a documentary web series, telling the story of climate change from a human perspective
How might we center humans in the narrative around climate change?
Skills and Tools:
Products of Design, SVA, 2016-17
In the struggles for social justice, activists prioritize the causes that seem immediately urgent. As a result, highly systemic and complicated issues, like climate change, are often overlooked when the links to immediate human suffering are obscured. A common misconception is that climate change is a luxury issue, and many activists think by focusing on the environment they are neglecting people who are suffering now.
However, climate change is a root cause of many conflicts around the world, like the civil wars in Syria and Sudan. This is not a luxury issue; the effects of climate change have already begun to have dire impacts on people’s lives. However, the suffering of millions is being neglected because humans are not centered in the narrative around climate change.
Biofile is a documentary podcast that emphasizes the connection between people and the land by featuring ordinary people already experiencing the effects of climate change. Drawing inspiration from This American Life and AJ+, Biofile tells the story of climate change from a individual’s perspective.
A global network of producers source a story with an environmental angle told through the lens of a person from that place, the story is then published on the platform’s weekly podcast. Listeners are introduced to relatable stories that are named after their subject. For example, the episode “BethAnn” is about a woman from Lambertville, NJ, who is concerned with the contamination of the Delaware River caused by nearby fracking.
Podcast subscribers are invited to share audio clips on social media.
Biofile licenses short format video versions of the content to news agencies covering environmental stories to supplement related reporting. This strategy generates income, reaches a broader audience, and reinforces the human-centered narrative around climate change.