Communicating Climate Change

Once Upon A Time…

Presented with the opportunity to write an article in a blog, my initial excitement soon gave way to doubt…

I just did not know what to write about, either because too many ideas flew by or none at all.

Thankfully (or not, depending entirely on your reaction after you read these lines), I attended a very interesting talk the other day. And one important lesson I took away from that lecture, was the importance of good storytelling. Whether it be true or made-up, long or short, a good story can captivate an audience and get people interested in any topic, however unappealing (of course there are only so many people interested in the social behaviour of wombats, but you get my drift).

What I will attempt to do, if ever I am able to write more articles, will be to concoct stories, some truer than others, some will have precious few links to climate change, others may be plain outrageous. But if they ever happen to enable the wonderful and intellectually-stimulated reader to escape for a mere second, then I guess it will be worth it. Sorry for the atrocities then…

The first thing I would like to write about is possibly the longest story ever told. I am not talking about Ted Mosby’s story about how he met his children’s mother, even though that’s been going on for eight years. No, the present anecdote is paradoxically as old as time and known to all.

People have heard many a different tale about the world. They generally involve dinosaurs, apes, a snake and an apple, arches, unicorns or even unicellular micro-organisms. Despite the various interpretations, they all translate into one single tale: yours, mine, and ours. And whichever way it has been told until now, we are at a chapter in the story where humanity is inevitably, globally, without exception, confronted with the same future possibilities that range from a happy story-line to witnessing a premature end, possibilities for us to head towards or steer clear of.

In many ways, humanity has always been able to write its own story, and despite the chaos, differences and suffering along the way, we have avoided the tell-tale (see what I did there…) sad ending. But today, we can and should decide how the rest of the story unfolds. We know what we have to write. Whatever you believe in, wherever you are from, however old you may be, the pen is in our hands. There is no shying away from it: it is a privilege and a duty.

Don’t get me wrong, we got this far, we can continue a fair while. The world is not going to end either, its story will go on, and the planet will keep rotating around its star, a lump of rock in the galaxy. Only it won’t be the world we know unless we live on it and we should make sure it keeps rotating with us on board; make sure our planet is more than a just empty rock floating in space. Make sure we are not going to ruin our own story.

This time, if we want to ensure continuing adventures in this world, humanity is going to have to lock heads together and act together, all 7 billion (and counting) of us. It is a time to be old and wise, but also young and free. It is a time to act. We haven’t done enough in the past and the future is quite simply running out of printing paper for our story. Not only is now the appropriate time to unite on a sustainable path, but we have all the tools to successfully do so. We have the luxury of being able to strongly influence how the rest of our story will unfold.

As a matter of fact, it’s up to you to write your part in this story, a story where we are the protagonists for as long as the world is our stage. No stage, no play to enact, no story to tell, what a shame…

Pick up your pens. What kind of story does humanity want to start writing? Ultimately, we can only write the following sentence today, but it has the power to set the tone for the rest of the legend. So… End of Act III, Beginning of Act IV, Curtains Open….

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