Aug 5, 2023

Incite Post | Climate Storytelling

Incite Community,

Here’s something that keeps us up at night: only about half of U.S. adults view climate change as a serious issue. So how do we reach the remaining 50%? 

We’re dealing with a set of deeply embedded issues here. In the climate space, we often spend far too much time optimizing for the half that already believe, when the highest impact could be in bringing the other 50% into the conversation. And for those of us who are already bought into the existential risk of climate change, climate doomism – a sense of hopelessness and helplessness – can be demotivating. And then there’s purposeful exclusion. How many marginalized voices have been shut out of the climate conversation? 

We need better storytelling in climate. Media – in all forms – plays a unique and valuable role to inform, inspire, and in some cases, move people to take action. When it comes to climate, simply sharing the ‘what’ of climate change (e.g., the statistics) has not been enough. Perhaps it’s time to start sharing the ‘how’ (e.g., how climate change is already impacting us) and ‘who’ (e.g., the stories of the people impacted and the innovators leading the charge). We need to rethink our media strategies to re-engage and empower a new generation of diverse storytellers, journalists, and activists to challenge the status quo of climate communication. We don’t have clear answers yet, but it’s time to start supporting communication experiments that engage new people in new ways. 

The good thing is there are plenty of organizations making progress in this space – testing out new forms of communication on new platforms and with new voices to spark action. Take Greenpeace’s recent short film and cover of Fleetwood Mac’s iconic song “Don’t Stop”- a metaphor for corporations partying like there’s no tomorrow as they reach record profits on behalf of the unraveling climate crisis- call to action to create a better tomorrow. Or Pique Action’s short video on how Liminal insights improves battery quality and waste and the innovative founders guiding us to change.  

And sometimes the best climate storytelling doesn’t lead with climate at all – our friends at Mill are tackling the existential problem of food waste (it’s 10% of our emissions!), but their value proposition to consumers isn’t saving the climate, it’s improving quality life: the Mill bin keeps stinky trash out of your kitchen.

We’ve got countless examples of folks doing this work – envisioning new forms of storytelling and creating new spaces for change. For this edition of the Incite Post, we sat down with a few of our Partners who are building out a vision for climate storytelling and inclusion. 

Incite Storytellers: Floodlight, Yellow Dot Studios and Black Girl Environmentalist


Emily Holden, Founder and Executive Director of Floodlight, a nonprofit newsroom, uses a clever syndication strategy to locally distribute their investigative reporting on the powerful interests stalling climate action.

  • What does climate journalism look like today and where does reporting need to go as the world continues to suffer from irreversible climate damage?
    There’s plenty to be excited about in the climate journalism space. More media outlets are investing in climate reporting – including those with a general audience. This is a good thing! Yet few outlets are investing in investigations and accountability journalism that helps people understand how corporations and moneyed interests are blocking climate progress. This is the void that Floodlight fills.
  • How can our readers support and stay up to date with the latest at Floodlight?
    1. Read our latest reporting – like our Polluting Democracy series in partnership with the Guardian. 2. To be the first to learn about our next stories, subscribe to our newsletter. 3. And to support our work, make a one-time or recurring donation.


Yellow Dot Studios’s Senior Advisor, David Fention, is creating a new media pathway to challenge decades of disinformation pushed by large industries and shed light on the urgency of climate solutions.

  • How do you convince people to care about climate change?
    By showing them how it will affect everything they care about. Extreme weather fueled by pollution is already affecting their health (wildfire smoke, heat deaths), homes (floods/fires), prosperity (collapsing insurance markets, higher costs of food), and security (greater global conflict from water and resource scarcity). As for the role of digital media, well, everyone is on their phones. So if we don’t reach people where they are at, we don’t exist. At Yellow Dot, we are creating memorable, shareable material on all the platforms people frequent. We are lucky to have Adam McKay’s gift for getting people to pay attention, including with satire. But we are also pressuring the mainstream media to do a better job connecting the dots between pollution and extreme weather. We also need to get more conservatives to care. And we can. I have made videos where conservatives speak about how climate change threatens conservative values of freedom, prosperity, health, security. We’ve measured the impact, and they work. Much more of this should be done in my opinion.


Black Girl Environmentalist’s Founder & ED, Wawa Gatheru, is using social media & physical community to educate, support, and make visible Black women and non-binary folks in climate.

  • How does social media create space for underrepresented voices and to educate on critical climate topics?
    When most people hear the word environmentalist they generally envision a white middle-aged person (generally a man) wearing hiking gear. The main spokespeople and representatives of the climate movement have also traditionally been a very homogenous group, despite the long history of people of color contributing to environmental research, conservation, advocacy, and solutions. While people of color make up nearly 40% of the US population, we don’t surpass a 16% green ceiling of representation in the climate sector. And this reality informs the ways traditional environmental scholarship operates and who have been centered as trusted sites of knowledge. Content creation democratizes access to climate information and can give way for an intersectional lens to be prioritized. One of our most popular programs is a social media campaign called Reclaiming Our Time.Through this initiative, Black Girl Environmentalist matches Black climate activists, creators, and scholars with prominent Instagram platforms for a one-day takeover to share information about the intersections of social justice and climate issues. We are helping to shift the narrative around where environmental expertise can come from and platforming folks that are not regularly centered. Social media is helping level the playing field and showcase the true diversity of the climate movement. Solutions oriented climate content gives GenZ viewers the ability to make informed decisions about pathways of climate action, rather than being debilitated by a problem that sometimes feels too big to contribute to.
nesletter shape
Sign up to receive Incite portfolio news, opportunities, and original perspectives from our team

Explore more content