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Climate Stripes and Systemic Design

by | Apr 2023 | SDA blog

What are the stripes over the hub images? #ShowYourStripes

You might recall the climate stripes, created by Professor Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading in 2018 and updated as of 2021. The bands of deep red on the right-hand side of each graphic show that global warming is rising across the globe. Each stripe represents the average temperature for a single year relative to the average temperature over the period as a whole—blue indicates cooler-than-average and red shows hotter than average.

RSD12-Vancouver organiser, Lindsay Cole, requested that the stripes be added to the image for the Vancouver event, which focuses on climate justice. Looking at all the hubs, you can see that sustainability is a component of every focus area. The distribution of hubs is a unique opportunity to show the climate stripes as a reminder that sustainability is core to systemic design.

In 2021, UN Climate Change, the World Meteorological Organization and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change backed the Climate Stripes campaign, and the WMO called 2021 “a make-or-break year for climate action, with the window to prevent the worst impacts of climate change” (WMO, 2021). The signs are all around us; a recent study on changes to the abyssal ocean (the seafloor and water column from 3,000 to 6,500) shows a net slowdown of overturning circulation of more than 40% by 2050, changes that would affect the global ocean for centuries (Li et al., 2023).

#ShowYourStripes graphics


World Meteorological Organization. (2021). Warming stripes show that climate change is here and now.

Li, Q., England, M.H., Hogg, A.M., Rintoul, S. & Morrison, A. (2023). Abyssal ocean overturning slowdown and warming driven by Antarctic meltwater. Nature 615, pp. 841–847.

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Ed Hawkins

Climate Lab Book


Reducing RSD’s Footprint

This year we wanted to reduce RSD’s footprint, so we have designed RSD12 as a multi-event symposia concept. The throughline is a four-hour daily online program dedicated to author presentations, with papers grouped around this year’s themes. There are 11 connected in-person events designed to increase locality and support accessibility and conviviality while reducing our carbon footprint and travel expenses.

The climate stripes are provided for each RSD12 hub, along with global stripes for the online programme.

Click on the graphic to go to the page for the region, where there are three additional graphics: labelled stripes, bars, and bars with scale.

Click on the hub information for the programme and event details.

The Globe | RSD12-online | Entangled in emergence | October 6–20, 2023

Colombia | RSD12-Bogotá | Design Research | October 6, 2023

Pennsylvania, USA | RSD12-Pittsburgh | Transgenerational Collaboration | October 7, 2023

Gujarat, India | RSD12-Ahmedabad | Designing Hopeful Futures | October 9, 2023

Mexico | RSD12-Monterrey | Evolution of Participatory Ecosystems | October 9

The Netherlands | RSD12-Amsterdam | Systemic Co-Design | October 10 & 11

Alberta, Canada | RSD12-Edmonton | Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom | October 10

Norway | RSD12-Normarka Forest | Natural Dialogues | October 11–13

British Columbia, Canada | RSD12-Vancouver | Designing Climate Justice | October 11 & 12

England, UK | RSD12-Loughborough | Synergy between Sciences | October 13 & 14

Ontario, Canada | RSD12-Toronto | Systemic Design Futuring | October 13 & 14

Italy | RSD12-Turin | To be announced | October 16

Washington DC, USA | RSD12-Washington DC | Disentangling Emergence | October 18–20

Many thanks to Professor Ed Hawkins and the University of Reading for the Climate Stripes. #ShowYourStripes

CC-BY licence


Final submissions are due on
April 30

Open call for Reviewers
April 1–30

Feedback to authors
June 30

sessions OCTOBER 16–18

RSD13-OSLO & Nordmarka Forest October 22–26

Lidar-derived image of the Danube River and floodplain near Tulln, Austria. Daniel Coe. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED