Jeff Biggers performs Climate Narrative Project ‘Ecopolis’ show with Dave Hart jazz band at Harker School, San Jose, CA. (Photo credit: Harker School)
Dramatic, funny, and original storytelling can astonish us, challenge us, and push us to think anew about addressing climate challenges.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
About five years ago, a prominent author and activist writing extensively about environmental and climate issues had launched a creative multimedia climate storytelling project. His efforts emphasized citizen action on climate issues through creative writing, film, theatre, dance, radio, and the visual arts.
Yale Climate Connections profiled the efforts of author and long-time activist Jeff Biggers in launching the Climate Narrative in Iowa City, the nation’s first UNESCO City of Literature. At that time writer in residence at the University of Iowa office of sustainability, Biggers set out to train a new generation of “climate storytellers.”
Biggers since then has taken his Climate Narrative Project and “Ecopolis” theatre shows across the country, from Appalachia to Silicon Valley. He works with students, teachers, community groups, and urban planners to invest more in the media arts as a way of galvanizing action and advancing sustainable solutions.
YCC: More and more authoritative public opinion surveys are finding Americans increasingly expressing substantial concern about climate change and its impacts. Have you seen a shift in attitudes, especially among young people, over the last years of your work?
Biggers: I think there has been a watershed shift in interest. Now, we need to follow up with creative ways for action.
As you know, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication* released a survey in 2018 finding that most Americans recognize climate change, but few actually discuss it in the course of their regular routines.