A shift is happening in the way the world talks about climate change. What used to be the exclusive domain of science and activism is quickly transforming into a global SOS featuring the voices and stories of people from all walks of life, young and old, near and far. There is a renewed urgency in their message: climate change isn’t abstract or distant any more. It is here. It is now. And it affects everything we see and do.

After decades of indifference, denial, and feeling powerless over what to do about climate change, a new conversation is emerging, one that’s engaging the world on the costs of inaction, but also on the opportunities presented by fighting climate change.

On May 24, we invite you to be part of a conversation that brings leaders from environmental and Indigenous organizations, journalists, government, public policy, faith-based groups and climate science communications scholars together in Vancouver. The aim of this daylong meeting is to draw on your collective expertise and experience to actively explore experiential and evidence-based approaches for climate change communication at this pivotal moment.

Confirmed Presenters: 

Amber Bennett, Climate Outreach

Cara Pike, Climate Access

Charlene Aleck, Councillor, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Chris Hatch, Executive Editor, National Observer

Emma Gilchrist, Journalist & Co-Founder, The Narwhal

Geoff Dembicki, The Tyee

Kendra Fanconi, Co-Founder, Artistic Director, The Only Animal Theatre

Liz McDowell, Director, Digital Campaigns and Strategy,

Robert Chamberlin, Chief Councillor, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation

Stephen Sheppard, Professor & Director, Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning, UBC

Tarah Stafford, Screenwriter, Communications Specialist

Questions of the forum include: 
  • How do you make climate change relatable and accessible?
  • What is working and why?
  • What is the scholarship behind a powerful narrative?
  • What is the role of the media in taking on this work?
  • And ultimately, what are the narratives we need right now that will move people to action?
From the technical to the relatable

For decades, climate messaging has assumed we'd all take more action if only we had more information about climate change. But we’re learning that the relationship between how much we know about the science of climate change, and how concerned we are, isn’t as expected. More science literacy doesn’t translate into more concern. Instead, to communicate climate change more clearly and effectively, we need to make it more relatable to the values that people hold dear. 

Connecting on climate… with stories to inspire solutions

Stories create positive emotional connections with audiences. These positive emotional connections are crucial for broadening our thought processes on climate change and to heighten our levels of engagement, creativity and imagination with the subject.

The format of the day is highly participatory and structured around invited presentation, dialogue and open space story-making.

Join us on May 24 for a forum where we will exchange ideas, tools and insights and draw on the power of stories – from academic practices and Indigenous knowledge – to inspire climate change solutions.

This forum is brought to you by SFU Faculty of Environment & SPEC and we gratefully acknowledge the participation in planning from Suzuki Elders, Embark Sustainability, CRED, the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, VoteClimate, Outside the Lines, Participedia, Sophia Yang, one of Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25, SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and SFU's Office of the Vice President Academic Conference Fund.

All of our organizations respectfully recognize that we live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.