Scientists plug in CO2 Toaster

by Franke James

Science Art Nature logo header at Stanford

Exhibit showcases CO2 Toaster as a creative example of Art & Science working together

Don’t wait until we’re toast! Cut your CO2 Now!
Use the CO2 Toaster Widget To Track CO2

Toronto, Canada — June 2010:

Science Art-Nature, based in Palo-Alto, California, plugged in the CO2 Toaster for an online art exhibit held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Pacific Region of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Science Art Nature exhibit at Stanford

The animated CO2 Toaster widget is one of 38 artworks selected for exhibit as examples of Science Art. The widget was designed to be an engaging and memorable tool to track CO2. It is a creative collaboration by artist/author Franke James, designer/programmer Bill James, and Michael McGee, creator of

The CO2 Toaster always shows the latest monthly data by pulling NOAA data for atmospheric CO2 from the Mauna Loa Observatory in the United States. The code can easily be added to most websites or blogs.

Why is tracking CO2 important?
Bill McKibben, founder of and author of Eaarth, has noted: “350 is a very tough number. We’re already well past it. The atmosphere holds 390 ppm today, which is why the Arctic is melting and the ocean steadily acidifying. To get back to a safe level we need a very rapid halt to the use of coal, gas and oil so that forests and oceans can absorb some of that carbon.”

The story behind the CO2 toaster

Franke James says, “We developed the CO2 toaster as our personal climate action for’s Day of Climate Action. We thought it was the best way to deliver this simple message on a daily basis: Don’t wait until we’re toast! Cut your CO2 Now! Since that event in October 2009, thousands of toasters have been downloaded for free. The opportunity to spread the message further through the Science Art-Nature exhibit was perfect. The toaster shows that artistic metaphors and concrete data can mix to produce lively offspring.  Right brain people and left brain people can work  together and produce some amazing  results.”

Michael McGee comments, “CO2 prefers to keep quiet and out of sight. The CO2 Toaster widget yanks away the invisibility cloak and reveals the CO2 trend for the culprit that it is. This widget grabs attention and shares important information about our planet. Not only does it say what CO2 is right now, it shows what CO2 has been, and what it should be.”

The Science Art-Nature Exhibit

The 38 images included in the 25-topic exhibit will remain online as part of Science Art-Nature’s mission to raise the prominence of Science Art and the benefits of combining the accuracy of science with the evocative power of art. The exhibit helps to communicate the benefits of Science Art by informing viewers about nature and encouraging the sustainable use of resources.

What is Science Art?

“Works of Science Art skillfully represent truths about the world and its creatures, often suggesting important connections among subjects and their surroundings and teaching us indirectly about nature itself.” Science Art-Nature

Science Art Categories: The 35 categories included Atmospheric and Oceanographic Sciences, Organismal Biology, Ecology, Anthropological Approaches to Environmental Change, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Computer and Information Sciences Link, Education, Agriculture and Horticulture, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Protection.

Participating Artists: Bev Abbott, Chris Augusta, Carel P. Brest van Kempen, Martha Brouwer, Pery Burge, Kelly Dodge, Christophe Drochon, Lori Dunn, Ulco Glimmerveen, Franke James, Bill James, and Michael McGee, David N. Kitler, Martin Lasack, Liz Lee, Terry Miller, Robert Mullen, Rick Pas, Patricia Pepin, Teri Power, Jennifer Rodriguez, Edward Rooks, Judith Gebhard Smith, Jim Turanchik, Darryl Wheye, Ria Winters, Floy Zittin.

About Science Art-Nature

Science Art-Nature is a nonprofit organization founded by Stanford University scientists, Don Kennedy and Paul Ehrlich, artists Tony Angell and Darryl Wheye, and nonprofit consultant Pamela Meadowcroft. It has launched an online Science Art exhibit with the generous support of Artists for Conservation (AFC) Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University (CCB) National Audubon Society Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa) and an anonymous donor. The exhibit features artwork relevant to the research presented at the AAAS Pacific Division meeting, “The Art of Science,” Ashland, Oregon, 13-17 June, 2010.

Exhibit link

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