Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance
« Stories, Media and Messaging -- Communicating Climate Change, Solutions and New Cultural Narratives

The Power of a Story: Using new media to tell stories about climate change

photo of Kelly McVicker

Started by: InvokingThePause



Description:

Invoking The Pause ("ITP") is an environmental small grants program designed to foster creativity and 'out-of-the-box' thinking by two or more collaborators for innovative and potentially scalable ideas to:

  • Help individuals and communities understand the true impacts of climate change and global warming in our lives
  • Launch new initiatives or breakthrough ideas that ultimately result in individuals and communities making better choices to reduce our carbon footprint
  • Create mitigation and adaptation solutions

ITP  seeds many fertile ideas in interdisciplinary ways to advance public awareness about climate change - to steward the ecological health of our planet and to preserve its magnificence and mysteries.  ITP provides for a collaborative pause - a 'gift of time' to create the possibilities for a shift from 'chronos into kairos', to slow down, savor natural beauty, and open inspirational, creative portals to address these issues.

 

 

ITP  seeds many fertile ideas in interdisciplinary ways to advance public awareness about climate change - to steward the ecological health of our planet and to preserve its magnificence and mysteries.  ITP provides for a collaborative pause - a 'gift of time' to create the possibilities for a shift from 'chronos into kairos', to slow down, savor natural beauty, and open inspirational, creative portals to address these issues.

- See more at: http://invokingthepause.org/about-us.html#sthash.L0J6X0vx.dpuf
thinking by two or more collaborators for innovative and potentially scalable ideas to:
  • Help individuals and communities understand the true impacts of climate change and global warming in our lives
  • Launch new initiatives or breakthrough ideas that ultimately result in individuals and communities making better choices to reduce our carbon footprint
  • Create mitigation and adaptation solutions
- See more at: http://invokingthepause.org/about-us.html#sthash.L0J6X0vx.dpuf
Invoking The Pause ("ITP"), an environmental small grants program founded by Maggie Kaplan in 2007, initially began as a two-phase program to foster creativity and 'out-of-the-box' thinking by two or more collaborators for innovative and potentially scalable ideas to:
  • Help individuals and communities understand the true impacts of climate change and global warming in our lives
  • Launch new initiatives or breakthrough ideas that ultimately result in individuals and communities making better choices to reduce our carbon footprint
  • Create mitigation and adaptation solutions
- See more at: http://invokingthepause.org/about-us.html#sthash.L0J6X0vx.dpuf
Invoking The Pause ("ITP"), an environmental small grants program founded by Maggie Kaplan in 2007, initially began as a two-phase program to foster creativity and 'out-of-the-box' thinking by two or more collaborators for innovative and potentially scalable ideas to:
  • Help individuals and communities understand the true impacts of climate change and global warming in our lives
  • Launch new initiatives or breakthrough ideas that ultimately result in individuals and communities making better choices to reduce our carbon footprint
  • Create mitigation and adaptation solutions
- See more at: http://invokingthepause.org/about-us.html#sthash.L0J6X0vx.dpuf

Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:

Climate change and enviornmental degradation are the results of multiple causes. While we can't point to any single activity or practice as the culprit, we can very reasonably say that the contributing factors have one thing in common: human behavior. Whether we're talking about large-scale activities like deforestation, redirection of water resources, and wasteful industrial practices, or everyday small-scale choices like consuming factory farmed meat, and driving a car every day, these are all choices we make as humans, and we have the power to change.

We have the statistics, the studies and the experts to back up the science around climate change. But all of the statistics in the world won't change human behavior until there is a shift in the understanding and acceptance of what is causing climate change and what we can do to prevent it.

There is a parallel with the lesbian and gay rights movement here: even with clear evidence about the biological basis of homosexuality and improved policies slowly chipping away at discrimination, what shifted the political and cultural tides faster than anything were the personal stories from individuals who were brave enough to come out and share their experiences. As people realized they actually had gay friends, coworkers and family members, discrimination became more visible to the mainstream, and more unthinkable. Personal experiences and stories made the difference when policies and studies couldn't.

Climate change faces a simliar challenge: we need to share the stories of how people are experiencing the changes to our planet. Stories of farmers who have had to find new livelihoods, stories of indigenous communiteis whose sense of time has been upended by shifting weather cycles, even stories of the emotional loss people feel when the seasons they grew up with no longer exist.

We are funding projects aimed at telling these stories through new media and creative messaging campaigns.

What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:

All too often we see that innovative projects and organizations are discouraged from putting resources into storytelling and creatively engaging audiences by a lack of funding opportunities. The "nonprofit industrial complex," with its ever-increasing emphasis on metrics, tends to deemphasize media and storytelling due to the inherent difficulties in evaluating the impact of these approaches. Stories don't fit well into spreadsheets, and the slow, incremental changes in attitudes and practices are hard to measure over the course of the typical grant timeline.

We would like to see a broadening of thinking about the ways we can measure and validate efforts to promote attitude and behavior change through personal narrative, storytelling and the use of new media.

Specific needs and/or support requests:

Invoking the Pause would like to encourage other funders to support creative collaboration among "unlikely suspects"--scientists and artists, activists and poets. We believe that creating the space for these collaborations can lead to exactly the kinds of messages and personal stories that will help spark action and behavior change.

Suggested best local solution for this topic:

Invoking the Pause is currently funding three unique collaborations that seek to develop stories and messages about climate change, and share them via new media, online organizing tools, and interactive art projects. While these approaches are quite diverse, they share a goal of creating narratives  that will resonate on a personal level:

Memorial for Winters Past

The collaborative team of multimedia and radio producers Isaac Kestenbaum and Josie Holtzman will invoke a pause to create a "Memorial for Winters Past," an immersive multimedia storytelling project that tells the tale of a lost natural world through personal experience, memory, and history of the seasons—specifically the New England Winter. Using sound walks, podcasts and online data visualization, the project will tell stories that cut through the media noise and rhetoric to create a sensory experience that helps us understand what the erosion of our natural environment truly means. The resulting soundscapes will be shared via an interactive website and public radio programs, creating an intimate multimedia remembrance of the world as it was, and one that is in danger of disappearing. By humanizing climate change data, the project aims to prompt a call to preserve what remains in our natural world while we have the chance. 

- See more at: http://invokingthepause.com/page52.html#sthash.IYB5c44i.dpuf

 

Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

This grant will enable GAIA to take a pause from the fast pace of its everyday work to develop a clear narrative strategy on the intersection between climate change, waste disposal, and economic resilience.  While the materials economy is responsible for up to 44% of global greenhouse gas emissions with its cycle of extraction, production, consumption and waste, the climate change debate typically doesn't highlight these intersections. During the "pause", GAIA will convene frontline community leaders and environmental policy advocates, together with a communications consultant, to build a messaging strategy for these issues from a holistic approach that sparks change. They then will use this framework to develop skill-shares, organizing tools, and new media tools to bring a solutions-based analysis of waste into the national U.S. climate debate.

- See more at: http://invokingthepause.com/page50.html#sthash.365JvY1K.dpuf

 

HighWaterLine is a public interactive art project that uses a chalked line to help people visualize how rising water from mega floods would affect their living environment. The project was first carried out in New York City in 2007. When superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, the very area demarcated by artist Eve Mosher was flooded, giving a chilling demonstration of the project's relevancy.

The next phase of the project will take place in Miami, which is considered to be one of the most climate vulnerable cities in the U.S. due to its levels of urban development on low-lying areas and reliance on groundwater for human consumption. The "pause" will allow collaborators to travel to Miami and convene with educators at the University of Miami to design a curriculum around climate change before bringing the project to the city in December 2013 in conjunction with Miami Art Basel. In addition to the interactive art element, the project will involve students, local activists, and community members in workshops to help create proactive and locally driven strategies for addressing climate change challenges in Miami.

- See more at: http://invokingthepause.com/page51.html#sthash.X1QsxcXE.dpuf

HighWaterLine

HighWaterLine is a public interactive art project that uses a chalked line to help people visualize how rising water from mega floods would affect their living environment. The project was first carried out in New York City in 2007. When superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, the very area demarcated by artist Eve Mosher was flooded, giving a chilling demonstration of the project's relevancy.

The next phase of the project will take place in Miami, which is considered to be one of the most climate vulnerable cities in the U.S. due to its levels of urban development on low-lying areas and reliance on groundwater for human consumption. The "pause" will allow collaborators to travel to Miami and convene with educators at the University of Miami to design a curriculum around climate change before bringing the project to the city in December 2013 in conjunction with Miami Art Basel. In addition to the interactive art element, the project will involve students, local activists, and community members in workshops to help create proactive and locally driven strategies for addressing climate change challenges in Miami.

- See more at: http://invokingthepause.com/page51.html#sthash.X1QsxcXE.dpuf

The collaborative tcold_light_of_winter.jpgeam of multimedia and radio producers Isaac Kestenbaum and Josie Holtzman will invoke a pause to create a "Memorial for Winters Past," an immersive multimedia storytelling project that tells the tale of a lost natural world through personal experience, memory, and history of the seasons—specifically the New England Winter. Using sound walks, podcasts and online data visualization, the project will tell stories that cut through the media noise and rhetoric to create a sensory experience that helps us understand what the erosion of our natural environment truly means. The resulting soundscapes will be shared via an interactive website and public radio programs, creating an intimate multimedia remembrance of the world as it was, and one that is in danger of disappearing. By humanizing climate change data, the project aims to prompt a call to preserve what remains in our natural world while we have the chance.  - See more at: http://invokingthepause.com/page52.html#sthash.IYB5c44i.dpuf

A Creative Pause to Build a Narrative Strategy: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

gaia_banner_02_1.jpegThis grant will enable GAIA to take a pause from the fast pace of its everyday work to develop a clear narrative strategy on the intersection between climate change, waste disposal, and economic resilience.  While the materials economy is responsible for up to 44% of global greenhouse gas emissions with its cycle of extraction, production, consumption and waste, the climate change debate typically doesn't highlight these intersections. During the "pause", GAIA will convene frontline community leaders and environmental policy advocates, together with a communications consultant, to build a messaging strategy for these issues from a holistic approach that sparks change. They then will use this framework to develop skill-shares, organizing tools, and new media tools to bring a solutions-based analysis of waste into the national U.S. climate debate.

- See more at: http://invokingthepause.com/page50.html#sthash.365JvY1K.dpuf

Networking opportunities:

Fundamental to ITP's  mission is the belief that each Grant Partner is truly a partner in our work. Each grant partner becomes part of our growing community of committed, passionate individuals who have crafted their own unique programs to address climate issues.  ITP fosters connectivity and collaboration among the expanding ITP community of GPs both during and after their funding. This October, we will host a workshop convening all current and former ITP grant partners in San Francisco just prior to the Bioneers Conference, as a means of encouraging cross-pollination amongst their projects and opening up opportunities for collaboation with others active on issues of climate change and environmental justice. 

Discussion

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Kimbowa Richard posted

In East Africa, as EA SusWatch Network (www.easuswatch.org) we are trying to build citizen skills in video and photo documentation so as to close the information gap between capitals and rural (hard to reach areas) on climate change impacts and solutions

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