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Companies changing logos in support of climate fight


Rochester People’s Climate Coalition is trying to go viral like the Ice Bucket Challenge did, but with melting instead of freezing.

RMSC changed its logo to call attention to climate change.
RMSC changed its logo to call attention to climate change.

And instead of curing a disease, the group is aiming to cure the planet of climate change by educating people and businesses about steps they can take to help.

RPCC, with the help of a lot of legwork from Partners + Napier, launched its #LogoWarming campaign on Thursday, with about 10 business and organization partners participating. Each agreed to change its logo for a time to represent the melting caused by global warming, and to challenge other entities to do the same.

The idea is to not only call attention to climate change but also to what can be done about it, namely to “Go All Electric.”  The theory is that because 91 percent of the electricity generated in New York comes from nuclear, water, wind or solar power already, switching from fossil fuel for heating or transportation to electricity cuts down on carbon production.

“Where our emissions come from is the heating of our buildings and transportation. Both of those lend themselves to electrification,” said Abigail McHugh-Grifa, executive director of RPCC. “Go All Electric is an idea we want to be planting in everyone’s mind.”

McHugh-Grifa said that while most people agree that the earth’s atmosphere is heating up, they often don’t know what to do to fight that potentially cataclysmic phenomenon. Many folks haven’t heard of or don’t understand what a heat pump is, for example, she said, referencing a heating system that pulls heat out of your house in the summer and draws it from the warmer earth in the winter. It saves both money and energy costs.

“The heating and cooling systems — that is going to be slower to come along than electric vehicles,” McHugh-Grifa said. But the group is focusing on one step at a time, starting with asking companies to change the appearance of their logos online temporarily.

With the help of Partners + Napier, the logos are being remade to look as if they’re melting in the heat of the sun.

“For companies, their logo is sacred,” McHugh-Grifa said. “I think it is a big ask for businesses to do this. But protecting our planet is absolutely worth it.”

Apparently a cadre of companies and institutions agree.

The Rochester Museum and Science Center, along with its Cumming Nature Center, has signed on to be two of the initial #LogoWarming participants.

“It’s a lovely, beautiful way to get something out there,” said RMSC President and CEO Hillary Olson.

Hillary Olson
Hillary Olson

A museum of science is an ideal organization to be involved, she said, because its job is to share science without bias.

“We can be a community convenor for everyone, all belief systems,” Olson said. “Museums are a trusted source of information. There’s so much that’s been politicized about this issue unnecessarily. It’s an issue of science and it’s an issue of what we can do … using our brains and human ingenuity.”

The #LogoWarming campaign seems to fit right in with companies that have already made environmental issues a priority. The museum, for instance, has changed its parking lot to porous material and commissioned an art piece that both collects rainwater runoff and educates people about water issues.

Similarly, David Brickman and Patricia Sunwoo, a married couple who own Hemp It Up, decided to go into the hemp products business because of their environmental concerns, said Brickman.  “Hemp can replace cotton in just about any use,” he said, but with less negative environmental impact. It can also be used to make paper, negating the need to cut down trees, which are necessary to help trap carbon dioxide.

Brickman and Sunwoo are professional violinists who also own another Park Avenue business adjacent to Hemp It up, called Bodymind Float Center. Both businesses will change their logos for the campaign.

“I hope that our melting logo will add to the din from scientists, activists and concerned citizens that screams ‘Climate change is real and the time to act is NOW!’” Brickman wrote in an email.

Other organizations that have signed on include Abundance Cooperative Market, Breathe Yoga, Brighton High School Climate Club, Computer Systems Asset Disposal, ROC Recycling Co., Stacy K Floral, Sweet and Cute, and SWBR.

Businesses interested in participating in the #LogoWarming challenge can learn more at the initiative’s website.
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