If you have not experienced despair, then you have yet to read and understand the science around climate disruption. After viewing five Ted Talks by well credentialed climate scientists, I
could not move from the couch for three days. My sweet husband would bring over tea, and change the catheter, but opted out of conversation when all I could do was mumble about
permafrost melting and methane release, or, simply put, the end of the planet’s ability to harbor human life. “Good G-d“ I howled, finally pushing myself up from the couch, “I want to die while people are still noticing!”
Thus, since despair is no place to live, action has begun.
“Once more unto the breach dear friends.” (King Henry V)
At the LANES (League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling) annual storytelling conference in April, I led a four hour intensive entitled: Global Issues/Small Stories. The objective was to create compelling stories that will engage, educate, and ignite action around issues of climate disruption and planetary health. Our work is no longer a gentle adjunct to
Meatless Monday or paper recycling. If we do not change behaviors, from burning fossil fuels to flushing carcinogens into our air and waterways, there will probably be little to no human or animal life on this planet in just 50 more years. As storytellers, our position is a unique one. Unlike the defenses that rise up when folks are being told information they absolutely do not want to hear, a good story welcomes our gates of perception to remain open. As a guest in someone else’s, world taking in facts and new vantage points comes with ease because you are creating imagery for, and identifying with, the human drama or comedy you are hearing.
We worked on stories for all ages, but consistently embraced the truth that you can’t take
someone anywhere unless you start where they are. Story must provide a safe and resonant mirror for its listeners before asking them to walk through a window into a new paradigm. Children are the easier audience. They have fewer defenses. If the heroine of the tale reflects the issues and developmental stage of the listeners, they will gladly engage, travel with her, and emerge with her changes or learning. You can find the curriculum guide I developed for this population: Science to Stories on my site at: http://www.storiesalive.com/science-to-stories-curriculum-guide/
For Adults who want to use story to educate and create empathy and change:
MOVING THE DECISION MAKERS
A workshop for Climate, Social, or Political Activists on creating and shaping short stories to be used to address truth to power and influence policy and behavioral change. This 4 hour class can take place live or via zoom room. Contact Judith at firstname.lastname@example.org