Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax?!

A few weeks ago, I was inspired to make a presentation board for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. I know, I know, sounds dry as hell! Two years ago, I would have thought the same thing, with a few more negative adjectives thrown in the mix. However, I've come to realize, over the past two years of volunteering with the Citizens' Climate Lobby, that if we were to tax fossil fuels at the source, in this country, and return all the revenue to American households, we could actually have a chance at turning things around and cooling down our atmosphere--an ever-important task for ALL life around here. 

So, I saw a version of this presentation board by Marti Roach, Group Leader for CCL Contra Costa County.  I was impressed with how simple she made it, just slapping things together and making it happen. Well, I can't say that I kept mine simple, but I did create something that I'm proud of and excited to share with anyone who wants to make one for their CCL group (or who knows, to show off to your friends?!). 

The following instructions are for the presentation board itself, including the graphics, photos, fonts, and layout. At the bottom of this post is a gallery of photos, containing both photos of the board itself as well as detailed photos of the table top easel that I made to support it. I am hoping to create a video of one of us giving this presentation, which I will post here as well, once I do!  If you are one of those who is inspired to take on this little project, I've made a little kit for you, downloaded here to Google docs, including the following instructions as well as the photos, graphics, and text that I used (please be in touch if I've forgotten anything or made any glaring errors that should be fixed!).

Enjoy, and share as you are so inspired! And may we educate, far and wide, that taxes need not be scary, dry, nor avoided, and that there ARE solutions to climate change that can benefit the economy!

Materials needed:
magnetic white board
magnets, optimally of varying thicknesses (roll tape, ceramic discs, plastic coated...)
color printer
regular printer paper
glue stick or spray adhesive
hot glue gun and glue sticks
cardboard (cereal boxes or similar thickness work well)
multi-colored construction paper

Bonus, if you have it:
paper cutter
photo paper

Making the Board

  1. Buy a white board/magnetic board from a local office supply store. The one I chose measures ~ 2ft by 2.5ft. I chose a smaller size for tabling, but it would be nice to have a bigger one for doing presentations to bigger audiences (at least until I put this on power point).
  2. Gather or print out the images for the white board, using either your own that you've collected, drawn, painted or otherwise crafted, or those below (you can print on paper that has print on the back because the words won't show through once you glue it down on paper).
  3. Cut out the printed images. On some of them, you may choose to cut directly around the image itself, leaving no border (as I did with the oil and coal), or you may choose to leave a small (1/8in) border around the image (works well with photographs or rectangular images). This creates contrast for the eyes to have some cut with no border.
  4. Mount the images to cardboard. You may choose to give a color background, using the construction paper, to some of them, (as I did with the pollution photo (#1), Wall St. photo and the family). If this is the case, glue the photo or image to the construction paper, then to the cardboard, using a glue stick or spray adhesive (my adhesive came undone a day later, but I'm not sure if it was because my adhesive was too old). Do this with all of the images.
  5. Print out the words and numbers, using glossy photo paper if available. This allows the words to stand out even more from the images. 
  • Cut out the title, "Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax", with a small border around the letters, and glue the title to red construction paper. Cut out the red with a small border (I made mine a bit bigger than the border around the letters).
  • Do the same for all the numbers. Then glue all of these to cardboard.
  •  Glue "Carbon Pollution" to the photo of the smoggy city (#1). I chose to put mine off center, low, hanging off the photo.
  • Glue "Free Pollution" and "Social Costs" to two different colored construction papers. I chose black for the pollution one, and cut spikes around it, and chose a triangle to point down to the images of the social costs. I avoided red, since I used that for the numbers, title, and results.
  • Cut the other titles out in the form of long arrows. I chose to make mine in different arrow shapes for variety. Then, mount these on to a new colored construction paper. I chose green (for 'go'). Then, glue these arrows to the cardboard backing. While you're in the process of cutting out arrows, cut out another one that will go behind the renewables (#5).
  • Glue the family on to something bright, (I chose yellow and orange), and cut them out into some shape that jumps out. Then, glue this on to cardboard backing.

6. Using a hot glue gun (or the sticky backing of the magnetic roll), glue on the magnets to the backs of the cardboard pieces. I used bigger (3/4 in) ceramic discs on the photos,graphics, titles, arrows (which has them jump off the board a bit), and thinner ones (office supply magnets with plastic backs, and magnetic roll) on the numbers and final numbers at the end (this allows them to cozy up under the photos for a neat 3D effect).

7. Arrange the graphics, titles and numbers on the board in the order that they go for our carbon tax solution. In my board, I chose to start with the title in the upper left hand corner, and put #1 just under that, with the picture of the carbon pollution, and the oil, gas, and coal graphics under or around that (those could also be added one at a time, along with all the rest of the numbers and graphics/photos as you are doing the presentation). See the attached photo to see how I arranged my board.

8. What you can't really see is that I have the white board sitting on a wooden easel, which I also chose to make one Saturday. This would be easily purchased at an art supply store for about $30-40. I didn't want to pay that much so I chose to download some instructions from the internet and use some leftover walnut countertop that we had from a kitchen remodel. With the rubber feet, and tying the board to the top of the tripod with string, it is actually pretty sturdy in the wind. I modeled mine after this one. And photos are attached, as well.

Additional Tips:

  • Using regular Elmer's glue on the back of your photos, assuming you've printed them on regular paper and not photo paper, will create a bumpy, less than professional look. Glue stick or adhesive spray is much preferred.
  • I used adhesive spray on mine, and days later, and after sitting in my hot car, they are coming unattached. However, my spray is many many years old, so it may not be good anymore. 

Click on the photos above to see partial visuals of both the board, as well as detailed shots of the table top easel we made to support it. For more complete depictions, check out my Citizens' Climate Lobby page.