Bookmarked Powerful, local stories can inspire us to take action on climate change (Conversation)

We need to rethink the way we communicate climate change. The best tool at our disposal is a simple one: storytelling. Stories have the power to transform complex subject matters into something that feels personal, local, relatable and solvable.

But stories about the climate crisis – for example, about how people are responding in real time and making a difference – are still few and far between.

That needs to change.

Kamyar Razavi talks about the importance of giving flesh to the facts when it comes to global warming. Although fear can be a useful tool for mobilising people, storytelling helps with engaging at a more personal level.

As journalist Dan Gardner succinctly puts it, the challenge for science communicators is to “help System 1 feel what System 2 calculates” — to make climate change feel personal, relatable and local.

This has me thinking about Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel The Ministry for the Future and the celebration of the all the different projects occurring around the world:

We are all here together to share what we are doing, to see each other, and to tell you our stories. We are already out there working hard, everywhere around this Earth. Healing the Earth is our sacred work, our duty to the seven generations. There are many more projects like ours already in existence, look us up on your YourLock account and see, maybe support us, maybe join us. You will find us out there already, now, and then you must also realize we are only about one percent of all the projects out there doing good things. And more still are waiting to be born. Come in, talk to us. Listen to our stories. See where you can help. Build your own project. You will love it as we do. There is no other world.Page 443

Listened The power of storytelling – a cautionary tale from ABC Radio National

Stories like opinions have become a necessity of modern life. Everybody is encouraged to have an opinion and everybody – in the vernacular of countless motivation speakers – is encouraged to be the “hero of their own story”.

But are we in danger of making too much of them?

If the story becomes the central device for much of our communication, do we risk losing our sense of objective reality?


Dr Maria Tumarkin – writer and cultural historian

Dr Nick Morgan – President, Public Words Inc

Daniel Stanley – Creative Director, Cohere Partners. Also founder of the Future Narrative Lab

Bob Lalasz – Founder and CEO, Science+Story

Liked HEWN, No. 335 (

According to the article, the only hitch is “the system”: “The challenge for A.I.-aided learning, some people say, is not the technology, but bureaucratic barriers that protect the status quo.” “The gatekeepers.” The teachers. The schools themselves. These should be bypassed, the article concludes, and parents should let the Internet educate their children.

How utterly irresponsible. But there you go.

Liked We should all be reading more Ursula Le Guin (The Outline)

The kind of story we need right now is unheroic, incorporating social movements, political imagination and nonhuman actors. In this story, time doesn’t progress in an easily digestible straight line, with a beginning, middle and end. Instead there are many timelines, each darting around, bringing actions of the past and future into the present. It collapses nature as a category, recognizing that we’re already a part of it. In a climate change story, nobody will win, but if we learn to tell it differently more of us can survive.

Bookmarked Why We Replaced Heroes with Antiheroes by Justin Kownacki (

We often use the word “hero” to describe the main character of a story. But since the 19th Century, our most popular stories usually aren’t about heroes.
Instead, they’re about anti-heroes.
So what’s the difference, and why are traditional “heroes” getting so hard to find?
To understan…

Justin Kownacki explores the notion of the hero versus the anti-hero.

A classic hero also requires a clear code: to boldly stand FOR something, which requires clearly and simultaneously standing AGAINST its opposite.

Where as:

An anti-hero is a compromised hero.

Kownacki discusses the popularity of the anti-hero (The Watchmen), the way that the anti-hero is sometimes cast as a hero (Wolverine) and where the hero masquerades as an anti-hero (The Rock).

Liked HEWN, No. 282 (HEWN)

My mum remembers (age 10 or so) eating six Tunnock’s teacakes and feeling quite ill on the bus from the train station at Lairg. She caught a trout on that trip, she says, too small to keep or eat, but she refused to throw it back and kept it in the wash basin in her room.

The family has told the stories from these vacations in Scotland for years — the knitted bathing suit and my uncle’s near-death experience (age 3) on the railway turntable in Rosemarkie. But as we drove through hills and over bridges, my mum and uncle squinted and hesitated and had to admit several times that perhaps the “what” and the “where” were different than what they recalled. (There was never a railway station in Rosemarkie, the villagers told us.)

Bookmarked Obituaries (Teaching Machines)

The obituary is a strange genre. (I say this having written two.) An obituary typically contains the basic facts of the deceased’s life: where and when they were born; when and sometimes how they died; where they went to school; the names of wives and husbands and children and the names of any other “surviving family members.” An obituary, whether written by a family member or by someone at the newspaper, attempts to narrate a life – who was this person; what did they do; what were they like?

Audrey Watters reflects on the stories told in the form of obituaries. This reminds me of Austin Kleon’s

  • Show Your Work
  • :

    Obituaries aren’t really about death; they’re about life. “The sum of every obituary is how heroic people are, and how noble,” writes artist Maira Kalman. Reading about people who are dead now and did things with their lives makes me want to get up and do something decent with mine. Thinking about death every morning makes me want to live.

    Listened Loop Groups by Info Pocketknife from Twenty Thousand Hertz

    Invisible actors create worlds of sound in everything you watch – from Jaws

    to The Wire. With special guests, Carl Gottlieb, screenwriter and author of

    “The Jaws Log”; Dann Fink, loop group director and co-owner of Loopers

    Unlimited; Stuart Stanley, Sound Supervisor; loop group members Eboni

    Booth, Dennis Carnegie, Axel Avin, Jr., Shannon Burkett, Daphne Gaines, and

    Rashad Edwards; and Will Ralston, supervising sound editor for The Wire,

    The Deuce, and Treme.

    Carl Gottlieb discusses the art of subtle storytelling in film through voice and sound effects.
    Bookmarked The world is being undone before us. If we do not reimagine Australia, we will be undone too | Richard Flanagan by Richard Flanagan (the Guardian)

    In the full transcript of his speech to the Garma festival, the author says the country can make itself stronger by saying yes to the Uluru statement

    In a speech to the Garma festival, Richard Flanagan explains how Australia needs to change and at the heart of this change is an acceptance of the Uluru Statement.

    The Uluru statement contained a contention and two proposals: that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people never ceded sovereignty over what is now Australia; that Indigenous people should be given a constitutionally enshrined voice to parliament; and that a Makarrata commission, using the Yolngu word for coming together after a struggle, should be established to perform the role of a truth and justice commission, and to explore options for a national agreement.

    Central to Flanagan’s change is a reimagining of Australian nationalism and storytelling.

    And as I boarded flight after flight, making my way slowly northwards, I wondered what joins us over such a vast expanse, what connects wintry worlds with tropical? What finally joins us as people into this idea that we call Australia?

    And the answer is story. The story of us as a nation. The story of us as Australia and as being Australian.source

    In some ways this reminds me of Tim Winton’s reimagination of masculinity. I wonder though if notions of ‘nationalism’ and ‘masculinity’ have always been somewhat fragmented and broken?

    The world is being undone before us. History is once more moving, and it is moving to fragmentation on the basis of concocted differences, toward the destruction of democracy using not coups and guns to entrench autocracies and dictators, but the ballot box and social media. The bonfire of our vanities is fully loaded with the fuel of growing inequality, fear, and division

    We see gay and transgender people being once more scapegoated, and we see race and religion used to divide. We see truth everywhere denied. Duterte. Orbán. Erdoğan. Putin. Democracy is withering in Poland. Slovakia. Cambodia. Once great nations are lost in division that with each passing day grows more intractable. The chaos of Brexit. The catastrophe of Trump’s white nationalism.

    My warning is this: if we here in Australia do not reimagine ourselves we will be undone too.source

    A part of reimagining the stories we tell is a recognition of past transgressions.

    I hope one day someone finds an Indigenous word to describe the unique nature of this enduring tragedy, this eternity of crimes, crimes that continue and that continue to deform us all, black and white, a word particular to our national tragedy’s own epic lineaments of suffering, resistance and endurance, a word such as the Holocaust is to the Jewish tragedy, as the Holodomor is to the Ukrainian tragedy.source

    The challenge we have is that whether we choose to recognise our cultural past or not, it is written in the land all around us.

    It is in the Indigenous languages I hear all around me here, each a different way of divining the universe, unique and irreplaceable. It is in the cosmology and wisdom of traditional communities; it remains artfully written over much of our landscape in the fire-shaped patterning of bush, scrub and grassland; it stares back at us from the great rock paintings of the past and the extraordinary Indigenous art of today, from the films of Warwick Thornton to the paintings of Emily Kame Kngwarreye to the dance of Stephen Page, to the exquisite beauty of Michael Long holding the ball out to Carlton in the 1993 grand final, daring anyone to be better, as a grand final became wholly about his time, and his place, and his magnificent wonder.

    And in that strange frozen moment of pure motion, as Australia thrilled as a man seemed to move at once backward and forward in time in defiance of time and space, it is possible to see also that our great struggle as a nation has always been to find ourselves in each other – the white in the black, the black in the white.source

    A true ‘commonwealth’ is one built around mutual recognition.

    Commonwealth is an old middle English word that derives from an older word, commonweal, which was understood as a general good that was shared, a common well-being. It suggests a mutuality and shared strength. It evokes relationships, the idea of a common inheritance. It is, you could argue, the counterpoint to the Yolngu word for selfishness, for lack of kinship. Commonwealth is kinship.

    It is to a completed commonwealth that I wish to belong. A commonwealth not just of states but more fundamentally a commonwealth of kin, a commonwealth of the Dreaming, of 60,000 years of civilisation. That’s the land I want to walk to, and it’s time we began the journey along the path Indigenous Australia has with grace shown us. To tomorrow. To hope.source

    Bookmarked Building an Instant Life Plan and telling your personal story by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)

    I think humans are meant to freestyle; living by too many sets of rules closes you off to new possibilities.

    Conversely, having guiding principles, and treating them as a kind of living document, could be helpful.

    Ben Werdmüller dive into digital identity and storytelling. He provides a series of quick prompts to help with the process.

    Hi! I’m [halfsheet Post-It]

    I believe the world is [no more than three regular Post-Its]

    I make money by [halfsheet Post-It]

    My employers are [no more than three halfsheet Post-Its]

    My key work skills are [no more than three regular Post-Its]

    My key personal attributes are [no more than three regular Post-Its]

    My key lifestyle risks are [three regular Post-Its]

    My key work risks are [three regular Post-Its]

    Risks parking lot

    Above all, to be successful, I need to [three regular Post-Its]

    My key next steps are [three regular Post-Its]

    This continues on from a past post reimagining the traditional resume, instead focusing on what you are proud of.

    I wish there was a place where I could read the story of a person. Everybody’s journey is so different and beautiful; each one leads to who we are. It would be the anti-LinkedIn. And because you wouldn’t “engage with brands”, it would be the anti-Facebook, too. Instead, it would be a record of the beauty and diversity of humanity, and a thing to point to when someone asks, “who are you?”

    I am also reminded of Doug Belshaw’s thoughts on emojis, identity and trust.

    Bookmarked Susan Sontag: At the Same Time (review) (Radio National)

    “To tell a story is to say: this is the important story. It is to reduce the spread and simultaneity of everything to something linear, a path.

    To be a moral human being is to pay, be obliged to pay, certain kinds of attention.

    When we make moral judgments, we are not just saying that this is better than that. Even more fundamentally, we are saying that this is more important than that. It is to order the overwhelming spread and simultaneity of everything, at the price of ignoring or turning our backs on most of what is happening in the world.

    The nature of moral judgments depends on our capacity for paying attention — a capacity that, inevitably, has its limits but whose limits can be stretched.

    But perhaps the beginning of wisdom, and humility, is to acknowledge, and bow one’s head, before the thought, the devastating thought, of the simultaneity of everything, and the incapacity of our moral understanding — which is also the understanding of the novelist — to take this in.”

    In an extract from At the Same Time, Susan Sontag discusses storytelling and the art of leaving things out. I wonder if the same could be said of music? For example, in a documentary reflecting on U2’s album The Joshua Tree, Brian Eno demonstrates through the mixing board how they would could have mimicked Depeche Mode. Or maybe music too is simply a form of storytelling?

    via Brainpickings

    Liked Storytelling And The Technological Nothing (

    90% of what you are being told about AI, Blockchain, and automation right now isn’t truthful. It is only meant allocate space in your imagination, so that at the right time you can be sold something, and distracted while your data, privacy, and security can be exploited, or straight up swindled out from under you.

    Watched Lessons from the Screenplay from YouTube

    With Lessons from the Screenplay, I make videos that analyse movie scripts to examine exactly how and why they are so good at telling their stories. Part educational series and part love letter to awesome films, Lessons from the Screenplay aims to be a fun way to learn more about your favourite films and help us all become better storytellers.

    In this YouTube channel, Michael Tucker breaks down the art of film and scriptwriting. A useful resource for breaking down various techniques associated with storytelling. Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Amazon provides some other useful resources associated with films and storytelling.

    via Kevin Hodgson