Animation Activism: A Climate Message to President Biden
by Lisa Ramsden
January 27, 2021
Who doesn’t love a good stop motion video and a song so catchy that you’ll be humming it for days? We sure do.
Who doesn’t love a good stop motion video and a song so catchy that you’ll be humming it for days? At Greenpeace, we love creative activism and getting our messages out into the world in different ways. We thought we’d add a bit of levity to Biden’s first few days in office while calling on him to go even further to protect our climate and communities.
His plan is to Build it Back Better – but while he’s at it, we need him to Build it Back Fossil Free.
President Biden has already given us so much to celebrate throughout his first two weeks in office by signing executive orders to rejoin the Paris agreement, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, pausing all new oil, gas, and coal leases on public lands, reversing the Muslim travel ban, and accelerating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. We’re thrilled with the action he has taken so far, but the will of the people mandates that he move our country towards a just transition off of fossil fuels. So, we created this catchy song to urge him to go even further.
We worked with artist Chelsea-Ritter Soronen to make this video possible and asked her to share some of her thoughts on this project.
Lisa: Why did you want to be part of this project?
Chelsea: In a time of such gross misinformation, art can be one of our greatest weapons and tools in relaying the facts we need to publicize to lead our movement towards a more livable and equitable planet. With art, we can make important information engaging and exciting. Even though this animation has a lot of very imaginative elements (hello, giraffe popping into the Oval Office) the items on the executive order, we illustrated are not just what we want, but what we need. There is not just an opportunity for the Biden Harris administration to take drastic action against the climate crisis, but an absolute requirement. In a world that profits off of the destruction of our earth’s most precious resources of water, air, and soil, one of the most radical things we can do is create with our communities.
Lisa: What was it like taking on an animation – it’s a bit different from what you typically do, right?
Chelsea: I had a lot of fun creating this animation. While most of my work is large-scale public works, it was refreshing to hunker down in the studio and lose myself in the laborious actions of repetitive work. There are 170 individual hand-drawn 11″ x 11″ frames, each one changing by just an inch or two. It offered ample time to meditate on the work it takes to achieve our large goals, we must chip away inch by inch, hour by hour, even when it seems like we’re not making a difference. The roads ahead are long, but hopefully, this new administration can make them easier to navigate.
Lisa: Anything else you’d like to share?
Chelsea: It was an honor to collaborate with Rico on the music and sound effects! The lyrics and vocals are so powerful and catchy. My favorite moments in artmaking are when artists collaborate across different mediums and arenas.
If you’d like to see more of Chelsea’s work, you can visit her website, www.iamchelsea.com or follow her on instagram @wagonways.
Greenpeace activist and composer of the song, Rico Sisney, was also excited about the collaboration. “All I needed to hear was ‘Stop Motion Animation’ and that Chelsea was drawing and I was in. I always try to jump on opportunities to approach these topics in a playful way that centers who and what we’re fighting for rather than who and what we are fighting against. To convey the large crowd of people that got President Elected and are now holding him accountable, the song needed more voices than mine. I invited two of my favorites, Maggie Vagle and Sam Trump from Sidewalk Chalk to sing with me and Danny Varela of House of Whales to mix and help create the soundscape. This is pretty different from the music we normally create together, but when I shared the concept no one hesitated to get on board. Finger-crossed that President Biden gets this stuck in his head as well.”
No KXL! No Line 3!
No extraction by our homes
No pollution in our communities
No sacrifice zones
End the era of fossil fuel production
Deliver us lots of jobs and justice
It’s a possibility if you build it fossil free
President Biden starts today
He better have climate on the brain
The planet aint got no time to waste
and the people have spoken
They say, “Protect our communities”
“Transform our economy”
You say that you build it back better
So build it back fossil free
Build it back fossil free
You can follow the musical crew behind this catchy song on Instagram @sidewalkchalkmusic
While you’ve still got “build it back fossil free!” bopping around in your head, tell President Biden to do exactly that. You can take action here.