Facts are often not enough to change people’s minds. For that, you need compelling stories. Rewriting Extinction collaborates with artists and experts to craft poignant comics on Indonesia’s environmental issues.
Rewriting Extinction is all about finding new ways to frame existing environmental problems via fictional stories. We use those stories to inspire new audiences to care and do something different.
In my time in Rewriting Extinction, I’ve had over 200 collaborations. In this one, we made a couple of comics on the link between plastic pollution in Indonesia and the local wildlife. It has honestly been one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences that I’ve had.
Rewriting Extinction tries to engender as much responsibility and latitude to our writers and storytellers as we can. We’re there to connect their artistry and storytelling with expertise and solutions. That way we don’t just talk about the problem but also what people can do about it.
Crafting compelling comics
For the first comic, I worked with Ariela Kristantina, a wonderful writer and artist who works a lot in traditional mainstream printed comics. She has a very charming way of weaving in the issues with a compelling emotional story, which is exactly what I founded Rewriting Extinction to do.
Her story was focused around the idea of family: a mother and child turtle and a father and child fisher. It was beautifully done; the juxtaposition of what life would be like for the two different sets of families.
The second story with Pungky and Sheila was a three-way collaboration. Pungky is an environmental expert that works a lot with jungles and forests, aiming to both capture and save plants and animals. He educates young people on sustainable practices and how to engage better with wildlife.
We were talking about the throwaway disposable cup mentality in Jakarta. People litter their coffee cups, throwing them mindlessly or leaving them on the ground. People don’t realise that the monsoon wind and rain would push those disposable cups into the water streams. There was no filtration system, so the trash goes straight down and harms the ecosystem around Jakarta.
A smooth process all the way
We did everything on video conference, arranging a time when the two timezones would naturally find a nice happy medium. We’d discuss and decide the idea on a call, email the summaries, then turn the idea into a script.
Once the team agrees on the script, we turn it into sketches. Once those are agreed upon, we would draw, colour, and letter the comics. The whole thing was very quick and went without a hitch.
We launched our comics on social media and made sure everyone could see. The content has no barriers, financial or otherwise. We pushed them on our channels and we did Instagram Lives to reach even more audience, doing our best to give the maximum chance of them being seen and making a difference.