I’m a big fan of Franke’s visual essays. She jumps into the muck where a lot of political pundits, climate scientists, and environmentalists keep mud wrestling with public opinion. They are earnestly trying to make us feel guilty enough to change our ways.
We can see how successful their efforts are. It can get discouraging for us serious types who figure what they’re saying is clear and convincing. Some of us can be pretty smug about what we’re doing to save the planet, as long as we ignore the compromises we make every day.
So we need Franke and her Green Conscience. She’s believable. She’s funny. And she’s a talented artist who is open about her own stumbles along the path to being a responsible global citizen. A cocktail-party conversation about climate change with Steven Levitt, “a rogue economist”, sparked one of her visual essays, A Green Winter: Will Global Warming Be Good for Canada? Wondering what kind of Canada her future grandchildren will live in inspired another, My Future Grandkids 2020. When Franke read Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You, her Green Conscience told her to toss out ordinary clothes and opt for Green Eccentric Glamour.
Franke isn’t afraid to tackle controversy. She’s taken on climate change (Ending the Climate War), an explosion in a nearby propane plant (12,000 Sitting Ducks), and Canada’s sorry environmental record (Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box).
A lot of us are inspired by Franke James and her Green Conscience. When she gave a talk to students at St. Clement’s (a private girls’ school in Toronto), they responded to her challenge to “Do something green and tell everyone about it — using stories, songs and pictures.” You can see in their thank-you notes the many ways the told her, “You really got my Green Conscience going.”
And although I’ve read and re-read Dinner with a Stranger, I’m still amazed by the story of Franke’s response to a cheeky e-mail from a stranger.
My life’s a whole lot more interesting and hopeful with Franke James in it. So is the planet’s because Franke’s art just may be the catalyst we need to persuade us to take better care of it.
Thank you, Franke. You are an inspiration.