“A clean, healthy environment is a goal for everyone. We need everyone on board to fight pollution and protect the environment!” — Able, Pollution is for the Birds, Part 2, p. 6.
|Creator(s)||Andy Hirsch (author)|
|Publisher||Think Earth Environmental Education Foundation|
|Genre||Educational, Animal Comic, Fiction|
|Environmental Themes and Issues||Anthropomorphism, Climate Change, Pollution, Fuel Extraction or Shortages, Sustainable Living, Recycling|
|Protagonist’s Identity||Able: Male pigeon (Nonhuman / Animal)|
|Protagonist’s Level of Environmental Agency||Level 5: High Environmental Agency and Activism|
|Settings||Unspecified Urban Setting|
Pollution is for the Birds is a free, 16-page educational comic produced by Andy Hirsch for the Think Earth Environmental Education Foundation. The comic’s protagonist, an anthropomorphic, glass-wearing pigeon named Able, travels from his country home to the city to visit his cousin Rosa. To Able’s dismay, he discovers that humans have polluted the environment: smog spewed by cars and factories chokes the birds, litter covers the streets, and toxic liquids contaminate the water. While Rosa responds to the pollution with feelings of despair and resignation, Able decides to address the pollution, declaring, “We’re gonna save the world!… You’ve opened my eyes to pollution, now keep your eyes open for solutions!” (Hirsch, pp. 8-9). The pigeons alter individual humans’ behavior by pecking litterers, distributing non-toxic cleaning supplies, and even using bird poop to write pro-environmental messages on windshields. Additionally, Able and Rosa emphasize that corporations, especially energy companies, must alter their behavior as well in order to create real change. Finally, the pigeons highlight the need for more laws that will restrict pollution. At the conclusion of the comic, the birds have produced tangible change. Rosa remarks, “You know, I feel like we made a difference. The humans owe us big time.” Able responds, “The water’s cleaner, the ground is litter-free… *sniff* Aah, even the air smells nice” (Hirsch 7). By underscoring the need for environmental activism from individuals, corporations, and governments, the comic portrays pollution as a complex, systemic problem, while also empowering young readers to do their part to address the issue.
Free PDFs of the comic are available online: Part 1 and Part 2. Other environmental comics created by Hirsch include two volumes in the Science Comics series: Dogs: From Predator to Protector and Trees: King of the Forest.