My Climate Story
A public climate storytelling and story sharing project supported by PPEH.
Click HERE to visit the My Climate Story Website
My Climate Story is a public research project that makes global climate change personal. Supported by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, the project’s interactive workshops create climate conversations and guide participants to recognize how local climate impacts are impacting their lives in the here and now--and shaping their life stories. Climate stories from the workshops are, with author permission, included in My Climate Story's public "storybank," a resource for exploring how diverse individuals are making meaning of changes more typically measured in quantitative measures of atmospheric CO2 or sea levels and their rates of change. Workshop groups receive all submitted stories as a collection for their further development.
Climate storytelling prompts are available in fifteen languages. Selected workshop participants were interviewed for and featured in the project's documentary video (above), filmed at workshops offered remotely and on location in two sites in May 2021, and/or included in the project's climate curriculum workbook. Project team leaders from PPEH have provided introductory climate conversation workshops for climate storytellers ranging from sixth grade to university professors and offer two follow-on workshops: on climate interviewing and on non-human species' climate stories. We also train individuals to become My Climate Story workshop facilitators in their local community. All workshops are customized and offered free of cost.
Stay up-to-date about this project by joining our mailing list
We are delighted to welcome these astonishingly talented ten Philadelphia High School teachers as a Climate Champions and part of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities' My Climate Story public research project:
- Freda or Frankie Anderson is an Organize Lab teacher, currently at the U School in North Philadelphia.
- Mariaeloisa Carambo teaches History at Paul Robeson High School in West Philadelphia.
- Anna Herman is an Urban Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (AFNR) Management Educator at the U School in North Philadelphia.
- Monica Rowley teaches English at Masterman High School in Fairmount.
- Matthew Scanlan is an Environmental Science Teacher and Dean of Students at Northeast High School in Northeast Philadelphia.
- Christopher Sikich teaches AP Biology, Honors Biology, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Environmental Science at Philadelphia High School for Girls in Olney.
- Avery Stern teaches English and Climate Change studies. Currently a teacher at a Friends School, Avery eagerly awaits placement for the 2022-23 school year in the District.
- Tatyana Williamson is an Intensive Learning Support (ILS) Teacher in Algebra I and English at Frankford in Northeast Philadelphia.
- Joni Woods teaches English at Academy at Palumbo in South Philadelphia.
- Rebecca Yacker is a Dual Enrollment Coordinator in the English and History Dept. at Saul High School in Roxborough.
Learn what motivated them to join the My Climate Story program in our Field Note!
Read more details in our press release.
We are expanding My Climate Story to have a regional focus--as My Philadelphia Climate Story!
The first step is to find a cohort of teachers who want to participate in this paid opportunity. Open this folder for a comprehensive overview.
This project began in 2019 in direct response to some Philadelphia School District teachers’ concerns that they were unqualified to introduce climate change into their classrooms especially in areas beyond the sciences--even though they wanted to do just that. The My Climate Story project’s instructional videos, live workshops, storybank, documentary, and illustrated workbook aim to put climate literacy tools in teachers’ hands and to transform Philadelphians’ understanding of climate as a problem of techno-science into a matter of concern for all peoples.
My Philadelphia Climate Story recognizes the urgent need to integrate climate literacy into all levels of education and training. It responds to that need by sharing and expanding interactive climate literacy materials, piloted in AY 2020-21 in twenty remote workshops, with ten tenth-grade Philadelphia-area public school teachers. Working with faculty and students from the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, the Netter Center, and the Graduate School of Education, the teachers and students develop climate stories, i.e., personal stories about how local climate impacts are shaping their life stories--and about how those impacts are making them feel. Climate stories are first shared in and between the ten climate classrooms via the project’s storybank and remote meetings, and then further developed and refined as short videos. The climate stories and climate curricula developed by these Penn-supported climate classrooms will also be circulated by BRIDGES, a UNESCO MOST (Ministry of Social Transformation) Global Sustainability Science Coalition.
April 26th, 2023: My Climate Story Storytelling Festival at WHYY
On April 26th, 2023, more than 150 Philadelphia high schoolers came together at WHYY in a climate storytelling event organized by the public media company and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.
March 18th, 2023: WHYY & My Climate Story Interviewing Workshop
Students from Philadelphia Schools had the opportunity to learn from WHYY journalists and storytellers on how to capture a great interview out in the field.
October 12 & 13, 2022: Listen Up! Climate Stories and Philadelphia Youth
This program is presented by Penn Program in Environmental Humanities and Kelly Writers House, with generous support from our colleagues at Comparative Literature, Environmental Innovations Initiative, and The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy.
Listen Up! provides the first opportunity for My Philadelphia Climate Story teachers and their students to see and meet one another and members of the Penn community, to participate in climate storytelling workshops, and to learn from and talk with prominent climate storytellers.
Listen Up! Climate Storytelling with Devi Lockwood | October 12, 2022, 6-8pm, Kelly Writers House
This evening with Devi Lockwood, author of 1,001 Voices on Climate Change, will bring together the Penn community with participants in PPEH's year-long My Philadelphia Climate Story public research project—nine high school teachers working in eight Philadelphia School District schools across the city—for a gathering focused on climate storytelling. A reception will follow.
Listen Up! Climate Stories and Philadelphia Youth | October 13, 2022, 10am-1pm, Irvine Auditorium
PPEH's Climate Champions, nine high school teachers working in eight Philadelphia School District schools across the city, and approximately 300 of their students, will come to campus for Listen Up! Climate Stories and Philadelphia Youth.
Devi Lockwood is the Commentary and Ideas editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer and the author of 1,001 VOICES ON CLIMATE CHANGE, a book published by Simon & Schuster in 2021. Previously she worked as an editor and writer at the New York Times Opinion section and launched the Ideas section at Rest of World. She spent five years traveling in 20 countries on six continents to document 1,001 stories on water & climate change.
Watch the My Climate Story documentary!
How to tell a My Climate Story:
Telling your story about how you experience climate change is simple--anyone can do it; we are all experiencing it. Think about what your climate story might be: maybe you feel uncertain, maybe sad, maybe frustrated. Maybe you smell the changes, or feel them on your skin. There's really no wrong way to document your climate story, just make sure you connect it to a specific place you care about.
There are now multiple ways to contribute your climate story to our growing storybank. Call our new My Climate Story Hotline (267-499-3973) to leave a short glimpse of your experience, including how you feel, as a voicemail message. If you'd prefer, you can write out your story as an email message (email@example.com) or attach a text file with a longer narrative.
Perhaps you will draw a picture or take a photo. You might video or audio record the sights and sounds you associate with the change you’re experiencing. You might record someone -- even yourself -- telling the story and submit the audio file. Text, audio and video files can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted directly using the "contribute your climate story" button below. Unless otherwise specified these contributions will be geo-tagged and appear in our public storybank and associated map.
My Climate Story contributions can be also be created and collected in formal or informal educational settings, shared through social media using the hashtag #MyClimateStory, or submitted individually. Adapt the process for the needs in your community!
If you or someone in your community would prefer to submit a story in a language other than English, click the button below to be directed to a choose-your-language page or read all our multilingual story prompts here. We currently have submission forms available in Arabic, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kiswahili, Mandarin, Mongolian, Russian, and Spanish, in addition to English. (Don't see your language? Help us translate the form into additional languages!)
We know the stories you collect from your community will be valuable to you. We urge you to allow us to add them to our story bank and to share them with the wider public participants in the project.
Katherine Unger Baillie (April 28, 2023) Student climate champions gather to share stories and inspiration. Penn Today
Sam Searles (April 26, 2023) My Climate Story: Philadelphia students present environmental problems and solutions at WHYY. WHYY
Eleana Kostakis, Shawna James, Oyewumi Oyeniyi and Nicole Cortes (October 28, 2022) Storytelling Workshops Give Philly Communities a Voice Amid Global and Local Climate Change. Billy Penn/Youthcast Media Group
Vikki Xu (October 18, 2022) A Cookbook for Climate Resilience and Storytelling. 34th Street
Sophia Schmidt (October 14, 2022) Philly Teens are Sharing Their Climate Stories. WHYY
Partnering with Philadelphia Teachers to Inspire Climate Action. Penn Today
Brandon Baker (February 1, 2022) Understanding Climate Stories. Penn Today
Katherine Unger Baillie (February 24, 2021) Bringing the Humanities Into Climate Education. Penn Today
Zen Suzuki (September 27, 2020) Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Kicks Off Academic Year with Climate Week Lectures. The Daily Pennsylvanian
We are asking for personal stories about local experiences of global climate change. We want to hear your stories.
Want to join this project? Here are all the opportunities:
Opportunities for Teachers
Graduate Student Fellowships, Summer 2022 & AY 2022-23
Undergraduate Public Research Interns, Summer 2022