Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Browsing by Subject "cultural climate change"

Sort by: Order: Results:

  • Lankinen, Venla (2023)
    Stories matter for climate change, as they help us make sense of the complexity, uncertainty and abstract nature of the phenomenon as well as imagine alternative, potentially better futures and process our emotions. In this thesis I look at how the most culturally relevant stories about climate change relate to those of climate activists. To study the culturally relevant climate change stories, a literary review is conducted. Based on the review, an analytical framework is created. In the framework, the different cultural perspectives on climate change are grouped under six categories called climate change tropes. The tropes are i) Climate Change Apocalypse, ii) Techno-optimism, iii) Business-as-usual, iv) Romantic Ecotopia v) Sustainable Growth and vi) Systemic Change. The stories in each trope share a similar plot and/or setting, a guiding emotion and an approach to solutions. To gather empirical data, two climate change storytelling workshops are hosted for climate activists. The participants are Finnish climate activists predominately from the group Elokapina (Extinction Rebellion of Finland). The workshops consist of two creative writing exercises and a semi-structured focus-group interview. In the first exercise, the participants are asked to write a story about climate change and in the second to write an ideal ending to this story. The interview is divided into three sections conducted before, in-between and after the writing. The stories written and the data from the interviews are analysed using a qualitive content analysis. The previously created analytical framework is used to look for similarities as well as differences in the stories the activists tell to those present in literature. In addition to the storylines, the emotions and the sense of authorship these activists experience in relation to the story of climate change are analysed. The stories of the activists are diverse and multifaceted. Most stories written in the first exercise relate to the trope of Climate Change Apocalypse. The activists’ emotions correspond the trope, being dominantly fear, sadness and guilt. The ideal endings relate most to the trope of Systemic Change. The emotion of radical hope associated with the trope, while not exclusively worded by the participants comes out in the action of being an activist and hoping for better futures even in the face of well-justified despair. All other tropes are also mentioned in discussion. In addition, three novel storylines emerge: misanthropy, individual change and climate changed living. In turn, a novel emotion emerging from the data is love. These storylines’ and emotions’ relationship to the six tropes is explored in analysis. In terms of authorship, the participants express a sense of collective authorship and shared responsibility. Lastly, risks about storytelling climate change are identified. As a complex phenomenon climate change does not necessarily comply to narrative format. This may lead to over-simplification of the issue. To counter this risk, I suggest building awareness around telling stories of climate change, as well as advocating for a multitude of stories rather than a single one – as there are as many stories about climate change as there are people telling them. There is also a risk of a story lock-in, where viewing one story of climate change as truth and thus the only possible future may hinder action. Yet, community-based and creative approaches can be useful in escaping these lock-ins and imagining alternatives.