Stories to Inspire Change

We need new stories. Inspiring stories, uplifting stories and motivational stories. Especially about the state and fate of the world.
Stories to inspire change
Photo by social.cut / Unsplash
In: Sustainability, Copywriting

In this Guardian long read, writer and activist Rebecca Solnit eloquently articulated a long-held belief of mine, in that our collective climate apathy and slow interior panic is due to a lack of inspiring stories about what change is being done, and what we can do.

“What the climate crisis is, what we can do about it, and what kind of a world we can have is all about what stories we tell and whose stories are heard.” – Rebecca Solnit

Here at Bwritr, as sustainability writers, we get to delve behind the scenes in all industries and are often heartened and mightily inspired by the depth of work that many multinationals across all sectors are doing to minimise their impact on the planet and to maximise their sustainability practices. We often wish that more people could see what is being done, how much change is taking place and the speed at which it is happening.

Video: The Rainforest Alliance's new campaign takes on climate pessimism

Change doesn’t mean collapse – it can mean transformation

Solnit cites the UK, which ran almost entirely on coal power until the 1960s. She says: “If you had said then that it would have to quit coal, many would have imagined this meant an utter collapse of the energy system. Still, in 2008, four-fifths of the UK’s electricity came from fossil fuels." Since then, the UK has cleaned up its electricity mix faster than any other major world economy. Coal-fired power has virtually disappeared, and even gas use is down by a quarter. The UK “now gets more than half of its electricity from low-carbon sources, such as solar, wind and nuclear and Scotland already generates nearly all the electricity it needs from renewables.”

We need to imagine the world we want to live in 

Solnit writes that we have "an inability to imagine a world different than the one we currently inhabit.” This is exacerbated by the gap between ‘perceived’ support for climate change (not much) and actual support for climate change (around 70% of the population), and this perceived gap undermines motivation and confidence. It leaves us thinking there’s not much we can do, and no one is doing anything about it anyway.

Stories to inspire change
Photo by Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Solnit quotes the climate journalist Mary Heglar who, in an article entitled 'To Build a Beautiful World You First Have to Imagine It' states: "We’ve got loads of ideas for solar panels and microgrids. While we have all of these pieces, we don’t have a picture of how they come together to build a new world. For too long, the climate fight has been limited to scientists and policy experts. While we need their skills, we also need so much more. When I survey the field, it’s clear that what we desperately need is more artists.”

Just like in our own lives, the narratives we tell ourselves limit or expand what we think we can achieve. We need to tell new collective stories and spur ourselves on, not to a brave new world, but to become a courageous new collective.

Need help telling your story? Speak to our copywriting team.

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