Ways the media can do better at climate storytelling

Volunteers plant a tree to help reduce global warming and protect the environment.
Volunteers plant a tree to help reduce global warming and protect the environment.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) Rewrite the Future Initiative hosted its virtual conversation, as a part of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

The conversation focused on opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls of climate representation in storytelling. It was between Writer, Professor, Editor and Social Commentator Roxane Gay, as well as Founder and CEO of The Black List, Franklin Leonard.

Gay defined climate storytelling as “acknowledging global warming, while also telling the stories we want to tell. It’s important to include this in our art,” she said.

In referencing Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Sandy (2012), Gay placed emphasis on the fact that, whether we see it or not, “Climate change affects us all differently, and it encompasses everything: class, race, gender, etc.”

The conversation also discussed the potential of shifting cultural narratives, building social movements and inspiring action.

Furthermore, Gay stated that on screen we often see films and television shows made by production teams only on things that are important to them, and they don’t often think about the consequences of their decisions for those shows and films.

Leonard, in mentioning electric cars, made a reference to the Fast and Furious movie franchise. In doing so, the point Gay made on this is that it’s possible to embrace nature and the future simultaneously.

The takeaways: “There are people in every state doing great work to help alert others about climate change. Change is uncomfortable and it’s going to require tolerance,” Gay continued.

Leonard added that in doing this crucial work, those people are helping to revolutionize the way climate change is talked about.

To support the work that the NRDC is doing, interested persons can donate here: https://action.nrdc.org/donation/771-support-nrdc?initms=HOMERB&ms=HOMERB&_ga=2.7784626.1822028237.1674600306-1295746765.1674600306