The Beast That Ate the Earth
Environment cartoon book
Versions of many of the environmental cartoons on this site can be found in my book, The Beast That Ate the Earth.
I”ve been drawing cartoons on environmental matters since the early 1970s.
The book was published in 2004 and contains about a hundred cartoons in black and white.
The book is available through Amazon.
Such as at:
Cartoon about disposing of obsolete computers by sending them to developing countries.
Computers and electronic equipment shipped to India for disposal.
Original version created: 2016
A joke showing people being deceived by a special offer in a shop.
The customers see a sign with the special offer of “Two for the price of Three’ and they automatically think that this is a good deal due to the way that the offer is framed (interpreting it in the same way as “Two for the price of three”).
A cartoon about marketing, persuasion, selling, manipulation, misleading offers.
A TV viewer wanting to ignore the evidence in a television programme as it would make him uncomfortable.
A cartoon depicting a person ignoring an inconvenient truth. (The cartoon doesn’t actually imply that all televisions are manufactured in exploitative sweatshop conditions – the use of a tv in the cartoon is because the tv in the image is, ironically, the conduit for the information to be made available).
Original version drawn: 2009
A cartoon showing Noah’s ark full of consumer goods (cars, shipping containers etc). Noah is telling the two unicorns that are wanting to enter the ark that there is no room for them.
The cartoon about the human race’s impact on wildlife (particularly as a result of our consumption of the earth’s resources, but also as a result of anthropogenic floods).
A cartoon about endangered species, extinction, wildlife in danger.
Original version. drawn: 1990
A cartoon showing a lorry crossing a traffic roundabout and destroying the playing arrangement on the roundabout.
The cartoon is a metaphor for the way that our consumer society and consumerism (represented by the lorryload of goods) is devastating the earth (represented by the flower planting in the form of a map of the world).
Original version created: 1991
Cartoon reference number: a454
An illustration showing coffee beans with currency symbols on them as a symbol of the profit-motivated production
This illustration was created to depict coffee grown by multinational companies primarily for the profit.
The image is to draw attention to fair trade crops and ethically produced food products
A dumpster as a lifeboat – cartoon or illustration
A cartoon showing a dumpster or rubbish skip used as a lifeboat or escape vessel by a family escaping from somewhere – probably from all of the waste generated by the consumer society
First version drawn: 1991
Cartoon reference number: a445
Cartoon about art gallery and museum mechandising and funding.
Which works of art would look good on fridge magnets?
Cartoon showing artworks being considered for use in merchandising
Cartoon showing a meeting of staff responsible for acquiring artworks in an art gallery considering which works of art to buy, including evaluating the commercial, marketing and merchandising potential of the works of art under consideration.
The cartoon’s caption reads:
“It may indeed be a pivotially significant example of early 18th century Flemish art, but as head of merchandising I have to ask ‘What would it look like on a fridge magnet?’”
It is a cartoon about the commercialisation and commodification of artworks such as paintings and of museum artefacts. The cartoon illustrates the problem of funding art galleries and museums, and the increased reliance on museum gift shops and cafes.
Cartoon reference number: a152
A cartoon about environment-friendly materials.
A discarded polystyrene container talking to animals, saying that it likes nature so much that it’s decided to stay around for a long time.
An illustration about biodegradable packaging materials, litter, recycling, waste, consumerism, bio-decomposition, environmental impact
Cartoon reference number: env069b
Endangered species cartoon
A fish restaurant selling endangered species of fish
Over fishing is depleting fish stocks, with species such as cod and tuna being put on endangered species lists
A cartoon about food, resources, fishing quotas
Environment cartoon – earth as a balloon
An illustration showing the earth as a passenger balloon, with people throwing consumer goods over the side in order to keep afloat.
The idea is that the human race needs to jettison its dependence on consumer goods.
The concept behind the illustration is a little similar to the ‘spaceship earth’ metaphor
Cartoon reference number: a550
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.
Cartoon reference number: a513
Illustration – a product bar code in the form of a city skyline or city scape
Cartoon showing a bar code in the shape of a city’s financial sector.
A metaphor for commerce and finance
Cartoon reference number: a516
A cartoon about self-help books and over consumption
A cartoon of an overweight person trying to reach a self help manual about how to stop over consuming.
He can’t reach the book because he is too fat
This cartoon is about excessive consumption of all types – it depicts an obese person (an over consumer of food) to represent all types of over consumption. The point is that the obese person can’t reach the book because of his obesity.
The cartoon deals with the topics of consumerism, the consumer society, and addictive behaviour, amongst others
Cartoon reference number: a477
A cartoon about child development and shopping.
This joke was inspired by seeing children’s toys such as brightly coloured radios with words printed on them such as “My First Radio”
A humorous idea about nature or nurture, social attitudes, capitalism and social conditioning.
The expression “Born to shop” comes to mind
Cartoon reference number: a473
Over consumption cartoon – or the dangers of the consumer society
A cartoon showing a person vomiting consumer goods, having consumed too many of them
An illustration dealing with the consumer led market economy, the consumer lifestyle and materialism.
First version drawn: 1991
Cartoon reference number: a444
An environmental cartoon about the fur trade and fur coats
A cartoon of an affluent fashionable woman buying a fur coat. The shop sign above the coat reads “Rare furs”
The shop assistant is saying “And getting rarer by the day, madam!”
The message of the cartoon is that some people are totally intellectually divorced or disconnected from the environmental and ecological impact of their actions, with economic and other factors such as social status taking precedence over environmental factors.
In this case the woman and the man are only interested in the status of the fur coat as a fashion item and as a status symbol – to the point that they are actually pleased that they are contributing to the endangered species status of the animal that provided the fur for the coat, as the rarer the animal the more valuable the coat becomes – an economic argument (of very dubious merit) rather than an ecological one
Cartoon reference number: a468
Impulse buying cartoon
A cartoon showing an impulse buyer impulsively purchasing a self-help book about how to stop impulse buying
A cartoon about consumerism, the consumer society, self-help books, impulsive personality types, spending, consumption, marketing, the book trade, shopping
Cartoon reference number: a461
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
Cartoon reference number: a458
Non-recyclable packaging cartoon
Burger carton cartoon, where the burger bun represents the earth
A cartoon dealing with the problem of non-recyclable waste as illustrated by a polystyrene fast food carton
The burger bun has a pattern on it that resembles a map or globe, signifying the global environmental problem of waste management, pollution and pollutants
Cartoon reference number: a457
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
Cartoon reference number: a452
An environmental illustration about depleting the earth’s resources
Illustration showing pests eating the leaves on trees – however, the pests are humans and the trees are the countries of the world on a map
A cartoon about over consumption of the earth’s resources, consumerism, over population, resource depletion
Cartoon reference number: a450
Environment cartoon – global warming and consumerism.
An environmental cartoon showing executives in a firm that manufactures refrigerators discussing global warming.
They are saying that the more the world warms up, the more people will want to buy fridges
An illustration of the truth behind the expression It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, and the way that capitalism can benefit from adversity.
The point of this cartoon is that to some extent the creators of global warming will benefit from it.
Maybe they even sponsor climate change denial research!
Original version drawn: 1991
Cartoon reference number: a441
Recycling plastic bags cartoon
Does recycling make a difference in our efforts to cut waste?
A cartoon showing a person who feels happy because she is ‘doing her bit to save the planet’ – although recycling plastic carrier bags is not enough.
A comment about token gestures towards environmentalism – the delusion that reusing carrier bags will make a difference or have a significant impact on consumption and waste.
The cartoon is also about the trend for natural cotton shopping bags that carry slogans – either of an environmental nature of as an advert for a shop (which by implication is working towards a better environment due to the natural cotton bag)
Cartoon reference number: a394
A cartoon about gender differences and mobile phone apps.
Differing male and female attitudes to technology
Gender specific differences are shown here in the way that young men like gadgets, while young women prefer to talk (shown in this cartoon by a man who is more interested in the phone apps that he can add to his phone than in the fact that he can use it to talk to his friends).
Cartoon reference number: a352
Cartoon about motivational self-help books and books about self improvement
A comment on the ethos of self motivation, self improvement, competitiveness and overachievement as promoted by the achievement orientated culture of contemporary western society.
The illustration shows someone ignoring the instructions of a book on self motivation. He is using the book as an aid to relaxation rather than action.
The flower is a reference to the idea that you should always give yourself time to ‘smell the roses’.
Self-help books often deal with subjects of popular psychology such as relationships, or in aspects of the mind and human behaviour which the books claim can be modified or controlled to the advantage of the reader. Self-help books usually promote themselves as being able to increase the reader’s happiness, self-awareness and performance.
Cartoon reference number: a341
Cartoon – Olympic merchandising /h3>
Cartoon showing a stall selling ice creams in the shape of the 2012 Olympic torch
An official representing Olympic marketing is telling the stall holder that it is illegal to sell olympics-related merchandise unless you have permission from an official sponsor
The cartoon is a criticism of the profit motive as applied so ruthlessly and thoughtlessly to the olympic games.
Cartoon reference number: a306
Cartoon about ecological clothes washing
To save energy and the environment it’s best not to wash clothes too hot
A humorous illustration about energy conservation
Gardening humour – a motor mower fitted with sat nav
A joke showing a gardener buying a new lawn mower in a garden centre.
The salesman is saying to the prospective customer “This lawn mower’s for the man with a very large lawn – it’s fitted with sat-nav”.
The implication is that the mower is for a lawn that’s so big that you need gps to navigate your way round it without getting lost.
A cartoon about satellite navigation systems, large gardens, lawns, garden centres, unnecessary accessories, gimmicks, status indicators.
Cartoon reference number: a209
Che Guevara with V for Vendetta mask
Che Guevara wearing Guy Fawkes mask
The image of Che Guevara is based on Alberto Korda’s iconic photograph of Argentine revolutionary.
A parody of the famous Che Guevara poster, wearing a V for Vendetta mask.
The Guy Fawkes mask was adopted by the anti-capitalist Occupy movement, and protesters at the Occupy camps outside St Paul’s cathedral and elsewhere were frequently seen wearing the masks..
The idea for the image is that Che Guevara and the Occupy movement were anti-capitalist, and both images – the famous photograph of Che Guevara and the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask – are iconic images. So bringing the two iconic images together seems like a logical step.
The fact that the Che Guevara image is frequently available on merchandising from posters to t-shirts produced within the capitalist system is not without irony.
Cartoon reference number: a120
Facebook cartoon. Facebook friends cartoon
Facebook internet marketing cartoon, showing a Facebook page with the message “On-line marketing wants to be your friend”.
This cartoon was drawn when Facebook was due to be floated on the stock market in 2012, based on the idea that following the proposed stock market flotation Facebook would change from being a social networking site into a commercial marketing site, appropriated by business and commercial interests as a channel for selling their goods and services.
The process had already started, with data about Facebook users’ ‘likes’ being used as a means of targeting and reaching potential customers.
The joke in the cartoon is that business interests cannot be your ‘friends’ as they are only interested in you because of your money.
A cartoon about the commercialisation of social media sites. A cynical view on what it will mean to be a Facebook friend in the future.
Cartoon reference number: a115
An anti smoking cartoon that parodies cigarette advertising.
This is an anti-smoking cartoon parody of a cigarette advertising campaign for John Player Special cigarettes in the early 1980s.
The cigarette packets were black, and the advertising campaign relied on a number of visual puns and word plays on the word black (using the similarity between the words ‘black’ and ‘back’) – word plays such as “Black chat” (with a photo of two packs of cigarettes looking as though they were talking to each other) and “Flash black” (with a photograph of a cigarette packet surrounded by flashes of lightning).
My parody or spoof advert used similar plays on the word black, but giving it a negative spin such as by using the term “Black death” (with a skull made out of cigarette packets), “Black to the land” (i.e. being in a grave, with a cigarette packet as a gravestone) “Blackstabber” (being stabbed in the back with a cigarette) and “Black against the wall” (being against a wall with a firing squad – the bullets being cigarettes).
This is an anti smoking cartoon or illustration that was drawn when cigarettes were still advertised on bill boards or advertising hoardings in Britain.
An extra touch in the illustration is the figure who is walking out of the cartoon to the left. It is a figure who is wheeling a shopping basket in the form of a John Player Special cigarette packet. The hand clutching the basket is a skeleton, because the figure is death.
Cartoon reference number: a064
Nigerian email scam cartoon.
A cartoon showing a person who has answered Nigerian email scams that he has received – and has found that they are genuine.
The humour in the cartoon is due to the fact that the scam emails from Nigeria and elsewhere, often pretending to come from a bank employee or the wife of a recently deceased finance minister or similar wealthy person ar so obviously fraudulent that no one with any sense would take them seriously or assume that they were genuine.
A cartoon about internet fraud, scam emails, con men, con man, confidence tricksters, gullibility, credulousness.
Cartoon reference number: a053
Cartoon showing a second hand car bought on ebay. The car is a toy car but the buyer thought it was a full size, real sports car.
The ebay buyer is complaining that it’s hard to judge the size of objects when you see them on a computer screen.
A cartoon about internet sales, on-line marketing, deception, deceptive size.
The joke is that it’s impossible to judge goods properly when you buy them on line over the internet, especially through web-baased auction sites such as ebay.
Cartoon reference number: a049
Diet cartoon. A cartoon about gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, dietary fashions and food fad intolerance.
A cartoon about food intolerance, showing a person who is gluten intolerant (and who is rejecting some bread), a person who is lactose intolerant (and who is rejecting some milk) and a person who is food fad intolerant (and who eating a plate full of food that is normally labelled as unhealthy).
A cartoon about food fads, health, dietary fads, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, nutrition, allergies, allergy, allergic reactions, food scares.
Men doing housework cartoons. A vacuum cleaner designed to appeal to men.
A cartoon showing a man looking at a vacuum cleaner and being interested in its design and specifications.
Some household devices such as the Dyson vacuum cleaner are very muscular and macho, and are probably designed to be targeted to appeal to male sensibilities.
A cartoon about gender differences, feminism, gender roles, masculinity, male traits, household chores, product design.
Cartoon reference number: a029
A cartoon showing a child on a swing using a hand held device such as a phone or electronic game.
A cartoon about the allure of the electronic.
Cartoon showing a father pushing his child on a swing. The child is engrossed in a hand held device (perhaps a phone or an electronic gaming device).
A cartoon about childhood, attention, play, bonding, parenting, physical play versus electronic play.
Cartoon reference number: a007