Master Storyteller Follows the Greatest Story of Our Time: Climate Change

by | December 7, 2018

Claire Schoen has been guided by her passion for social justice throughout her career. She’s won numerous awards for film and radio documentaries and has taught radio production at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, and Duke.

Claire loves getting a glimpse into other people’s lives and being able to tell their stories. She picks topics that she thinks are important and sits down with people whose lives are interwoven with the issue at hand – opening a window for others to see and better understand. “I love doing this. You get into all sorts of crazy situations. People spill their secrets. I get to go into world’s that aren’t like my own world at all.”

Recently, most of her personal work has focused on climate change. In addition to getting involved with 1000 Grandmother for Future Generations, Claire has been working on the Stepping Up podcast. It makes digesting the heavy topic of climate change both easy and enjoyable. She tells the stories of people from all walks of life stepping up in various ways – very hopeful. I highly recommend checking it out!

My favorite episode is called Clowning Around. It features a bunch of prankster climate activists. I hadn’t heard of them before listening and now really want to meet these guys – they’re hilarious (and brave). In one prank they pose as Exxon employees to speak at a big oil conference. In another they pretend to be US Chamber of Commerce officials and hold a press conference to announce changes in policy. There are several more, but I won’t give them away.

All these pranks are climate related and many feature what they call “identity correction”. They basically say what the person they’re pretending to be should be saying. It’s their way of speaking truth to power, embarassing them for doing the wrong thing, and informing the public in a creative and amusing way about what’s going on.

My second favorite episode is probably The Loudest, Smallest Voices. It’s about a group of 12 year olds studying the ocean. They’re impressive, inspirational, and…just kids being kids – it’s great.

Speaking with Claire, we briefly touched upon the struggles of focusing on climate change all the time. It can be a lot. I think the following quote is worth sharing because it can be helpful to anyone when it comes to dealing with climate change.

“Sometimes I’m panicked – depressed about the human race and planet. But I get out of bed by doing my one little step – do what I can do.”

Action is the antidote to overwhelm and despair on this issue. So do that one step!

Given a billboard for millions to see, Claire would write, “Take a step, and take it with your friends.”

To hear all the stories in the Stepping Up podcast, subscribe to the series wherever you get your podcasts!


Read other content from the “Highlighting Someone Awesome” section or see all sections of the What on EARTH?! sustainability newsletter.

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“Strikes the perfect balance between smart, understandable, funny, and compelling.” – Jackie

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