Japan has made a pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% before the year 2030, as part of the international agreement on lowering carbon emissions that was reached in Paris in 2015. After a survey conducted by Japan’s Cabinet, it was found that young people were particularly blasé to the dangers of climate change, so a campaign was created by the Ministry of Environment in order to educate them. Perhaps inspired by the ministry’s acronym, MoE, it was decided that an effective way to touch hearts and persuade the kids to make Cool Choices was through moe girls.
You could colour us persuaded, if we weren’t already. These two characters were named Kimino Ima and Kimino Mirai, as a play on the Japanese phrases for “Your Present” and “Your Future”. Ima is a slob who doesn’t care about environmental efficiency. She’ll even turn the heat in her home up to unreasonable levels in winter, just so she can enjoy her favourite food, ice cream. But Mirai, she makes Cool Choices. In actuality, she is Ima’s equivalent from a parallel world that makes better choices in reducing its carbon footprint, enjoying a “clean, prosperous, advanced, and sustainable lifestyle”. Their two worlds were once joined, but at some point they diverged. The culprit? Wasteful energy use, of course. The only solution is for Mirai to teach Ima and her fellow nonchalant youngsters how to improve their lifestyles and save the environment.
The doppelgangers Kimino were designed by borges and illustrated by Maou_Illust. Their characters were chosen by the Ministry’s popular vote from 135 different entries, all submitted to a design contest that opened in October 2016. The MoE’s plan is now for Ima and Mirai to be “passed around little by little”, and so gradually change people’s attitudes towards environmental conservation.
The characters will be featured on official websites and smartphone apps aimed at teens and twenty-somethings. The app Cool Choice will give them advice on how to make their homes more energy efficient, through videos with explanations from experts, a virtual tour of a warmer planet, and predictions of how their hometowns could be affected if current attitudes stay the same. Of course, we know climate change is bad, but why did they have to make Ima the cutest? We’re feeling so conflicted right now.