Storytelling Will Save the Earth

Article by Bella Lack: “…The environmental crisis is one of overconsumption, carbon emissions, and corporate greed. But it’s also a crisis of miscommunication. For too long, hard data buried environmentalists in an echo-chamber, but in 2023, storytelling will finally enable a united global response to the environmental crisis. As this crisis worsens, we will stop communicating the climate crisis with facts and stats—instead we will use stories like Timothy’s.  

Unlike numbers or facts, stories can trigger an emotional response, harnessing the power of motivation, imagination, and personal values, which drive the most powerful and permanent forms of social change. For instance, in 2019, we all saw the images of Notre Dame cathedral erupting in flames. Three minutes after the fire began, images of the incident were being broadcast globally, eliciting an immediate response from world leaders. That same year, the Amazon forest also burned, spewing smoke that spread over 2,000 miles and burning over one and a half football fields of rain forest every minute of every day—it took three weeks for the mainstream media to report that story. Why did the burning of Notre Dame warrant such rapid responses globally, when the Amazon fires did not? Although it is just a beautiful assortment of limestone, lead, and wood, we attach personal significance to Notre Dame, because it has a story we know and can relate to. That is what propelled people to react to it, while the fact that the Amazon was on fire elicited nothing…(More)”.

Storytelling allows us to make sense of the world.