It’s hard to turn on the TV or scroll through social media without seeing angry, depressing and polarizing messaging. Especially when it comes to talking about climate change in the United States. At Exposure Labs, we are dedicated to overcoming this polarity and exploring how films combined with strategic campaigns can accelerate local climate solutions. This past month, we had an opportunity to share our learnings at the Global Impact Producer Assembly in Amsterdam. Our friends at the Doc Society brought together filmmakers, impact producers, funders, and thought leaders, from over 40 countries, to connect and learn from one another.
Our Director of Programs, Megha Agrawal, took the stage to share how Exposure Labs approaches communicating about climate change in the United States. Based on our experiences running film campaigns for Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral, Megha shared tactics on how our team has helped people across the country overcome their own biases about climate change, designed screening events to engage new voices beyond the “environmental choir”, and highlighted climate solutions in a way that is actually…fun.
Here are the five ways we use film campaigns to break through the environmental echo chambers:
Show, Don’t Tell
Films allows audiences to see with their own eyes how rapidly our earth is changing, challenge personal biases, and prompt action.
Invoke Awe to Inspire
Powerful imagery, such as mesmerizing visuals of coral reefs, can evoke awe. Research has shown that awe is a powerful emotion that can lead us to self reflect and be open to new perspectives.
Convene Unexpected Champions
A trusted messenger in an unexpected scenario, such as a beloved NFL player hosting a film screening and sharing the impact air pollution has had on his own children’s health, is a powerful message that resonates with those beyond the “environmental choir”.
Supercharge the Efforts of Others
No need to start from scratch! Some of our most effective film campaigns have happened in close partnership with advocacy organizations who already have an existing climate agenda and grassroots network, they just needed a little help to get the attention of elected officials.
Climate change is a gnarly, systems-level challenge. Engaging films can bring together cross sector organizations – from church communities to tech startups to theater troupes – to discuss local climate solutions.