Alterales: sketches representing climate change

Authors: Alessia Iotti

I’ve always hated being labeled but when I’m told I’m an activist I smile. Active is the opposite of passive, it’s those who are not satisfied with “this is how it works”, activist is those who see that there is a better way. But who can make things better? Anyone. I am convinced that you do not have to be a scientist to defend the planet and our rights, everyone must use their skills to do their part: I draw. I draw because I am convinced of the transformative power of art to change our view of the world. I was lucky enough to grow up in the middle of the countryside, getting my hands dirty with dirt and scraping my knees as I fell out of trees. There are some things you can’t explain about the relationship with nature, you can only live and experience. When scientists talk about our planet they do it using sterile numbers and words, but what leaves a mark on people? It is difficult for someone to think back during the day to a graph full of lines and data, but everyone remembers the excitement of a sunset, the fear of a storm, the serenity of the silence of the mountains.

Only when you love something are you willing to take care of it.

We need emotions. We need images to visualize the problem of the climate crisis. Through metaphors and irony even science can connect to our daily experience: so violent weather phenomena become popcorn popping in a pot. What I do is share awareness, ask questions, activate comparisons, listen to others and learn. I take a political stance as a citizen of the world not to convince others of anything but out of responsibility to that incredible privilege we all have to be the change humanity needs. I tell the story of the climate crisis through Instagram, taking to the streets with fridaysforfuture, talking about it with friends and strangers alike. The most exciting thing about this work is seeing how concrete the possibility of creating a chain reaction of change is in the people around us and, thanks to social media, even in people who live far away from us.

Tips for communicators:

1° make people fall in love with the planet
2° inform people
3° act and be an example

Drawing the climate crisis

The climat crisis, like a big set of tangled stripes, is difficult to explain.
But how hard it is?
Pretty hard. It has to be studied, thought, imagined, but it can be done!

Alterales, the sketcher, proceeds in two steps.
Firstly, she studies the singles stripes: numbers, graphics, dates, scientific papers, newspaper articles.
The arguments are complex and mostly abstract, but there is a solution

She works hard to works hard to make individual wires into patterns. In fact, he doesn’t leave out facts or trivialize it. With those stripes, she creates beautiful tapestries that everyone can understand.

Highlights of 2021

Highlights of 2021

2021 didn’t start off on the right foot
January: Snow record in Madrid since 1971
February: Texas without power due to snowstorm

March: more than 800 cities take to the streets for the climate
It was the first global strike of the year!

April: in Europe it was the coldest in the last 18 years
May: in Honk Hong the hottest month ever

June: 50 degrees Celsius in Canada
July: massive floods in Germany, Belgium and China

August: rain in Greenland, no one had ever seen it
September: Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey are on fire

October: hurricane in Catania (South Italy)
November: Cop26 in Glasgow

December: there was also a pandemic involved in all of this. We may complain but what’s the point?

Spoiler: If we don’t act now, 2022 will be even worse


Solutions to be implemented by governments:

  • Tax the emissions
  • Reforestation
  • Stop fossil fuels now
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Renewable energy sources


Solutions that everyone must embrace:

  • buy less
  • buy second-hand clothes (and less clothes)
  • + vegetables – meat
  • + bikes and public transport – cars

The wrong globe

You gave us the wrong globe!

Exactly. the north pole has changed and now we have to change all the world maps.
Find in the difference in the photo above in terms of size of the Italian territory.
Spoiler: there are 17 differences. the north pole has lost an amount of ice equal to 17 times the size of Italy.

Fossil fuels

This is how fossil fuels are created:

  • men find carbon stored by slow cycle = fossil fuels

  • burning them puts co2 back into the atmosphere in the fast cycle

  • plants, oceans and soil try to reabsorb it but…it’s too much in such a short time!

The excess co2 is added to the greenhouse gases et voila… We get global warming!

So, 45% of the co2 stays in the atmosphere…what about the rest?
The ocean absorbs most of it, but too much Co2 storage leads to acidification of the water ⇨ bye bye corals!
Moreover, the more the water warms up, the less it can absorb co2


Come on, but at least we have

  • Ah no, unfortunately that we deforest them and they go on fire (increasing the co2 in circulation);
  • Sadly, we cement it and the rest we exploit until it is no longer able to absorb co2

We can do better, but what could must we do?

  1. stop using fossil fuels now – altogether – immediately
  2. switch to renewable energy
  3. replenish biodiversity
  4. move to sustainable and regenerative agriculture
  5. change our habits: – meat, + vegetables, – planes, + feet
  6. take to the streets and demand climate justice


The whale is holding a sign that says, “if I die, you’ll be in troubles bigger than me”


The whales, the giants of the sea, are disappearing and it’s our fault.
What if I told you that we depend on whale poop?

The gray whale swims from the northern Pacific Ocean to California to reproduce, which requires a lot of energy. Likewise for humpback whales, which in order to reproduce make long journeys in the Atlantic that require a great expenditure of energy and need to feed themselves.

Ocean warming, the presence of plastics and fishing have decreased the whales’ food supply, leading to an unusual mortality event for the third year in a row.

No whale food ⇨ no whales ⇨ no whale poop

Why should we care?

Whales are our allies in fighting the climate crisis.

Whale poop, in fact, is a fertilizer for phytoplacton.

Phytoplactons, in turn, absorb CO2 through photosynthesis and when it dies, sinking to the bottom of the deep, it takes it with it. Basically, it stores CO2 for free!

However, other pitfalls threaten the whales’ lives:

  •  whaling
  •  pollution
  •  giant ships
  •  intensive fishing

We are part of nature. we are all connected. If you don’t want to do it for the whales, protect them for ourselves.

Blue jeans

Everything costs water.
For example, the jeans you wear cost ten thousand liters of water.

What is water footprint?
No, it is not a bigfoot with fins.
It is the volume of water needed to produce something.

  • To produce an apple, it takes 68 liters of water
  • To produce a coffee, it takes 132 liters of water
  • To produce one kilo of beef, it takes 15.000 liters of water.

What can we do about it?
Eat vegetables and wear second-hand clothes

By 2030, 47% of the world’s population will experience water scarcity.
Better to use it consciously.


Both the snowman and the girl hold up a sign that says “endangered species”.

error: Attenzione