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The "Climate Hawk" Community Gets an Attractive Logo

"Climate hawks" now have a logo. But is becoming a "brand" a good thing for people who care about climate but don't want to call themselves green?

I'm a "climate hawk." Andrew, who wrote about the term awhile back, probably considers himself one too. A "climate hawk," as Andrew defined it, is "one who takes the risk of climate change seriously and wants America to get ahead of the challenge with meaningful legislation." It's broad, it can include but isn't limited to self-identifying environmentalists. Matt Yglesias (who wears the label) broke down the term nicely:

Well of course much like a deficit hawk or a national security hawk or an inflation hawk, a climate hawk is tough-minded and awesome and entitled to worshipful media coverage. We’re very serious people who want to confront the major challenges of our time. Are we environmentalists? Perhaps. But many of us aren’t really “nature-lovers,” we just think it would be unfortunate if low-lying areas were flooded, while vast new regions of the earth are stricken with drought. We recognize that the particulate pollution from burning coal and the geopolitical consequences of oil dependence are both dire enough to make a compelling case for energy reform even apart from the greenhouse gas issue.


Since being first introduced by Dave Roberts on Grist back in October, I've been using the term, and have come across it more and more regularly. It rolls off the tongue, flies off the fingers, and I don't skip a beat when I come across it on page or in posts. It makes total sense in describing a certain type of climate advocate that I'd never felt perfectly comfortable calling "green" or "environmentalist."

What "climate hawk" hasn't been is anything more than a label. Now it's been given the full brand treatment by Joe Immen, an enterprising young graphic designer from Ohio (himself, of course, a self-described "climate hawk"). Fast Company Design talked to Immen, who admitted taking some inspiration from the Obama campaign's designs, and who said that "I thought it should look more modern instead of being retro, because the impacts of climate change are in the future."

My initial thoughts: badass. It looks awesome, conveys the perfect combination of patriotism, strength, and forward-leaning action.

That said, is it necessary to turn the label into a brand? "National security hawks" and "deficit hawks" don't have logos. Is creating a logo—a brand—the sort of self-aggrandizing behavior that turns off most mainstream Americans?

But, hey, it's all in good fun. And the logo is pretty slick. So it's probably best not to overthink it. If you're a climate hawk who digs the look, you can order a bumper sticker from Immen's store.

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