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The Climate Stories We Need Now

July 28, 2022

Green 2.0 Team

Megha (second from left) in conversation with Lindsay Crowder of Exposure Labs, Jade Begay of NDN Collective and Jeff Orlowski-Yang, Director of Chasing Ice, Chasing Coral and The Social Dilemma, chatting about climate storytelling at MountainFilm Festival. Jeff Orlowski-Yang is a board member at Green 2.0. Photo Credit: Sam Adler

The Climate Stories We Need Now

By Megha Agrawal Sood

Megha Agrawal Sood believes in the power of sharing stories and building unexpected collaborations to inspire action. She is a Director at Doc Society and leads the Climate Story Unit, a new initiative to support productions and impact campaigns of climate-themed stories across the globe. Megha’s previous work experience includes leading impact programming at the film company, Exposure Labs, and helping purpose-driven organizations grow at the innovation firm, IDEO. She was raised in Sugar Land, Texas, is a graduate of Northwestern University, and is currently based in Boulder, Colorado.


At Doc Society, we believe in the role of cultural strategy to lead us toward a more climate just and biodiverse future. Liz Manne and her colleagues at The Culture Group define it as “a field of practice that centers artists, storytellers, media makers, and cultural influencers as agents of social change.” Cultural strategy is how we can rewrite strongly held narratives, shape opinions and beliefs, and build political will for legislative outcomes. Storytellers play a crucial role in framing how societies understand both the crises of our time, and their solutions. 

However, coming from a community of creatives, we’ve struggled to keep climate change at the forefront of the conversation, and have failed to reach the communities we need to engage the most.

Acclaimed author Amitav Ghosh wrote in The Great Derangement, When future generations look back…They will certainly blame the leaders and politicians of this time for their failure to address the climate crisis. But they may well hold artists and writers to be equally culpable – for the imagining of possibilities is not after all, the job of politicians and bureaucrats.” 

Calling All Artists: The Climate Crisis is Recruiting session at Sundance Film Festival co-moderated by Megha and Emily Wanja, in conversation with Andrea Ixchíu (Maya K’iche’ leader and filmmaker, Guatemala), Geeta Persad (climate scientist, USA), Vanessa Nakate (climate justice activist, Uganda), and Farhana Yamin (climate legal advisor, United Kingdom). Photo Credit: Sundance Institute.

When you look at some of the most popular climate stories of the past decade, you realize how monotonous they are, falling into common tropes and relying on “trusted messengers” who are primarily white men from the Global North. We keep serving one segment of the population again and again, while alienating the rest.

We have been losing this culture battle. We can no longer do it alone. 

This is why we’ve launched the Climate Story Unit at Doc Society, an initiative to build and sustain narrative power for climate action. We will bring together storytellers, alongside impact strategists, movement builders, climate scientists, and policymakers to critically explore who our audiences should be, which narratives need to be elevated, and how these messages need to be delivered.

 Vanda Witoto,  Indigenous Activist and Health Professional, at Climate Story Lab Amazonia. Photo Credit: Laryssa Gaynett.

Our impetus is to build upon the incredible foundation laid by grassroots organizers, scientists and policy advocates, and invest in a wave of stories from around the globe that drive the ground swell for climate action.

Stories that are from, by, and about different communities.

Stories that activate the romantics, the comedians, and the thrill seekers alike.  

Stories that forge deep connections with those who have historically been ignored and marginalized by the climate conversation. 

Stories that can help seed new norms and beliefs, and germinate visions of a more just and climate safe future.

Let’s open up space for new ideas, new policies, and entirely new ways of thinking that allow us collectively to build a better, more inclusive world.

To learn more about Megha Agrawal Sood, follow her on Twitter at @megha_a. To learn more about the work of the Doc Society, visit docsociety.org and follow them on Twitter at @TheDocSociety.