Nate Milton + This American Life tackle fossil fuels

Animator Nate Milton’s Eli was a highlight of 2019, a personal and highly ambitious dive into the worlds of manic delusion, magical thinking and high strangeness. Although he’s released a few odds and ends since then, he held off until yesterday to share another ambitious project: a trio of short films on fossil fuels and climate change, created in collaboration with This American Life and broadcaster Robert Krulwich.

Krulwich’s folksy narration and Milton’s loose, hand-drawn animation complement each other marvellously, each of them alternating between gravitas and whimsy, though not always at the same time. The science Krulwich shares here is nothing groundbreaking, but it’s presented clearly and creatively, outlining the scale of human consumption and not mincing words about the potential consequences. Milton’s love of science and reverence for the natural world come through in spades, his knack for distilling complex emotions into singular images serving him well in the world of science communication.

The trilogy premiered on CBS Sunday Morning in June, and all three together take less than 20 minutes to watch. Not a bad way to add some educational content to your media diet.