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How can storytelling inspire climate action?

Words by Tess Becker

Integrating everyone into the climate conversation is vital. The climate and ecological emergency is the biggest issue facing humanity today. So society as a whole must understand the issue and feel inspired to take action if we are to overcome it. 

That’s where organizations such as Team DSB come in, telling the stories of the climate crisis and the communities that it will affect.

“In an evolving world, we amplify multicultural voices at scale, bring bold ideas to life and help young dreamers push social change forward,” Team DSB writes. “At all times, we proudly operate from a Black, queer, and womanist foundation.”

The founder of the digital collective, Team DSB, Dillon Bernard, has always been a passionate storyteller. In 2019, he was inspired to transfer this passion into activism.

“That's really when I got to see the power and intersection between climate and storytelling. I was in the spaces with skills needed to design a strategy for folks to take action,” Dillon tells Smiley News.

Dillon focuses on the narrative we will tell ourselves in the future, as we look back at the climate struggle and who took action, including individuals and communities. 

“It's really about cultural change for the amount of shifting minds and really emphasizing the human story of climate and how it's impacting frontline communities first,” Dillon says. 

It’s also important to avoid the doom and gloom of the average climate crisis coverage. He wants to bring some inspiration and hope to the conversation. 

“We're telling the story of folks solving their own problems and becoming solutions-oriented,” Dillon says. 

He wants to highlight the strength of people and humanity's ability to overcome struggle. 

“It's been really interesting thinking about how to approach this work. I want to emphasize the joy and impact of climate action as I think it is an instrumental part of telling the story of humanity. It’s important to emphasize that resilience that is also inherent in the stories we’re telling.”

They are journalists with a much larger focus on activism and ideally changing how people see the world. 

“We had these old school tenets that would and wanted to bring the new school, the tendencies, approaches, and bring them together,” Dillon said. “That's kind of how we think about this work is that there are some tried and true storytelling tactics that will always ring true, but I think often this work needs to be about meeting people where they are.”

As a whole, through Team DSB, Dillon wants to highlight the power that stories have. 

“My biggest thing in this work has been how do we emphasize the work of the intersection of culture and climate,” Dillon said.

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

The Women Invested to Save Earth Fund. This organization helps support underrepresented and underfunded Black, indigenous, and women of color-led organizations across the world. Find out more and support them here

Florida Bicycle Association. An organization that helps mobilize people and promote greener living and safer biking. Find out more

Collective Sun. They help nonprofits get outfitted with solar power capabilities. Check them out here.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs