Students create their own climate stories

Using emotion and expression to discuss climate issues

Benajil Rai / Multimedia Director

“When you are telling people about climate change it’s important to not just state statistics. It’s more important to tap into your empathy and human nature,” said Keene State College senior and Eco-Rep Madelyn Thomas.

Thomas, like many of the other ecology enthusiasts and climate lovers in attendance Tuesday, November 19, at 7 p.m. in the Night Owl Cafe, wants to increase communication around climate change.

Co event organizer, Eco-Rep and KSC junior Julia Anselmo said, “Maddy and I are hosting this event because it was our idea to do it [here at KSC]. I think that adding emotion and expression to talk about climate is encouraged because it hits people differently. You want to put an urgency into [your climate story], but by adding personal experience to it you can see how it’s happening around the world to different age groups, types of people and places on earth.”

Both girls came together to explain and show  the audience what a climate story is and how to write one, passing out blank templates and allowing time for everyone to have a chance at filling them out and making their own climate stories.

Anselmo even shared her own climate story that she had written about rough breathing conditions in Nepal when she visited.

Reflecting on writing it, Anselmo said, “I couldn’t think of anything traumatic that happened [to me]. Then I realized it doesn’t have to be so it made me dig deeper in my personal life and experience. Automatically, my head shot back to when I was in Nepal and I was experiencing a complete change in environment.”

The original people who helped bring the idea to both of the girls were representatives from Antioch University’s Alliance for Youth Climate Leadership, which was formed earlier this year.

The overall group has seven graduate students and a professor.

Their goal is to support youth-led environmental and climate work in various ways, however it shows up.

Second-year graduate student from the alliance Shaylin Salas said, “We’re trying to touch base with different youth around the region and so we found the Eco-Reps just by talking. This led us to Caitlin Holden, who manages the Eco-Reps, and a sustainability engagement coordinator here [at KSC and] invited us to talk with them at their meeting. We wanted to find out what they needed from us and we heard from them they wanted to increase their ability to communicate climate change. For them we decided that stories were a good way to do that and they also agreed and we put on a climate story workshop with them.”

Thomas thought about the future and said, “It’s up to our generation to change this. I don’t really think the other generations are going to step forward. So it is up to us and the generations after us because we are the people who are going to be affected the most by climate change. It’s our kids and our way of life [that are being threatened] and we need to mitigate that before anything happens to cause a bigger problem.”

Joe Guzman can be contacted

at jguzman@kscequinox.com