Sharing our climate disaster stories, no matter how big or small, helps others feel less alone, builds community, and inspires change.
The Climate Disaster Project’s faculty and students identify communities that have been affected by climate change. We then work with members of those communities to share their stories using a trauma-informed interviewing process developed in consultation with climate disaster survivors and leading trauma experts. That process involves climate disaster survivors co-creating the questions for their own interview with our students or faculty. The result is a transcript of the interview and video or audio recordings.
Using that transcript, students prepare an “as-told-to” article written using only the survivor’s own words. After the survivor has reviewed that article and their transcript, their story is shared with our news media partners and added to our story collection. By making these previously private stories public, empathy, relatability and, ultimately, community can be created around those experiences. And, from this community, action can be taken to confront climate change.
Students and faculty look for common problems faced by climate disaster survivors. We then launch initiatives investigating those problems and identifying common solutions to them. We do that by using social science and investigative journalism techniques, from filing freedom of information requests and using citizen science to conducting public opinion surveys and coding interviews. But, most importantly, we do that by listening to what climate disaster survivors have told us and taking actions based on their lived experience.