When looking for a photo for today’s post, I typed “climate change” into our image bank. Immediately, I was met by sad-looking polar bears. It is a tragedy that polar bears are frontline victims of the climate crisis. However, it is also a tragedy that the polar bear remains one of the most potent/only climate stories around. Climate change should bring to mind the stories of Ashley Hernandez — who grew up in south Los Angeles county with health impacts from the environmental racism of neighborhood gas drilling, the divorce of albatross couples due to infertility, Aaron Regunberg — a student at Harvard Law supporting a boycott of Gibson Dunn with Law Students for Climate Accountability, and Maddie Mercil — the Minnesota high schooler trying to focus not on fear, but on what she hopes for her future. There are so many climate stories; we just don’t often get to see them. Instead, we see a whole lot of “polar bears” — the same story, the same statistics, the same arguments repeated in perpetuity.
At it’s heart, this is what Climate Culture is about. We move beyond the proverbial polar bear. Every week, we examine how pop culture is helping to push forward our understanding of climate change with new stories — in books, movies, tv, and music. We understand that popular culture has the unique power to reach the masses and that people respond to stories, not statistics.
Today, word dropped of an exciting new organization that might just prove to be a catalyst in bringing new stories to the the public. Climate Spring plans to shake up the entertainment industry and get the climate crisis on screen by providing early development funding, guidance from climate experts, and exposure for film and TV projects. In short, they’re hoping to help get new climate stories into our pop cultural sphere by bridging the gap between climate scientists and activists and entertainment gatekeepers. I couldn’t be more excited! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have to head out to draft my small town ensemble drama like Friday Night Lights — except instead of a football team, we’re following a group of teens organizing against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Seriously, though, best of luck to those at Climate Spring! And for all our sakes, let’s hope they help to bring some incredible new stories to life. As cute as polar bears are, they just won’t cut it anymore.