As we drift into an unprecedented crisis for our beautiful planet earth with climate change, mass extinctions and threats to the very survival of humanity, what role is there for the storyteller?
It is on the agenda for sure with groups like: Tales to Sustain in England, which led to the publication of Storytelling for a Greener World; the 2017 Scottish Global Gathering with the powerful title: ‘If not now, when?’, which related storytelling to the Earth Charter; the ‘Storytelling the Environment’ symposium at the George Ewart Centre in Cardiff in April 2019. For my part I have created a performance piece called ‘Gone Cuckoo’ that explores the plight of migratory birds through the eyes of a cuckoo, satellite tagged by the British Trust for Ornithology. See Resurgence Issue May/ June 2019.
But the question remains, how much do these endeavours change our consciousness and subsequent actions? There is a chilling truth in the quote offered by George Monbiot that ‘it is easier to contemplate the death of the planet than the death of capitalism’. We need to change our story from one where the earth and its inhabitants are seen as a resource to one where it is our home and a part of who we are. But what is that story? I don’t believe there is one answer, but multiple responses to this. Storytellers have always played a part as radical agents for transformation. Now more than ever, we must look into our hearts and ask ourselves what stories do we need to tell to serve this moment in time?