MCS Highlight: Community Shares Handwritten Climate Stories for Earth Day

June 3, 2024

As part of the Public Environmental Humanities class taught by Professor Bethany Wiggin in Spring 2024, Faith Bochert (UPenn, W ‘24) organized a storytelling booth at the annual Earth Week festival hosted by Penn Environmental Group, GreenFest. Bochert has been an intern with My Climate Story (MCS) for two years, and her final project for the class built on her ongoing work listening to and sharing personal stories of local climate impacts.

My Climate Story is an ongoing public climate storytelling and story sharing project supported by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.  The project sparks climate conversations and guides participants of all ages to recognize how local climate impacts are impacting their lives in the here and now--and shaping their life stories. 

By Faith Bochert

Each year, Penn Environmental Group hosts GreenFest, a street festival held on UPenn’s campus, during Earth Week. This year, the My Climate Story team hosted a storytelling booth at the festival on April 26, 2024.

Two female students show off the activity at their booth at an Earth Week festival.

At the storytelling booth, Penn students, staff, and faculty passing through the festival were introduced to the My Climate Story project and asked to hand-write or draw their climate stories, and take a succulent plant as a souvenir.

A person in a patterned sweater hand writes their climate story using crayons.

We found hand-writing to be a particularly moving medium for sharing a climate story. Hand-writing and drawing are a slow processes that ask participants to slow down and reflect on their experiences with climate change. Illustrations and handwritten stories take up a lot of space on the page, guiding participants to focus on the most important details of their stories.

A participant adds a handwritten story to a board with other stories.

After participants shared their climate stories, we invited them to pin their finished work to a poster board amongst others’ stories. This visual collection of hand-written stories was a poignant reminder of the many ways in which all of our lives are touched by climate change. 


You can find the full collection of stories from the storytelling booth here.