ENVT 200 03

The Planet of the Apes…Potentially?


This is a political comic from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The comic artist is named Rob Rogers. The text shows an ape talking to a GOP representative, saying, “Man-made pollution caused global warming, which led to the destruction of the entire planet…Now the apes are in charge!” The man responds simply, “I’m still not convinced.” This is a very clever comic which uses pop culture to address a common pattern in politics regarding climate change. The comic is an adaptation of the classic movie, Planet of the Apes, where apes have become highly evolved intellectuals fighting against mankind over domination of the world. This is a very clever way to address the constant tension of the global warming topic in politics today. Historically, conservatives have been known to deny evidence of climate change, and or taken away funding from the EPA. President Donald Trump even pulled out of the Paris Accords, so there  are many instances of conservatives “not being convinced” or supportive of issues of climate change or global warming.

It is quite clever to use apes, a creature we are said to have evolutionary ties with, to point out a political problem such as the ignorance of climate change. Something we have talked about a lot in class is the issue of sea levels rising. This is a known issue with obvious evidence and that is impacting nations around the world, and will impact about 414 US cities over the next century. This issue has been represented very well in the comic through the iconic Statue of Liberty, a huge symbol of America. Another aspect addressed in the image is the idea that climate change doesn’t affect Americans. Usually, people think this is a problem for people in developing countries, or for future generations. Showing the Statue of Liberty halfway underground with high sea level shows that America is just as susceptible to the negative environmental effects of climate change as other areas around the world. It was a clever way to use symbolism to connect global warming on a domestic scale.

One value addressed in the comic besides opinions on climate change is the value of action. The comic is satirically saying that if something isn’t done soon, the world will basically go to the apes. It is pointing out that even animals know something should be done. Valuing action and prevention rather than waiting for consequences is a main component of this scene. There really is no loss in fixing what issues we see now in the environment, rather than wait until it’s too late.

This comic is biased, however, and definitely has a liberal outlook on climate change. I don’t believe someone with a more conservative view would agree with the stereotypes addressed in the picture. That is kind of the point of political cartoons in my mind. It brings about an issue in a very biased way, usually supporting a conservative or liberal view, and shows which side is wrong. That should be kept in mind when looking at this comic. Not all conservatives are against climate change work, and there are some who support groups like the EPA or policies like the Paris Accords. The comic is meant to get a reaction out of the viewer to hopefully start a conversation, which I believe this artwork was successful at doing. All in all, the picture is simple but clear in its message that if we don’t do something about climate change soon, the world will go to the apes…literally.

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