Although some might argue that they have jumped the shark, lolcats seem to be everywhere these days, having spread far beyond the imageboard 4chan in 2005. They appear regularly all over the Internet, from social news sites to chumby ads, and have been covered in Time. Some 61% of the Bible has now been translated into lolspeak.
Although lolcats are based on animals (and the form of expression evolved beyond cats long ago, notably to a certain elephant seal), the heavily anthropomorphized images rarely relate directly to the natural world, beyond basic needs (om nom noming, looking for things to om nom nom, and so on) -- until now.
The new website Global Warming Hates Kittens takes the Internet phenom to new levels, with the tagline "Kittens are very concerned about climate change." The site encourages users to submit their cat photos, then links a humorous caption to legit info about the very real threat posed by climate change. (Course some might argue that they aren't true lolcats, since they don't have the text superimposed on the image, true macro style. That's why I took the liberty to combine their images and text via icanhascheezburger.com).
As an example, Global Warming Hates Kittens shows a placid scene of a cat relaxing above a gorgeous Venetian canal. The caption "Venice kitten sez: Global warmingz takes mai home" links to information about the dangers of sea level rise. The site will only be as good as the community of users, but it seems like a good way to get more people engaged in thinking about climate change, while having some fun.
In honor of Global Warming Hates Kittens, here's my list of the best "green" lolcats from the Net:
1. May I Present to You… The Ocean
All kidding aside, the world's oceans are in serious jeopardy, from growing dead zones, overfishing, oil spills, floating plastic and much more, not to mention widespread disruption from global warming. The Earth is largely an aquatic planet, and the health of the oceans effect the health of us all.
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2. gudbai beachez
Global Warming Hates Kittens links this adorable little trooper to a WWF report about the potentially devastating effects of worldwide sea level rise, which is expected to be as much as 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. That means disappearing nations in the Pacific, loss of crucial wetlands and rising floodwaters.
3. Delta squad had no idea…
Everyone knows cats are born hunters, but few people realize that domestic cats kill hundreds of millions of birds a year in the U.S. Much of the carnage is caused by feral cats, of which there are legions. This is increasingly worrying biologists, since so many American birds have experienced precipitous population declines in recent decades. Cats can also kill mammals, frogs and other critters, some of which are endangered.
4. Bird watchin
Birdwatching is an enormously popular hobby, and birders have long been some of the leaders in conservation, from John James Audubon right up to the present day. Sadly, experts say 25% of U.S. birds are imperiled, largely from habitat loss, but also from predation (lolcats), pollution, oil spills and other problems.
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5. I keep mai tree?
Global Warming Hates Kittens reminds us that climate change poses massive threats to the world's forests, which are crucial not only as habitat for countless species, but which also mitigate several of the Earth's systems, including weather and the water cycle. Forests are also the source of many useful products, from lumber to medicines. Just as kittens have an easier time climbing up trees than coming down, it isn't as easy to regenerate forests as it is to damage them.
Each year, between 100 million and 1 billion birds die from hitting glass, which makes the material about as deadly to our feathered friends as feral cats. The slaughter can be reduced by better positioning of buildings and panes, and avoiding glass walls of death.
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7. o noes global warmingz
With this image Global Warming Hates Kittens points out that every species on Earth is likely to be affected with widespread disruptions, from rising seas to spreading of disease, mass migrations, changes in plant growth and more. Even lolcats are not immune, mighty as they are. Perhaps even Ceiling Cat.