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“There is a big lack of storytelling when it comes to the climate crisis,” whether fictional or factual, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said on Tuesday.
Creatives want to tell climate stories, “but they don’t really have the support in order to do that,” she told the Edinburgh TV Festival in a virtual session. At times, the reason may be that there is a sense that audiences wouldn’t want to see the topic covered, she added, but argued: “I think if we started writing about it, if we started telling stories about it, there would be a demand for that.”
One problem with the lack of films or TV series about climate issues is that “most people I have met are not fully aware of the climate crisis” and what it means, argued the activist. “It feels as if we are only talking about it as a far distant problem that is not affecting us today.”
She also highlighted that the ongoing issue is “not the past, so we can’t tell the whole story.” And since we don’t know the future, it is a harder story to tell and “it may be very political and people may be afraid” to cover the topic, because they may be seen as taking a stance or may feel they don’t know enough to tell the story.
Thunberg’s comments came during the Edinburgh TV Festival in a session with writer Jo Nesbo in the event’s Worldview Address slot, discussing the creative industry’s responsibility toward sustainability and a greener future.
Nesbo expressed surprise about the lack of climate crisis narratives in film, highlighting they can touch audiences emotionally as long as they are good stories. “Philadelphia definitely changed the social conversation about HIV and AIDS,” he said. “It made a big difference. So I do think it is important that the entertainment have a look at the climate crisis.” He added a splash of optimism: “Hopefully when we talk next time, maybe in two years, there will be some good movies that deal with this.”
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