Driving into a worrying future

driving to the future - the collapse of civilisation

A car driving off the end of a road – symbolising the human race hurtling towards an uncertain future of its own making.

The car driver is following the sat-nav (GPS) unquestioningly as the car drives off the edge of the precipice (which metaphorically signifies the collapse of civilisation).

The road in this cartoon symbolises the human race’s road into the future, while the car is a metaphor for the human race itself, accompanied by its technological ‘life support system’.
The message is meant to be that if we’re not careful it will all end very badly.
This isn’t an anti-technology or anti-progress cartoon by the way – it’s just a view of how things might go if we aren’t careful.
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A car driving into the future – and plunging off the end of the road

driving to the future - the collapse of civilisation

A car driving into the future – and plunging off the end of the road

The car driver is following the sat-nav (GPS) unquestioningly as the car drives off the edge of the precipice (which metaphorically signifies the collapse of civilisation).

This cartoon is about the inherent danger in the advance of technology (here symbolised by cars, transport systems sat-nav) and other aspects of human progress. The further we progress, the greater the consequences of anything going wrong, especially if we put too much faith in technology and, as here, follow it uncritically.
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Population illustration

over population graphic

Global overpopulation cartoon
Population crisis or the overpopulation tsunami

An illustration about the crisis of overpopulation that is threatening the ecology of the planet

The world’s population is rising at an unsustainable rate, putting pressure on the earth’s resources and threatening its biosystem due to habitat loss
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Environment cartoons – a man eating the earth

man eating the earth cartoon

One of my environment cartoons – showing a man devouring the earth

The cartoon shows the earth in space as a globe, being eaten by the gigantic man

The image is an illustration of the way that the human race is destroying the planet by over consumption and over population. Over population is implied by the giant size of a single human who is devouring the earth’s resources.
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Why animals become extinct – cartoon

reason why animals became extinct - cartoon

An extinction cartoon – the reasons why creatures become extinct

A cartoon showing a reconstruction of an extinct animal, with scientists asking why the creature became extinct.
The creature had many features that would have made it very useful to prehistoric man – huge ivory tusks, luxurious fur and tender flesh. Obviously it was hunted to extinction by early hunters

A cartoon dealing with endangered species, palaeontology, fossils and hunter gatherers

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Cartoon of the earth in an hourglass

hourglass earth  cartoon

The Earth in an hourglass – environmental cartoon
The end of the world is nigh!

In the cartoon the earth is pouring through the hourglass, showing that time is running out for the world as a result of environmental pressures.
The metaphor of the hourglass is particularly relevant to the exploitation of the earth’s natural resources (such as minerals and fossil fuels that are mined), as it is these minerals that are slipping through the hourglass in the image

A cartoon about climate change, global warming and mineral resource depletion.
The original version of this cartoon was drawn in 1991 for my book “When Humans Roamed the Earth”.

See an alternative version of this cartoon

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Environment illustration – the Earth slipping through an hourglass

Environment cartoon - Hourglass Earth

An environmental cartoon showing the Earth slipping through an hourglass like grains of sand

The earth is pouring through the hourglass like sand, showing that time is running out for the world as we know it, as a result of anthropogenic environmental degradation.
The metaphor of the hourglass is especially relevant to the over use of the earth’s natural resources such as minerals and fossil fuels that are obtained by mining, as it is these minerals that are slipping through the hourglass

An illustration about climate change, global warming, resource depletion and mineral use.
The image was first drawn in 1991

See an alternative version of this cartoon

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Environment cartoon – environmental forecasting

globe falling in rubbish bin cartoon

Environment cartoon – environmental forecasting

A cartoon showing the earth or globe dropping off its mount and falling into a rubbish bin.
The globe is in the office of an organisation called “The Institute of Environmental Forecasting” (a fictitious organisation as far as I know)

This is a cartoon about predictions of the future of the world as a result of man-made or anthropogenic environmental changes such as global warming, climate change, resource depletion, species extinction, human population increase – the list goes on!

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Anthropocene cartoon – mass extinction events

iridium layer anthropocene cartoon

Anthropocene cartoon
Is the human race heading for a mass extinction event?

A cartoon showing geological rock strata and fossils, including the iridium layer that appeared at the time of the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

The rock strata also include a layer of manufactured waste that is directly above the layer of rock that contains fossils of humans

The implication is that while the event that created the iridium layer destroyed the dinosaurs, the event that created the layer of anthropogenic waste destroyed the human race.
The current geological era or epoch is sometimes referred to as the anthropocene, as the major influence on the environment is the human race.
An earlier version of this cartoon appeared in my book of environmental cartoons, When Humans Roamed the Earth, published by Earthscan/WWF in 1991

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Recycling cartoon. Woman putting man in recycling bin

man in recycling bin cartoon

Recycling waste cartoon
Woman putting man in recycling bin

A cartoon showing a woman thinking of putting her partner or husband into the recycling waste. He is standing idly thinking of sport while she is busy doing the household chores (in this case doing the recycling by visiting the local recycling centre).

As well as being about recycling and sustainability the cartoon is about gender differences, couple incompatibility, partner resentment

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Save the smallpox virus cartoon – save the whale cartoon

smallpox virus  cartoon

Fish stock depletion cartoon

A cartoon parody on Save the Whale T-shirts and other T-shirts with slogans or messages on them, especially ones with a moral dimension to them
It’s also a comment on our attitudes to different animal species, and about which ones we want to save (usually cute, cuddly, furry ones).

The cartoon draws attention to the concept of ‘poster species’, or animal species that are used for campaigning purposes for environmental issues. (This cartoon isn’t a criticism of this tendency, which is a natural human tendency due to our evolutionary responses to the natural world.)
A cartoon about animal rights, speciesism

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Fish stock depletion cartoon. Over fishing cartoon

world map - fish pond - cartoon

Fish stock depletion cartoon
Over fishing cartoon

Cartoon of a man fishing in a pond, and complaining that there aren’t any fish left to fish.
The pond is in the form of a map of the world

The pond in the cartoon is a metaphor for the oceans of the world.
The concept is that people have in the past (and even today) thought of the earth’s oceans as being almost endless and full of unlimited supplies of fish. While in fact the oceans are relatively small, especially when the rising human population puts so much pressure on the fish stocks
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Ship of Fools cartoon – the earth heading for disaster

globe - Ship of Fools cartoon

Ship of Fools illustration

Is the earth, and the human race, heading for disaster (because people seem to be only capable of short term planning)?

An environmental cartoon showing the earth as a ship, represented by half a globe, with people on the deck enjoying themselves, oblivious of the fact that they are steering the world towards catastophe

The illustration shows the world’s population as the passengers and crew of the Ship of Fools (or the fools on the ship)

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Noah’s ark cartoon – why there are no unicorns

Why there are no unicorns - Noah ark cartoon

Noah’s ark with unicorns cartoon

Why the unicorns didn’t get into Noah’s ark

A comic illustration showing animals going into Noah’s ark, with men dressing up as pantomime horses in order to get into Noah’s ark, after having tied up the unicorns
The image is about mythological creatures, species extinction, extinct animals, endangered species
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Bottled water cartoon – and the developing world water supply

Water carrier - desert and bottle - cartoon

Water supply cartoon – bottled water

An illustration commenting on the difference between the water supply in the developing world and the water supply in the developed world.
A comparison between lifestyles in the first world and the third world
The cartoon points out the huge distances over which bottled water is transported

A image shows a developing world woman carrying water on her head for a long distance, compared to a plastic bottle of water
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Global financial crisis graph – editorial illustration

downward financial graph cartoon

Editorial illustration about financial recession – downward graph with a globe bouncing down the slope of the graph.

An illustration about the world financial crisis.

An editorial illustration about global finance, world recession and global crisis in general

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The accompanying page design is a suggestion of how the image could be used.

downward-graph-page-design

The trouble with progress – cartoon. The end of the road

progress end of road - cartoon

The trouble with progress – cartoon.
The end of the road.

A cartoon showing progress coming to an end and suddenly ‘running out of road’.

The concept behind the cartoon is that progress gives us lots of advantages (cars, roads and bridges in this illustration), but that it also puts us into a position of peril when the source of the progress suddenly disappears. This could be due to resource depletion, scarcity of materials, political instability, over-consumption, natural disaster, global warming, climate change.
So in this cartoon the road on the bridge (which is a metaphor for progress) suddenly comes to an end, and the car (which is another metaphor for progress) plunges off the end, taking its passengers with it.

This isn’t an anti-progress, back to nature cartoon. I’m a great believer in progress. It’s just that it has to be approached carefully, and we aren’t doing that.

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Desert mirage cartoon – an hourglass pouring sand into the desert

hourglass creating desert cartoon

Desert mirage cartoon – an hour glass pouring sand into the desert, creating the desert

Cartoon of a man crawling through a desert, seeing a mirage

There may be a meaning to this cartoon related to global warming. Perhaps the hourglass, which is an illusion, represents the concept of climate change denial (where man made climate change is said to be an illusion). However, despite the fact that man made climate change is said to be an illusion the deserts are still getting bigger (and the polar caps smaller).

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Snail on fire – environmental illustration

snail on fire

An illustration of a snail with its shell on fire

Burning snail image

This is a disturbing image, without any specific meaning in mind, but nevertheless very evocative.
It could be an environmental illustration symboliseing the destruction of the ecosysten or the environment.
The fact that a snail is a slow creature could symbolise the way that nature cannot run away from the destruction of the environment that is occurring.
The image is a digital painting, based quite closely on photos of snails so that it looks realistic (which is important for the impact of the image).
The image could be used in environmental campaigns or media articles and reports about the environment.

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The invention of agriculture – cartoon

cartoon - stone age invention of agriculture

Cartoon – The invention of agriculture
Stone age man inventing the spade

Showing a caveman holding a new invention – the garden spade.
He is saying that he has invented agriculture

The development of agriculture allowed people to settle down and gave them time to develop and invent new ways of doing things, thus leading to civilisation and other achievements

The invention of agriculture, along with the invention of cooking, were key factors in human evolution and development.
The joke here is that a humble garden implement such as a spade can have such a profound influence on human development.
A cartoon about cavemen, prehistoric society, stone age people and society

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Cartoon. Bucolic genre paintings – old and modern compared

Cartoon - bucolic genre art isn't what it was

Art cartoon: an old painting of the countryside and a modern painting of the countryside. The old painting shows a bustling farm scene. The new painting shows a huge boring field.

Bucolic genre painting cartoon, showing an old view of industrious farm workers and a modern painting featuring a vast empty field containing nothing but a combine harvester.

A cartoon illustrating the way that farm work and the countryside have changed over the years.
The cartoon also questions whether the assumption that because the old rural scene is more picturesque than the more inhuman modern scene it was necessarily better. The viewer in the cartoon seems to think it was, but is he correct?
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Environment cartoon. Illustration – cycling to save the world

sustainable transport cartoon tandem

Environmental cartoon or illustration showing people cycling to save the energy and the world.

A positive image of people mobilising to save the planet and to reduce resources depletion by cycling.

A positive, motivational environmental cartoon about ecology, caring for the planet.
Possibly an image for earth day.
The cartoon shows people pedalling on a multi-person bicycle or four person tandem with trailers.
The balloon symbolises the world, and indicates that there can be enjoyment and satisfacion found in working towards a better more sustainable future.

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Tree of life logo

tree of life cartoon - being watered

Environmental illustration showing the tree of life being tended and watered by a person.

Artwork showing the tree of life being looked after by humans.
This is a positive image to encourage people to take care of the planet.
It’s a change from the environmental images which depict the human race destroying the environment.

An environmental cartoon about ecology, species interdependence, symbiosis, caring for the planet.
An image for earth day.

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Overpopulation cartoon. Protesting against population increase

Population control cartoon

A cartoon about overpopulation
Population control cartoon

A protester with a placard reading ” Say NO to population growth” looking at a news stand with the headline “Now we are seven billion”. The protester’s companion is saying “On the bright side – the larger the population, the more people there’ll be to support your cause.”

A cartoon about over population, population growth, the population timebomb, unsustainable population growth, too many people on the planet

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World overpopulation cartoon

number of Facebook friends and world population cartoon

World population cartoon
The cartoon is also about the nature of Facebook friends

Cartoon about the fact that the earth’s population has passed seven billion, linking it to the number of Facebook friends some people have.
Most people have Facebook friends who are not real friends (or even people that they know). A cartoon showing a person who has more Facebook friends than there are people on the planet

A cartoon about population pressure, overpopulation, Facebook friends, the nature of friendship, computers, social networking sites

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