Not only does storytelling have an intuitive appeal, but it also elicits hormones
that make us feel emotions.
Hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins generate feelings of empathy, trust, creativity, and increased focus. Climate change communication, therefore, needs to create a chemical concoction of empowering hormones
resulting in a captivated audience that feels inspired to act in more positive ways! Recently there has been a push for scientists to focus on framing their facts
so that they tell a more compelling story. Instead of bombarding people with evidence, scientists need to focus on how they present them. Done very effectively in examples like Braiding Sweetgrass
by scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer,
the blend of storytelling and science has resulted in complex ecosystems becoming understandable by more and more people. After several studies, Boris et al.
realised that narratives structured as stories resulted in experiential processing
, heightened engagement and emotional arousal - which catalyzes action. Their studies showed that when information is embedded in the structure of a story, cardiac activity was influenced, and subsequently, pro-environmental behaviour. Furthermore, when biologist Andrew Thaler talks about climate change, he doesn't talk about science.
Rather, he tells stories that are important to his audiences - such as those involving fishing, farming, faith, and the future. In a nonsensical world with so many polarising opinions and a general lack of cohesiveness, storytelling makes sense of the world
but more importantly, it makes connections and makes us feel human.