Modern Take on WWII Poster Spotlights Why 'When You Drive a Car You Drive With Putin'

A new remix of an old poster brings it up to date with current events.

Eric remix of poster

Eric Zechar / no-faceposters / RedBubble

We have been showing old posters from the two World Wars for years, and a lot of newer remixes of them that bring them up to date. Michigan-based Eric Zechar has made two modern remixes of one of our favorites, originally promoting carpooling: "When you ride alone you ride with Hitler."

Zechar writes on his webshop where he is raising money for Ukraine, "A modern original take on a classic WW2 propaganda poster. Putin's imperial war machine is funded by our use of Russian fossil fuels. Conserve petrol and gas to defund his invasion of Ukraine!"

A vintage poster.

American Legion / Public Domain

This was included in our roundup of "13 Great Posters From When Driving Was Considered to Be Almost a War Crime," where we wrote: "If you do have to drive, do you have to do it alone? Car sharing and carpooling can save a lot of fuel as well."

A vintage poster

American Legion Collection / Public Domain

These posters are wonderful because so much of what they said then rings true today. Maybe not everything: Housewives were asked to save waste fats for explosives, which is outdated in more ways than one.

A vintage poster about food waste.

Hennepin Collection / Public Domain

Not wasting food is a big deal now for your carbon footprint, but it was a bigger deal then: "It has become a popular hobby and a great way to save money, but during World War I and II it was a critical part of the war effort. Twenty million American families had victory gardens, and when autumn came, much of that had to be preserved."

Maine poster about food waste

U.S. Food Administration / Public Domain

This one is famous and launched a thousand Etsy knockoffs, with every word still absolutely true. I wrote at the time: "It really summarizes everything Americans needed to do then and now, from the diets we choose to the way we buy them and the quantities we serve. It should be on every wall."

A vintage poster about consumerism.

McGill Collection / Public Domain

It was a culture of conservation, of using less, of making do, of fixing and repairing, of not buying what you don't need, all the things we talk about on Treehugger today about living a low-carbon lifestyle.

A poster about living with less.

U.S. Office of War Information / Public Domain

A lot of people are talking about rationing again, this time carbon:

"Carbon could be a kind of currency that we spend (along with regular money) when purchasing high-emission goods or services. Each of us could receive an allocation of carbon points to spend in a month or year. These could be stored on a smart bank card. When paying for gasoline or airline tickets or certain foods (or, more broadly, energy use), the card would electronically deduct money plus appropriate numbers of carbon points. If we used our entire allocation, we might be able to purchase more – there are pros and cons to tradeability – from individuals who don’t need them, rewarding them financially for their low-carbon lives."
National park posters

Hannah Rothstein / @HRothsteinArt

As we noted at the beginning of this post, remixes are still being done. Treehugger Editorial Director Melissa Breyer wrote: "With a wry and poignant twist, artist Hannah Rothstein has reimagined the great WPA [Work Projects Administration] posters once used to lure visitors to the splendors of U.S. National Parks. Where the original might have promised Yellowstone’s campfire programs and nature talks, the new version offers dying trout and starving grizzlies. Welcome to the National Parks of the year 2050 if climate change is allowed to stake its claim."

If you copy the original image, respect Zechar's statement to Treehugger: "I don't have any problem with folks using it for fair use, just don't want anyone trying to profit off it. I'm selling stickers but all funds are getting donated." You can buy stickers, mugs, and magnets at his web store.