Climate stories are a form of structured communication designed to share information, experiences, and targeted messages about climate change/adaptation. Stories should ideally be compelling and entertaining and may combine text with supporting media or scientific data. The target audience can be the general public or specific group(s). The story can be used to convey all kinds of publicly important messages around climate change. Defining the audience and the core message are essential components in the process so that the story appeals to the audience and the core message can be communicated clearly.
The benefit of using the tool comes not only regarding the final outcome, but also as a way to fill the gap between scientific actors and societal actors and decision makers, as illustrated in the following figure:
City representatives can create climate stories unique to their city. The specific goals and intended impacts of any climate story and the target audience vary from city to city. For example, a climate story can be used to communicate plans and activities related to adapting to climate change effects. Another climate story may be used to educate entrepreneurs or create common practices in city planning departments. The tool is highly flexibly and can be used for nearly any purpose and audience.
Some possible benefits are:
Each City Hub is developing one or several climate stories. The following topics are currently under development:
Logroño, Milano, Athens: Heat impacts
Relevant tools include Thermal Assessment Tool (Tecnalia) and Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards Index tool (UCC)
Lillestrøm, Cork: Flooding
Relevant tools include Community flood resilience support tool (Deltares) and the Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards Index tool (UCC)
An example is the climate story for Logroño. The story addresses the problems associated with heat and how it affects children. The story follows the experiences of a couple of school kids during the course of a typical early summer day, including a morning discussion with their parents, learning about climate change impacts at school, and travelling through the city to their Grandparent’s house in the afternoon. Future projections for heatwaves, the effects heat has on vulnerable persons, and actions the city is taking to mitigate the problem are woven into the story.
As the climate story tool is highly versatile, it can be relevant for any of the phases of the Triple-A toolkit. Some examples of how climate stories might be applied:
Analysis phase: Create a story regarding flood risk
Ambition phase: Create a story about social vulnerability
Action phase: Create a story about mitigating heat effects
Overall level of complexity: Level 1 (Ready to use light approach)
See also the publicly available REACHOUT Deliverable 1.3, ‘Climate stories: initial stories’, available at https://reachout-cities.eu/results/