''I am waiting for someone to write the epic "Cli-fi" [literary genre on climate change] novel of our time," said @HeidiCullen
Personal Stories About Global Warming Change Minds
That’s where storytelling comes in.
In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Daniel Kahneman outlines two parallel but interacting modes of information processing: an emotional system (thinking fast) and a rational system (thinking slow). His research suggests that emotionally derived knowledge is more effective than rational knowledge in influencing behavior. In other words, personal growth and understanding require the heat of emotion.
It is personal stories that make the issue of climate change hit close to home for many people.
But I’ll be the first to admit it: It was the personal stories that made the issue of climate change hit close to home for many viewers.
The best films and novels have always tackled the most compelling issues of the time. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “The Jungle” moved people to demand action because of their unique ability to weave together the emotional, rational and moral threads around fraught topics like slavery, poverty and dangerous working conditions. When done right, true stories are explosive. They provide us with new ways of seeing the world and our place in it.
The facts themselves may be unable to make global warming feel psychologically proximate, but we still need them to make informed decisions. Climate change and its associated effects — rising seas, acidifying oceans, species extinction and increasingly extreme weather — can evoke strong feelings including anxiety, fear, denial and even despair.
While we need those feelings in order to take action, documentaries and science fiction allow us to safely grapple with the concept and reflect on the consequences that come with burning fossil fuels. In that sense, works of fiction have the potential to help us not only understand our impact on the planet more fully, but also to demand a sustainable path forward.