“Climate Stories Project” (CSP) is an educational and creative forum for discussing climate change and its effects on global communities. Its purpose is to collect oral histories about the experiential effects of climate change to establish curricula and workshops that introduce a personal approach to educating children, teenagers, adults, and teachers about the current state of the environment. It is led by Director Jason Davis, a musician and environmental educator; Project Manager Berenice Tompkins, an educator and community organizer; and Project Collaborator Stephen Siperstein, a climate change educator at Choate Rosemary Hall. “Climate Stories Project” uses oral history narratives about climate change to share the emotional impact of its effects and give resonance to people who may not connect to a more scientific vocabulary. These personal stories talk about everything from disastrous events like hurricanes and wildfires to the more subtle experiences of changing seasons and water levels to activism against the laws and businesses that perpetuate environmental degradation. CSP is brought to life by teachers, professors, and students who dedicate themselves to working with individuals affected by climate change, collecting their stories, and tying them together with research and workshops to incorporate the emotional and personal aspects of global climate change into a new climate change pedagogy.
One such project was led by Dr. Sara Beth Keough, Professor of Geography at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, who spent the 2016-2017 school year as a Fulbright Scholar in the country of Niger. She conducted research and taught in the West African Science Service Center for the Study of Climate Change and Energy at Niger’s national university, l’Université Abdou Moumouni. During her Fulbright fellowship, Keough collected the reflections of five West African students in her course “Communicating Climate Change.” These stories contributed the experiences of individuals from some of the poorest, most vulnerable populations in the world—perspectives that might be quite foreign to American students and educators grappling with teaching the effects of climate change. In addition to collecting these stories and conducting research, CSP works with educators to plan accessible curricula to teach workshops about climate change. The organization uses not only oral history narratives but music, poetry, and the visual arts to engage with diverse communities about climate change.