The Climate Stories Collaborative is a faculty-led initiative aimed at growing the capacity of faculty and students to use a variety of creative media to tell the stories of those who are already affected by, and/or taking action to address, climate change. The project began in the College of Fine & Applied Arts, but is now university-wide in scope with engagement faculty and students from more than 20 departments. Contact co-facilitators Laura England (Sustainable Development), Derek Davidson (Theatre & Dance), and Jennie Carlisle (Art) to get involved.
- Faculty Workshop Series (ongoing)
- Climate Stories Showcase Exhibition + Climate Stories Week Event Series (April 2019)
- Artist Mel Chin Visit (April 2019)
- Climate Listening Project director Dayna Regerro (Jan. 2019)
- Author Earl Swift Visit (Nov. 2018)
- Climate Justice Month (April 2018)
- 1st Showcase of Student Work (Dec. 2017)
About the Climate Stories Collaborative
In the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication’s 2018 survey, 70% of respondents around the country acknowledged that global warming is happening and that they are concerned about the harm it will cause to future generations. Yet only a about one third of respondents indicated that they discuss climate change "at least occasionally." Climate communicators must broaden the discourse and approach beyond the science, policy and politics. A recent review of advances and critical needs in the field of climate change communication emphasizes the cultural work that is needed to address climate change, and calls for more transdisciplinarity and creative approaches in order to effect this cultural change. At Appalachian, the Climate Stories Collaborative is answering this call for a paradigm shift in climate communication.
We recognize that climate disruption is part of the 21st century landscape whether we like it or not. In fact, the rate at which our environment is changing is outpacing our ability to digest and communicate our experiences. How should we talk about the environmental transformations affecting communities around the world? How can we use a variety of creative media to tell stories that motivate action? A growing intersection of faculty from across the university are committed to meeting these questions head on, and to engaging with them deeply and productively.
Climate Stories Collaborative participants thus far represent a wide range of departments at Appalachian:
Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Military Science & Leadership
Cultural, Gender & Global Studies
Curriculum & Instruction
Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment
Geography & Planning
Theatre & Dance
Geological and Environmental Sciences
Government & Justice Studies
We thank Jeff Biggers, whose Climate Narrative Project and visit to our campus in February 2017 ignited this effort. Read an abbreviation of Biggers’ multimedia “Ecopolis Appalachia” theatre show performed Appalachian State University here.
Climate change can degrade the well-being of communities around the world in myriad ways, including:
- Decreasing food security by disrupting agriculture and fisheries
- Decreasing water security by altering availability of freshwater
- Decreasing health by facilitating spread of diseases
- Increasing vulnerability to natural disasters
- Destabilizing economies around the world
- Destabilizing international relations and thus our security
And there are troubling social justice dimensions of these impacts of climate change, because the already vulnerable portions of humanity—impoverished communities, hungry populations, indigenous peoples, and others who have little “voice” or power in these debates—are often the first to suffer, and experience the most severe harm. We seek to bring these stories to light and to use creative expression in all of its forms to activate empathy in those who experience our climate stories events and projects.