It's been making the rounds lately that "watching a documentary is the new reading a book."
While I don't know if that's exactly true, I do know video has become a powerful tool for communicating with nerds, and it's made nerdiness more accessible — just look at YouTube channels like CrashCourse or SciShow, which teach viewers about various topics and have amassed huge followings online.
Living in Boulder, we hear a lot about the science — and the politics — behind climate change. In a town where most households have bigger compost bins than trash cans, first dates involve hiking Chautauqua and the city itself is in the process of creating a municipal power utility, it's easy to forget that not everyone is aware of the effect climate change has on different communities.
A local multimedia company, The Story Group, wants to change that. They're in the process of producing two videos in a series called "Americans on the Front Lines of Climate Change." The people at The Story Group, which was founded by two journalists, already know how important it is to communicate a message effectively — and the importance of using the right medium. One of the group's co-founders, Daniel Glick, helped edit the 2014 National Climate Assessment. The assessment contained new information about climate change — information many of us would probably want to know. But while the report does indeed tell a story, it's not very engaging, and it's not very accessible. Cue the video series.
"Americans on the Front Lines of Climate Change" puts faces to the phenomenon, telling the stories of Americans whose lives have been directly affected by the impacts of climate change. From a rancher in Texas, to a fire chief in Colorado, the series' existing videos powerfully share the severity of the issue. The group has also produced 14 videos about the scientists who are studying climate change, making the subject accessible to even the most science-averse among us (raises hand).
Across the country and around the world, countless people are already experiencing the effects of climate change — including in our own backyards (and sometimes, our own apartments). The Story Group wants to continue producing videos so more voices are heard — and so more people have an engaging way of learning about climate change.
But storytelling ain't cheap, so they've launched a Kickstarter to raise money for the series. They're in their final week and a little more than 50 percent funded. To support ther group and help make stories heard, search "Americans on the Front Lines of Climate Change" on Kickstarter or learn more on Twitter: @TStoryGroup.
Jess Ryan is a social media strategist and CU grad. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @jessryanco.