My Climate Story
A public climate storytelling and story sharing project supported by PPEH.
The S-I-S-R (scissor) storytelling method was developed by team member Connor Hardy. The '20-'21 Climate Storytelling and Sharing team includes Public Research Interns Danny Cooper, Connor Hardy, and Tsemone Ogbemi and is supported by Program Coordinators Mia D'Avanza and Angela Faranda and directed by Professor Bethany Wiggin.
With interactive climate storytelling workshops, My Climate Story encourages participants to recognize and address how our lives--diversely and differently--are bound up with climate change: how our lives are both changing the climate and changing with climate change. My Climate Story’s interactive activities, both live and asynchronous, guide participants to author their own climate stories. By sharing them publicly, this climate literacy campaign fosters informed communities capable of taking meaningful collective action on climate.
My Climate Story’s activities marry quantitative climate data with the qualitative and the personal, inviting participants to document lived experiences of climate change in the here and now and to create a shared storybank of searchable, geo-tagged climate stories that can be submitted via the Climate Story Hotline, social media channels, and by participating in live, digital workshops. My Climate Story began in fall 2019; its tools and prompts are now available in 15 languages. As the dangers of Covid-19 spread and organizers physically distanced themselves, we have developed remote workshop formats and tools to document and share climate stories of nonhuman neighbors too.
In fall 2020 we piloted climate literacy materials for audiences at Penn and beyond. For Climate Week, we offered storytelling workshops that produced human climate stories as well as stories of nonhuman species. Participants ranged from professors (at Penn and elsewhere), to high school and middle school teachers, to students of all ages (and as young as 13). Participants’ feedback pointed enthusiastically to the ways My Climate Story nurtures understanding of climate change as geographically and culturally situated and as a matter at once deeply personal and broadly social. The project’s ability to help participants process complicated feelings around climate change was especially valued. The team also offered three additional live workshops for target audiences at Penn and one for high school teachers and students. Now, in Spring 2021, workshops for targeted audiences are now in planning stages.
My Climate Story will also share climate stories and workshop materials in a workbook, a video documentary, and a companion website which includes the interactive climate storybank. The book, inspired by cookbooks, offers “recipes” for climate stories, offering guides to telling and sharing personal climate stories, tools for collecting stories with interviews and other research methods, and facilitation tools for workshops. The format suggests the ways that climate storytelling and sharing, like making and sharing meals, builds community.
We are asking for personal stories about local experiences of global climate change. We want to hear your stories.
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.