Sometimes the story is too big. Climate change is known as a 'hyper-object' - it's literally too big for our minds to comprehend. So we turn away. But that's a problem.
My profession drives me to tell stories. My passion is environment and science communication. So how do we tell meaningful stories about climate change? Well, I think we start by shrinking things a bit. From interplanetary in scale, let's get right down to local, and what people are doing in and for their own environments.
And which medium works best for these stories? The alienation we feel at the thought of global warming can be countered with the intimacy of the voice. The podcast, something 'everyone' can do, brings the spoken words of real people and lived experience into the earbud. It's intensely close - the voice in the ear. With intimacy comes empathy and with empathy we can no longer look away. But also, the abstract, enormity of it all becomes an accessible solution. If we empathise, we understand the other, and we start to see what we can do - like for like. And with action, comes hope.
The podcast is a powerful tool. With projects like my Hot Summer Land, Birdland and the Trees project, I asked people to talk about a tree they had loved, a bird they felt a connection to, a moment observing their own landscape. The stories were unique and thoughtful, and thought-provoking. The writers and audience read each others' work, and felt they were not alone. They could face the task in company. I love this medium, for its flexibility of style and content - from storytelling of matters of the heart and soul, to exploring practical solutions. For the way it brings the experts together with the people.
And that - all of that - is powerful.
Radio maker and passionate environmental communicator, Gretchen Miller is available to make you a podcast or teach you how to tell your story.