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Time to tell the climate action story

You hear a lot about storytelling these days. 

This primal mode of communication—the act of sharing information in narrative form—has been around since the earliest homo sapiens met up in the cradle of civilization. 

Stories also happen to be the basic organizing principle of our cognitive brain. Science has shown that narrative stimulates the senses in the same way actual experiences can and that good stories can actually improve the human capacity for empathy. 

So why aren’t we using more stories to talk about climate change and climate action? 


If you’re curious at all about the topic of climate change, you’ve read enough to get worried.  Maybe you’ve developed an expertise on extreme weather events, seen the global economic risk reports, done the math on the temperature changes you’re likely to see in your lifetime. But scary science, while it might prompt you to make changes in your own life, only gets us to a certain point.

We need to start telling stories about what we have at stake when it comes to climate change. What the pivot points are in our own lives that motivate us to take action. 

That’s the idea behind an event we’re hosting February 20, “Fortified: True Stories of Climate Action.”  

Maybe you’ve heard of Mortified? The Moth? Portland’s own Back Fence? These events take the stories we tell each other and put them on stage for us all to share. Presented in partnership with half a dozen local organizations that are taking some kind of action on climate change, Fortified is designed to start sharing those stories while providing information about steps we all can take to get involved and start forging our own climate action narratives. 

Storytellers on stage that evening will include a range of perspectives including a PSU student from the island of Palau, a veteran renewable energy engineer who went from fighting the Gulf War to the climate war, a business leader who dumped all his fossil fuel investments, and Oregon’s First Lady Cylvia Hayes, a longtime climate warrior, will serve as emcee.  

It’s free. Join us? Details and a free RSVP here