreckage”, the Fossil Free campaign tries to get public institutions, such as universities and churches, to stop using fossil fuels. With supporters encouraged to set up their own individual campaigns, Louise Hazan, who works at Fossil Free, says:

It is inspired by the divestment movement that succeeded in bringing down the South African apartheid regime in the 1980s. This campaign uses divestment [depriving someone of power, rights, or possessions] as an innovative tactic to politically bankrupt the fossil fuel industry and strip its social license to continue fueling climate change.

7. Greenpeace and TckTckTck

Policy reform is crucial to stopping climate change, which is why Greenpeace and TckTckTck teamed up in 2009 with their eyes fixed on leaders attending the COP 15 conference in Copenhagen. The poster campaign featured Barack Obama and Angela Merkel as imagined in 2020. TckTckTck Executive Director Kelly Rigg told us:

I thought these ads were very powerful because they held individual leaders personally accountable for their actions. They offered leaders the opportunity to choose a more positive future by acting in the present.

Photography: Greenpeace and TckTckTck Photo: Tck Tck Tck and Greenpeace

6. Lots of loud voices

The Arctic is often featured prominently in ads about global warming, but what campaigns are created in the region itself? Many Strong Voices brings together people from the Arctic and Small Island Developing States to address the threat of climate change and bring safety and sustainability to coastal communities. Alex emailed in this comment:

Many Strong Voices is a really powerful project. The voices of affected communities are typically absent from most climate change campaigns, but here people affected by climate change speak for themselves about what it means to them.

Due to climate change, the sun now hits northern Greenland a day earlier than before. Photography: many strong voices Photography: many strong voices

5. Loess Plateau Watershed Campaign

The 2009 film Lessons of the Loess Plateau examined the large-scale environmental restoration project undertaken by the Chinese government and the World Bank in the northern region of China. Over the past hundred years, the plateau has suffered from accelerated soil erosion as unsustainable farming methods have been introduced, leading to large organizations joining the movement for its restoration. @AlexJFrench thought it was one of the most pragmatic campaigns around.

Photo: World Bank/Loess Plateau Watershed Campaign Photo: Campaign of the Loess Plateau watershed


Another memorable WWF ad: “Stop climate change before it changes you”. The campaign depicts an uncomfortable world in reverse evolution, and the image below, launched in 2008, remains one of its most impactful.

Photography: WWF Photography: WWF

3. Connect4Climate

Organizations very rarely hand over creative control to students around the world, but Connect4Climate has done just that with its iChange competition. In a network blog, program manager Lucia Grenna wrote:

When sensitized, students are able to articulate and amplify climate change messages…we set out to harness the power of their peers and facilitate students’ ability to promote action, to propose solutions and inspire real change.

2. Free Tate

Anti-oil campaigners Liberate Tate gained notoriety for their attempts to block the art gallery from receiving funding from oil company BP. Their acts of “creative disobedience” included a naked man covered in oil and carrying a 1.5 ton wind turbine blade through the gallery’s main hall. Kevin Smith shares:

What I love about Liberate Tate is how they’ve used performance art and social sculpture as a central part of their campaign: it’s bold and creative.


The Climate Name Change campaign is one of the most unique and visually impressive environmental advertisements. Its aim is to stimulate debate by replacing the names of natural disasters such as Sandy, Ivan and Katrina with the names of the US government’s climate change deniers. Although a suggestion from David Gravina, the campaign is quickly preferred by our readers. Here’s why David thought it should be number one:

350 continues to inspire and impress me. I showed this video to an audience of designers here in Australia and it went down really well – it’s a brilliant campaign.

Now your turn. What climate change campaigns got you thinking? Let us know in the comments below.

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