Maps as conversation starters

Since I started making artistic maps, I've received dozens of messages from people telling me how my maps reminded them about those forests and mountains they used to go hiking on with their families when they were little, or that little stream by their garden, that river their father used to take them fishing to, or just how they're using these maps to plan their next adventure. It seems maps can strengthen people's emotional connection to nature, making us appreciate it more, and take care of it more. 

Forest cover map of Europe in vivid green by Grasshopper Geography.
 
At least that’s what the forest cover map of Europe does to me, for example. It is probably my favourite forest map of all. I can honestly just stare at it for hours, always discovering something new, or simply just appreciating the beauty of nature. 
 
I believe these maps can also act as almost like a mirror. When they are on our walls, we do stop to think about the small decisions, like do I really need to buy that water in a plastic bottle, do I really need to print this invoice, do I really need to order this product if it's shipped from China? 

Three guys in deep discussion in front of the river basin map of the contiguous US. Photo credit: walrusdinosaur on Instagram.
 
They can be the perfect conversation starter about nature conservation as well, having been a happy eyewitness to people talking about what and how should be done about reforestation projects in England, after having seen my forest map of the country. I also learned a lot about history and shipbuilding that day. The same goes for rivers. Just looking at the river basin map of the US, half the country instantly sees that whatever they throw in a river or a stream, or any industrial waste they let into it, it all goes on a long journey, visiting their friends in New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico at the end, polluting ecosystems along the way.
 
So if you ask me, that's the power maps can have.

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