Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box

Fat Cat illustration by Franke James

Fat Cat, population and fresh water illustration by Franke James

waterfall illustration by Franke James

tailing pond photo illustration by Franke James. Photo Copyright © 2005 The Pembina Institute Photo: Dan Woynillowicz, The Pembina Institute OilSandsWatch.org

dead duck illustration by Franke James

tailing pond and methane illustration by Franke James

cow illustration by Franke James

tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace. Map copyright Google. Wikipedia map by Norman Einstein. Composite illustration by Franke James

Canada is number one exporter illustration by Franke James

Biggest energy project illustration by Franke James

cartoon illustration of Prime Minter Harper illustration by Franke James

tar sands photo by © Greenpeace/EM. Illustration by Franke James

tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace. Illustration and photo of sewer grate by Franke James, Environment Canada statistic from Kelly Cryderman Vancouver Sun Dec 6, 2009

cartoon illustration of toaster by Franke James

ozone layer polar bear illustration by Franke James

backpack flag love illustration by Franke James

fossil illustration by Franke James

dirty old man illustration by Franke James

fat cat villain illustration by Franke James

Harper demonized illustration by Franke James

Shared Values: Canadians & Sustainability national study by Hoggan & Associates, 2006-2009. Quote from Globe letters. embarrassed illustration by Franke James

Heavy lifting illustration

grocery bags illustration by Franke James, TTC bus photo by istock/kozmoat98

shoes and boots CO2 illustration by Franke James

twitter screen grabs and fact cat illustration by Franke James

twitter and cat tail illustration by Franke James

Flamingo Florida north illustration by Franke James

health canada report cover

health canada report cover

shoe and boot smog illustration by Franke James

Greenpeace Canada photo of Ottawa action Dec 7 2009

call PMO illustration by Franke James

call PMO illustration by Franke James

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
PMO’s Ottawa Office: (+1) (613) 992-4211
Toll-free: 1 (866) 599-4999
Calgary office: (+1) (403) 253-7990
Twitter: @PMharper
e-mail: pm@pm.gc.ca
fax: 613-941-6900

send canada a message illustration by Franke James

litter box illustration by Franke James

What Canadians Can Do

If you’re a Canadian reading this, here’s the action plan from CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK CANADA:

  1. Take action to make sure your federal elected official:
    a) Signs the Kyoto Plus Pledge For Elected Officials
    b) Supports and implements the Climate Change Accountability Act

    The Climate Change Accountability Act is currently moving through Parliament. The bill asks Canada to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and define Canada’s approach to climate change moving into the climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen.

    Contact Your Federal MP:
    You can find your Member of Parliament using your postal code

  2. Educate your friends, colleagues and co-workers about the need to take action on climate change NOW!
  3. Attend events in your area hosted by CAN member groups. Also check out The World Wants a Real Deal
  4. Contact CAN members to find out more ways to get involved
  5. Sign the petition at kyotoplus.ca

Visual Essay Credits:

“Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box” © 2009 Franke James

Photographs, illustrations and writing by Franke James, MFA, except as noted below in order of appearance:

Tailing Ponds illustration features: photo © 2005 The Pembina Institute, Dan Woynillowicz OilSandsWatch.org

“Big as England” illustration features: Tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace
Grand Vision illustration uses: Tar sands photo by © EM / Greenpeace

“Sewer Sky” illustration features: Tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

Scaling Parliament Buildings in Ottawa: December 7, 2009 ©Greenpeace Canada

Background Research & Resources:

My thanks to the following people and organizations who helped with research reports and photographs for this essay: Andrew Nikiforuk, Gavin Dew at desmogblog, Greenpeace Canada and Pembina Institute.

Shared Values: Canadians & Sustainability national study by Hoggan & Associates, 2006-2009

Building on a comprehensive national study that began five years ago, this new 2009 survey examines the views of 4,368 Canadians as well as 1,000 of the country’s “thought leaders”senior-level individuals in business, academia, government, non-government organizations, and media. The study explores their beliefs and attitudes about sustainability, global warming and a wide range of social and environmental issues.


Dirty Oil: How the tar sands are fueling the global climate crisis by Andrew Nikiforuk for Greenpeace, September 2009

Health Canada Report: Harper Government Suppresses Climate Report Now Available Here

Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute? The Scientific Evidence
Kevin P. Timoney, and Peter Lee
Cattle statistic: Page 10: “At the Mildred Lake Settling Basin (MLSB), 60-80% of the gas flux across the pond’s surface is due to methane; the pond produces the equivalent methane of 0.5 million cattle/day [11].”

Climate Leadership, Economic Prosperity: Final Report on an Economic Study of Greenhouse Gas Targets and Policies for Canada; The Pembina Institute, October 2009

Taking the Wheel PDF The Pembina Institute [www.oilsandswatch.org]

Survey of Albertans on Oil Sands PDF The Pembina Institute [http://www.oilsandswatch.org]

Carbon 2008 PDF Corporate Knights [www.corporateknights.ca]

[Originally published on Franke James Green Conscience site]

Franke James speaks on Climate Change Art

mcmichael logo On October 10/07 Franke James spoke to 150 high school students and educators at the McMichael Gallery about Climate Change art. Franke presented her animation of A Green Winter: Will Global Warming be Good for Canada and Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art.

Franke wanted to give the students insight into what climate change art is, and the thought process she uses to construct her visual essays. So she developed a presentation for them that explained the six basic building blocks she uses…

The Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art:
1. SYMBOLS: How to show climate change when you can’t see it
Give old phrases new meaning
3. WITNESS: How do you help the viewer see what you see?
4. CULTURE CHANGE: What will we lose?
5. HUMAN NATURE: Can you touch a nerve?
6. ACTION: Do something green and record it

Franke’s ‘call to action’ for the students was: “Do something Green and document it! Make a story. Draw pictures. Take photos. Tell the world what you’ve done and why.”

Feedback: A Parent
“Thank you for the delightful presentation at the McMichael last week. My daughter does not consider herself artistic… or did not until you showed your Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art presentation… like you, she has a quirky sense of humour and sees the world a bit differently. You showed her how one can use WORDS and humour to make art and influence people! Many thanks for your energy and inspiration.”

Feedback: Scott McDonald, Director Education and Programmes, McMichael Canadian Art Collection:
“Rarely do the talents of a professional artist and educator come together in equal measure as they do in the work of Franke James. Her Six Tools for Climate Change presentation at the McMichael was the ideal vehicle for presenting complex material in a compelling and accessible format for everyone in attendance.

Franke has the rare skill of presenting important abstract concepts with immediacy and relevance through her art. Simply outstanding.”

Feedback: Christa Gampp, Art Educator
“Your presentation must have lit quite a few “green” lights in the minds of our young audience! I am positive that the students went away with that “spark” to start on their own creative project. Today’s youth can very readily relate to your imagery and messages due to your use of media. Your artwork is very creative and relevant to our times. I loved your mentoring message to the students: to choose a topic that is related to their own surroundings and interests. I am looking forward to seeing the student art exhibition at the McMichael next year and I am sure I’ll be able to spot your positive “influence” in the artworks! Thanks again!”

Feedback: Stephen Leahy – Environmental Journalist:
Make Climate Change Art, Not War
“Toronto artist Franke James is doing great work both in expressing her concern and understanding in her colourful and insightful visual essays about climate change but also as a teacher of others in workshops for young artists — Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art.”

Feedback: EcoSherpa: Franke James’ Audio Visual Essay?
Anyone who has read this blog on a regular basis will know that I’m a BIG fan of Canadian artist & environmentalist Franke James



The McMichael Gallery holds a special place in Canadian art history as it boasts one of the largest Group of Seven collections in the world. You can read about its founders, Robert and Signe McMichael. The event was organized by Scott McDonald, Director Education and Programmes and Rosa Calabrese, Educator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to inspire the students to make art about climate change. The student’s work will be featured in a juried exhibition in 2008.