The Climate Crisis Doodle. How to tackle, don’t say “Climate Change”, but Crisis.
It started with me sitting on the sofa with a tweet about the floods from the climate crisis, hardly shown on the news.
Why isn’t the world responding he, a friend, asked me? I started to doodle my thoughts.
- There’s an array of crisis e.g. environment, extreme weather, cost of living…So largely mainstream news is spoilt for choice.
- In 2007 I gave a keynote in Norway about how to create Stories with impact. I’m coming back to it again.
- The world is in peril. How can storytelling save the world? Bold claim! Give me a moment.
- I graduated in Applied Chemistry. What on earth has this got to do with crisis and storytelling. Applied Chemistry as opposed to pure Chemistry took a design, analytical, systems thinking approach to solving practical problems in experimenting.
- Ahh! What then if you thought of storytelling in the Applied Storytelling manner. You flip from just looking at narratives for the sake of stories to solutions via stories.
- Current mainstream news making with its ways of doing, won’t save the planet via its stories. Firstly, the world “Climate change” is off putting. It’s an issue but what’s the story? Hang on they’re floods in Pakistan etc? Oh, well a) it doesn’t involve elites, b) it’s far removed from the West and Global North, so why should anyone care? C) News is job is to be detached from the story?
Solution: My experience and PhD went into this: the aforementioned points might be crass, but it’s the how does news get our viewers to care ( when it won’t do empathy), and how does News tell the story with little access, equipment, personnel. Remembering the editor you’re talking to has his/her own sets of internal journalistic bias. If they’re Black or brown, or from that region devoted, there’s a different empathy link in play.
- We identified different form of journalists from solo, video, to photos who create compelling stories that look like cinema. Audiences are drawn to them. They look at a scene or issue and have a way of making sense of it different to status quo TV.
They are applied storytellers. They’ll use anything tool-wise to tell a factual story. We identified another storyteller who physically builds things. Their canvas is not necessarily the screen. They’d design/ systems thinkers and we started training some. Thirdly we identified that diversity was key to changing the newsrooms internal logic at deciding stories.
- This model works on a scale. For it to really resonate. You need academia working directly with industry. That is beginning to take shape in a way that reveals a different future for solving problems via journalism.
Remember at present, journalism says that’s not what we do. We tell stories. The shift is to tell stories that have an impact, or at least create tangibles for solutions. Some might say is this Solutions Journalism? Applied Storytellers existed before Solutions Journalism. The AKO storytelling Institute at UAL, Bergen University and its cluster network, Clwstwr in Wales, The London Institute are looking to storytelling designers.
- Think of the films that were ground breaking in that they had an impact. Michael Burke’s Ethiopia, Super Size me, Kony 2012, An Inconvenient Truth and Clive Myrie’s COVID reports.
There’s a trend in these. I spoke and recorded Clive who confirms his subtle shift in journalism thinking that makes a difference. He asks the question, I want you to feel what my interviewees are going through. Old skull journalism disagrees with this approach.
- On diversity we’re creating a range of new projects that are arts based, like revisiting the Leaders List. Diversity and representation finds new way to tell stories that have often been buried, ignored or not thought about.
- The Question is there are critical points ahead, so time is of the essence, What will things look like between 2025–2035. Applied Storytellers could shock us out of our comfort to act on information. Will we let them?
- Next turn this doodle into an arresting slide deck to capture attention. I’ve just presented to an Environmental Summit in Pakistan.