Pep Sketches

comics to stay positive and take action

Hi! I’m Sarah. Minimum Viable Planet is my weeklyish newsletter about climateish stuff, and how to keep it together in a world gone mad. I’m always curious to know what you think.

What is the opposite of that frisson of panic that washes over you when you see a horrible story about famine in Madagascar? I think it would be that little spike of pleasure you get when you think of something unabashedly delightful and positive. Cute puppies, sure, but other things, too. The climate negatives are unceasing and visceral. They literally make my heart skip a few beats. And not in a cool, syncopated kind of way. Which is why I’ve been making this little illustrated list for a few months now, in the hopes of putting together a mini-book that might give people the pep they need to stem their mean greens in order to get out and do do do. A thing you could peek at when you need a jolt of let’s do this. After last week’s hot and heavy edition, I thought it might be nice to excerpt a few of these pep sketches this week.

Pep Sketch #52:

I think this ^^^ is a trope of mine. I found a very similar drawing I did a few years ago.


What gives you hope/comfort/energy? (can be climate-y or not so climate-y!) Send me your thoughts if you want me to draw them!


So many beautiful responses from all parts of the world. Thank you!

J and M and my dad caught my Leonard Cohen reference. Thank you!

L wrote about trying to teach her small Vermont town about the increasing frequency of tropical nights. They sound beautiful but can wreak havoc on places that are not prepared for them. Inspiring to hear about people doing the work in their towns and cities.

C writes: I resonated with a lot of this! The heat hasn't been intense here in MN - but it's more of the existential dread, doom-scrolling, reading stories and seeing images of what's happening around the world and in places I love so much. And the general sense that our US government, which actually has a rare opportunity to act on this by stopping pipelines and passing major climate legislation, is completely effing it up. 

L writes: I told a friend yesterday that I have a weird duality of emotional states these days - optimism as vaccination rise and case counts drop, matched by dread about the climate emergency. We know that we can make society-wide change in response to a deadly pandemic. As Sarah Miller wrote, what will it take for similar massive action to protect ourselves from the climate crisis?

L writes: Well we're having a very rainy July. I've lived in Perth for 10 years and I can't remember a period of consecutive days of rain like this. And I can relate to what you said about loving/fearing it. It's battered down, my neighbour's roof leaked, we lost power yesterday. I'm glad for the rain for my plants and the plants in general and wish I had a water tank. I'm scared that the wild weather will become more frequent and power cuts will be more common and do I need to have an emergency gas stove? (And then - gas, arghh?!)


And a couple really interesting reads:

Hope you are happy and healthy. Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!