The University of California’s Office of the President has launched ‘Climate Lab,’a video series produced in collaboration with Vox. So far the first two episodes have had more than 1 million views.
Why would a university attempt to produce a popular, journalistic video series on climate change?
I worked through our new Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies at UCLA with the UC Office of the President to help produce the series, after serving as senior editor of “Bending the Curve: Ten Scalable Solutions for Carbon Neutrality and Climate Stability,” a systemwide University of California report on climate change co-authored by 50 researchers as part of the UC pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025,
One of our main findings in “Bending the Curve,” in a chapter I co-authored, is that, so far, communication about climate change has largely failed. We know a lot about how and why it has failed. But we know very little about how to communicate successfully to lower the barriers for people taking action in their personal lives and collectively.
The gloom and doom of many documentaries is paralyzing.
And journalism has, alas, often failed because of the nature of journalism. We know that facts don’t change people’s minds.
That was the inspiration of the series: to experiment. We knew a few other things, too: We wanted it to be rigorous and factual, but irreverent, open-minded, and conversational. So we wanted to tell approachable stories, with humor, through frames and messengers that different audiences can relate to. We wanted to focus on solutions. And we wanted to be ecumenical. This is not just about research happening in the UC system, although we’re doing a lot. The sources come from all over.
And we wanted to lower the barrier for people to see a way forward to solutions for a problem too often perceived as too big, too far away, and too out of control for ordinary people to do anything about. The host of the series is M. Sanjayan, a popular science communicator who has done work for PBS, National Geographic, the BBC and many others, and who is now a visiting researcher at LENS.
Read more about the series here: https://www.ioes.ucla.edu/article/experts-come-surprising-solutions-climate-change-new-ucvox-video-series/.