Stories change us
Why should you tell your eco-anxious story? Here are 8 reasons to tap into your narrative power.
1. Stories are human
The climate story is about way more than molecules. It’s got a whole cast of characters. When you share the meaning of the climate crisis in your life, you are helping to humanize the problem.
2. Stories have structure
Narratives are mental maps. They provide a framework for structuring ideas. There are lots of ways to think about story structure, but a simple one is: beginning, middle, and end. Tell your story to help organize your thoughts.
3. Stories hold context
Stories are containers for context. Context can include the story’s setting, timeline, and the characters and themes in focus (the who, what, where, when, and why of the narrative in focus). Ground the climate crisis in tangible terms.
4. Stories convey meaning
Stories weave together beginning, middle, and end in a way that evokes our emotions. Stories are only meaningful at an emotional level because we share many core values. Stories can also look at things from different points of view and hold different meanings, because we all have a different set of values (often complex and conflicting).
5. Stories connect the dots
Stories explore challenges that impact the characters’ choices. Use your story to show how challenges and choices connect. Seeing how the characters respond can help us better understand their context and their relationships.
6. Stories mobilize people
Stories connect us emotionally, and emotions are tied to motivations. We can frame stories that help us journey through immobilizing emotions, moving from powerlessness to a readiness to reflect or take action.
7. Stories shape identities
Individuals don’t exist in isolation. In a story, we have a setting, a timeline, and other characters that share context. Your story can help people feel less alone, helping them to see their connections to others in place, time, or purpose.
8. Stories shift power
Creating new possibilities means pushing back against narratives that tell us we cannot, or should not change things. Stories give us space for values, emotions, complexity, play, and structure to collectively tap into our power to create a more sustainable and equitable world.