How to think, speak, and act in the Climate Crisis

Li Hsin Chang
Jun 13 · 5 min read

Team Climacated is back again!

We are a multi-disciplinary group of warriors at Digital Society School who embarked on an adventure into the jungle of the climate crisis debate. (note: to be more scientifically correct and socially responsible, we have decided to change our tone in the debate by switching the term climate change into climate crisis)

Previously, as we were navigating in the puzzling world of narratives around climate crisis, we have decided to seek help from the ‘thought leaders’ in the debate. Their compelling narratives are proven to be able to engage people effectively around the topic and turn the “business-as-usual” attitude into positive action against the climate crisis. Hopefully, with their narratives as shining light towers, we can safely navigate throughout the dark path along the way (without getting overwhelmed and depressed from the mass information of the climate crisis).

22 Powerful Narratives around Climate Crisis

To ensure the relevance to the climate crisis and the credibility of the thought leaders, we choose to look into TED.com, a peer-proof, nonprofit platform for ‘ideas worth spreading’. After cross-referencing different lists of thought leaders from TED.com, our partner Climate Cleanup, and apolitical.com. (If you are interested in our research methodology, you can have a look here).

From there, we compiled a list of 22 great thinkers with influential narratives to inspire positive actions against the climate crisis. In total, the selected 22 TED Talks have more than 41,000,000 views on TED.com.

With the questionnaire we developed, we focus on analyzing the following elements of their narratives:

  1. How do they describe the current issue?
  2. What actions do we need to take to experience a positive change?
  3. What is the desired future they have in mind?
  4. What stories or metaphors are they using to convey their message effectively?

We discovered something amazing while analyzing these elements in detail. We were able to spot emerging patterns within the narratives: many of the thought leaders are actually saying the same things about the current problem and best possible solutions, although each of them has their own unique approach of wording and framing.

Good news: the leading experts about the climate crisis are actually saying the same things!

This finding might not seem as fantastic as discovering a real unicorn in our living world. However, it is indeed breaking news: for the first time, we are are able to identify the convergence of compelling narratives about the climate crisis.

For our research team maneuvering carefully through the debate of climate crisis, it is a great comfort to know that a number of thought leaders actually share the same viewpoints within the complicated debate. Moreover, we have gained a lot of insights from the convergence of their narratives in response to the climate crisis.

So what exactly are they saying?

A number of ideas were identified to be reoccurring within the 22 TED talks. We have found that they all converge towards “changes” we need to make in the face of the climate crisis.

The overall theme is that we are able to reverse the climate crisis, all we need now is to be more proactive in changing how we think, speak, and act about it.

In response to the emergency, here are some major changes we need to make:

THINK

  • Think optimistically
  • Rethink our systems
  • Dream of a better future

SPEAK

  • Speak urgently
  • Speak optimistically
  • Communicate science effectively

ACT

  • Trust in technology & Invest in sustainable solutions
  • Live in balance with nature
  • Reduce CO2 emissions

When you look at the list above, one thing should be kept in mind: we only show the most-occurring ideas within the 22 TED talks. While these changes might seem rather general without specific explanation and instructions, each one is supported by a number thought leaders with particular quotes straight from the TED talks, which would be presented in our final prototype for the sprint.

You may see it as a condensed summary of 22 thought leaders’ narratives. In other words, this is the essence of 22 TED talks on the climate crisis, which could save up to almost 6 hours of your time trying to understand various compelling ideas around the topic.

From there, our team decided to build a website (forthcoming) to convey this wonderful message which will call out and engage with a broader audience.

Before we go…

Right now, it is the last stop before the end of our journey within the debate of the climate crisis. It is fair to say that our brains have absorbed a significant amount of knowledge about the topic so far and sometimes even got a little bit fried because of that. Nevertheless, we believe that we should all learn how to trust the process. The process has taught us how to enjoy every unfolding discussion, how to be grateful in every achievement we made, how to adapt to every frustration, and maybe the most import one, how to learn from every failure along the way.

Sharing our ideas about the website with our partners.

We are almost at the finish line, sprinting towards the end of our time at Digital Society School, but also not forgetting to take a moment to look back and reflect on the journey. Indeed we have embarked on a challenging adventure with countless ups and downs. A special thanks to our coach Carlo, our partners(Climate Cleanup and Visual Methodologies Collective), and our team spirit that has carried us this far.

So, yes! Let’s take a deep breath and carry on to the end of this wonderful trip :)


The Digital Society School is a growing community of learners, creators and designers who create meaningful impact on society and its global digital transformation. Check us out at digitalsocietyschool.org.

digitalsocietyschool

Li Hsin Chang

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digitalsocietyschool

The Digital Society School is a growing community of learners, creators and designers who create meaningful impact on society and its global digital transformation.

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