City Climate Corner

The Importance of Storytelling

Episode Summary

Climate change discussion is often filled with science, data, and graphs. But to move people, organizations, and governments to action requires emotional connections and empathy. It requires storytelling. We interview Jothsna Harris, founder of Change Narrative, who is dedicated to building capacity in the climate justice movement through the power of stories.

Episode Notes

Climate change discussion is often filled with science, data, and graphs. But to move people, organizations, and governments to action requires emotional connections and empathy. It requires storytelling. We interview Jothsna Harris, founder of Change Narrative, who is dedicated to building capacity in the climate justice movement through the power of stories. 


Episode Transcription


Abby Finis  00:02

Cities produce more than sixty percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Big cities get a lot of attention, but most household emissions in the US actually come from communities outside urban cores, making them critical players in climate mitigation and climate justice. City Climate Corner explores how these small- and mid-size cities are tackling climate change and moving toward an equitable and sustainable future. 

Abby Finis  00:21

I'm Abby Finis.

Larry Kraft  00:22

And, I'm Larry Kraft. We're co-hosts for City Climate Corner.

Abby Finis  00:29

Hey, Larry. 

Larry Kraft  00:30

Hey, Abby. 

Abby Finis  00:32

So we are recording this episode a couple of days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And it's a completely tragic situation and one that is so clearly intertwined with our dependency on fossil fuels and has real climate implications.

Larry Kraft  00:56

Yeah, and no one's really talking about that. But absolutely is the case. What would this situation be like, if we weren't so dependent on fossil fuels?

Abby Finis  01:06

Yeah, Russia is a major exporter of oil and natural gas to much of Europe. When they're dependent on that oil and natural gas, they can't really impose the kind of sanctions that are needed on Russia to make them think twice about what they're doing in a totally unprovoked, unnecessary attack and war on Ukraine.

Larry Kraft  01:33

And if you think more broadly, what has the fossil fuel dollars enabled to develop in terms of power in certain places of the world where these things happen to exist?

Abby Finis  01:45

And what is it doing? It's not triggering, "Okay, let's let's rapidly ramp up renewable energy and and electrify our transportation." And, you know, do that it's getting these oil companies who are like, "Well, I guess we need more domestic production of natural gas, we need more advanced production of oil and in the US should export more to Europe." It's really having the opposite effect that it should be having. And that's going to have some real implications, both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of just war and the impact of climate going forward. The communities that are going to be hit the hardest are going to continue to be the most vulnerable communities. As energy prices rise, it's going to impact people who aren't directly impacted by war through their wallets. And it's going to impact others through just continued escalation of the climate crisis.

Larry Kraft  02:45

Clearly, we need a different narrative than this fossil fuel narrative we're in.

Abby Finis  02:50

Yeah, I think it's timely that we're talking with Jothsna Harris of Change Narrative today, who really is going to underscore the importance of human connection and sharing our stories and changing a narrative from a dominant one that is filled with graphs and figures and numbers to what is it that connects us and helps us to work toward a better future for all of us?

Larry Kraft  03:21

And this isn't the story of a specific city. But boy, there's stuff in here that will help everyone in trying to get stuff done. And thinking about how you really connect at an emotional level. It's much easier to make change when you do that.

Abby Finis  03:37

There's a lot of power in storytelling. So we're really happy to have Jothsna on today. And let's give it a listen.

Larry Kraft  03:42

Let's do it. 

Start of interview

Larry Kraft  03:46

We are here today with Jothsna Harris, the founder and principal of Change Narrative. Welcome to City Climate Corner. And can you start by introducing yourself?

Jothsna Harris  03:57

Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm Jothsna Harris, and I'm honored to be here with you today. Recently founded Change Narrative, which is building capacity in the climate justice movement through the power of our stories. 

Larry Kraft  04:12

That's great, and Jothsna I'm so excited to have you here because you and I go back quite a ways. When I first decided to make a career shift and get involved in the climate movement, one of the first things I did was to go to this training session put on by Climate Generation. And you were there too 

Jothsna Harris  04:28

Well, and it's so funny because I was at the same point in my life where I was making a career shift. That training was fortuitous, in a lot of ways.

Larry Kraft  04:37

So how did you come to decide to found Change Narrative?

Jothsna Harris  04:43

I have been working on climate now as my career for nearly a decade. And throughout that time, I have really witnessed the transformative power of people's stories as our most effective tools for advocacy for climate justice. They've reinforced our campaigns, they help to build confidence in everyday conversations. They provide opportunities to push for climate justice in ways that are based on our stories and the reality of climate change. I felt really compelled that in this urgent time of climate crisis, that I could be useful and helpful, and bringing the skills that I have to help people find and share these compelling narratives to push the mainstream narratives that we have been telling about climate change and to expand that conversation to include everyday people

Larry Kraft  05:39

Do you often get from folks, "Well, I don't have a story?"

Jothsna Harris  05:44

Every time. And, I am not surprised by it anymore. I think that is maybe part of our mentality and society, to embrace imposter syndrome, which is not that you aren't capable of doing something, it's that your mindset. And because we are all living with the reality of climate change, it's all around us. This summer 2021 the research shows that one in three people in our world experienced climate directly in their lives, impacts of climate change, whether through wildfires, or drought, or heat, or flooding, we all do have a connection to climate. And I think the first inclination is to think that my voice isn't powerful enough, or I don't have a story that would be compelling to tell. And that's part of the work that I do, in working with individuals and groups of people is to help them feel not only connected to climate change, but that they have a power in their voice. And part of that work to realize and articulate your personal connection, is building confidence and in sharing your story is reinforcing your own climate leadership. So it is really a tool that I have found is a really powerful for building climate leadership.

Abby Finis  07:01

Can you talk a little bit more about using it as a tool? What are some of the venues for storytelling? And where would you direct some of these stories to?

Jothsna Harris  07:10

I work with people in two main ways to help them find their stories. I coach people one on one, which is where we're just meeting for a conversation. And I asked them curious questions about their life. And I take notes while they're talking. And that's kind of forms of bones for a draft of their story. And then we bump that back and forth through Google Docs and refine it, until they come away with a story that they feel most confident and excited to tell. And so that results in a polished, curated piece that then can be used to pitch in media as an op ed, it can be a foundation for being on a podcast or a radio segment, it can be testimony that you share with your legislator. So you have a story that is written that is ready for all types of advocacy. 

Jothsna Harris  08:01

The other way that I work with people is in a group setting through storytelling workshops. Through these workshops, we take time and space in the workshop itself, to write and reflect on our stories. These workshops result in sparks of stories that are people feel hopefully excited about where they could come back to after the workshop, and continue working on it and finishing it. But those workshops are really special because when people share, their story sparks in a way that is compelling, infused with their experience of climate change is their own identity, and the emotions. And they're told in a vulnerable way. When you share something vulnerably it has the ability to break down barriers and connect to people in such a rapid and unique way.

Abby Finis  08:51

I wonder as you have these workshop settings where people are sharing stories, do you start to see those ripple effects of other people wanting to share their story? Or where does it go once those stories get out there?

Jothsna Harris  09:04

We've been talking about now that climate change is intersectional. It's connected to climate justice, connected to racial justice, and all sorts of social movements. So when we tell our stories that speak to our identities and our experience of climate change, they become very dynamic. And especially when they're told with an emotion, when people hear that kind of story they see themselves in it, because through the demonstration of vulnerability, it becomes universally resonant. And so as I'm telling you my climate story, hopefully you will be able to see pieces of yourself in that story, even if you can't relate specifically to what I'm talking about. 

Jothsna Harris  09:52

I had this experience where a young woman was telling me a story about her love for pond hockey. And she described the difference between quality cold ice that we have experienced here in Minnesota for four generations, and the difference between human made ice and the quality of what that's like to skate across it, and the feeling about it. And even though I could not relate to that experience, I've only stepped onto a frozen lake probably once in my life, even though I was born and raised in Minnesota, but I could relate to how much she loved what she was talking about, and the detail that she talked about it in with such affinity. And I think that's what can happen when we tell our stories in a way that really connects to what we care about and what we love, is that we evoke in others, that sort of feeling and sense and it helps them to remember memories and thoughts that maybe they hadn't thought about in a long time.

Larry Kraft  10:58

Jothsna, I liked how you started out by talking that part of the impetus for what you're doing is around climate justice. Can you talk about how that's part of the conversation in your work?

Jothsna Harris  11:08

So sharing our stories is an equitable approach to climate change because we all are experts in our own experiences. And for a long time, the dominant narrative, the mainstream narrative about climate change has been shaped by scientists and people who have expertise, policymakers. And so it has really sent this message that you get to talk about climate change when you are credentialed. And that is problematic in a lot of ways. Now that we know that climate change is in our backyards, we all should feel agency to be part of the climate conversation, and especially those who have been most impacted by climate change, which have been the people that have also been historically excluded from these conversations. Black people, indigenous people, communities of color, people with disabilities, and others with lived experiences, who are bringing a dynamic story about how climate change is showing up on the ground. 

Jothsna Harris  12:22

I work with a lot of people of color leaders on climate change. And what I have realized is that a lot of times the story about climate and frontline communities is one of being a victim. And that has ripple effects for how we feel about ourselves in the world. People want to tell stories about resilience and hope and transformative visions of a bright future and what they are building, solutions that are going forth, ways that they have been fighting. And so these are the stories that are going to shape and build our future. And I feel that I can contribute to lending my gifts and talents to helping people realize these stories and put them out there in the mainstream, and that's part of shifting the narrative that is really the basis of this work that I am doing.

Larry Kraft  13:17

Hence the name Change Narrative. 

Jothsna Harris  13:20

Yes, exactly.

Abby Finis  13:22

Yeah, I think it's so important that you call out the dominant narrative that has been there and and hasn't resonated with people. You know, it hasn't been the thing that gets people on board to push for climate action to vote for climate action. But once people start feeling it once they start hearing these stories from people who are feeling it and seeing it, that seems to be what's resonating with people, and what is bringing a greater call to action. That's so critical for people like you to find those stories, help craft them, and uplift them and bring that to the forefront so that we're not just hearing one perspective, we're hearing from a broad spectrum of voices of people who are impacted.

Larry Kraft  14:12

Hey, we're taking a quick break to say if you like what you're hearing, please support us. You can do so by clicking the Support Us link on our website, at or you can go to our Store and get some cool merch. 

Jothsna Harris  14:28

When I first started working on climate change, I was part of coordinating a series of forums across the state of Minnesota. And each time we started with a climate scientist or meteorologist who would talk about educating people about what climate change is. And it was slide after slide of graphs and data. And I'm working on this issue and I'm seeing like my eyes glaze over when I see these graphs and like so much data in presentations and I thought okay, I just need to go to one more presentation and I'll understand this issue better. But it really took me twelve presentations, for me to feel a little more confident. But I realized that, you know, it's just like we hear when we give a presentation, you should only have a certain amount of words on the page, and then you lose people, you need to have visuals, and you need to have pieces that connect to the heart. 

Jothsna Harris  15:24

For me, hearing people's stories, has brought a balanced picture of what climate change is. Because those facts and data, they only become meaningful, to the extent that they evoke emotion. They only become meaningful when we can place them into context of our lives. That is what I've learned from people's stories is that data is important that is telling the story in a way, but unless we have real people, I can see their face, I can hear their voice, I can hear their voice tremble when they talk about what's important to them. We're really not getting the full picture of the breadth of what climate change is, and the ways that we should all be part of shaping that conversation.

Abby Finis  16:09

Yeah, you spend time with people and helping them find their voice and craft their story. But you also have your own story. Would you mind sharing your story with us?

Jothsna’s story

Jothsna Harris  16:19

Absolutely. It's funny, because I have been working with people throughout my career, to help them craft and find their own stories, but I only recently wrote my own climate story. And it really came when I was in the garden. And it became sort of a meditation and a healing for me. I did not prepare it for anybody at all. And I didn't even know if I would ever share it. But I realized when I look back, so I just started Change Narrative in December, and now we're a few months away from that just I think twelve weeks later. But this story that I wrote in the summer, really formed the entire foundation for the work that I'm doing at Change Narrative. And I didn't realize it at the time, but it set that path in motion. 

Jothsna Harris  17:10

So I will read my climate story for you. It's a written piece and it's called Finding My Place. 

Sometimes I farm in the cool of the night, moonlight illuminating my steps. Surroundings familiar yet transformed by the dark, shadowy silhouettes of the forest, with edges dotted by the glow of fireflies. With senses awake, I breathe in the sweet, earthy air, the sound of spring peepers, a chorus, echoing up from the nearby ravine. 

My grandmother, Dynabai Vasanthraj was a farmer in rural India, but I only learned of that story a few years ago. I imagine her strong and determined standing in the rice fields. I cannot ask her now that she is gone. I learned that she stopped farming when her son, my uncle, drowned at the age of 13 in a well in their village. The trauma and pain were too great. It prompted her to move away, to start a new life, and to not look back. I am certain that there are many stories like this, that I have not known, from those who came before me and that hold clues to the person I am and why it can sometimes feel hard to find my place. 

I have always been hesitant to call myself a farmer. Each spring my husband, Rasheed and I work side by side, preparing the garden beds, working the land, and it is a peaceful bliss. Our children are Black and East Indian, we affectionately call ourselves ‘Blindian.’ I am absolutely certain that we truly are our ancestors' wildest dreams. Neither one of us grew up growing food, but in 2011 our whole family had a chance to learn more through WWOOF (world wide opportunities on organic farms) an exchange program. Where we stayed on 2 organic family farms in Italy. Farming wasn’t the goal but a chance to step outside our comfort zone, to experience something different, to play and see new sights. 

It was in Italy that I learned about the beauty of planting by the moon. One of our hosts, Alessia Bonci, adamantly told me that the gravitational pull of the moon governed plant movement, just as tides in the ocean. That night, we went out on the hillside, and planted carrot seeds in tight rows in the light of the bright full moon. Whether folklore or truth, the pure magic of it stayed with me. 

It was also on this adventure that I felt a discernment to pursue a career transition from Corporate America to work on the climate crisis. 

Now, 10 years later, I stand in the garden, watering new seedlings early in the morning by hand before the intensity of the sun breaks to scorch their tender bodies, but still I am sweating and I notice that the ground is already parched. Since planting this year’s crops, we have experienced a record breaking heat wave, the warmest June in Minnesota history. I worry if our future food will be able to withstand the heat. I wonder what my grandmother worried about, if she prayed for the rains to come. I wonder if she planted by the moonlight, not out of magic but out of necessity. These are the sorts of curious questions that come when I am in the garden. I recently heard that we simultaneously carry the blood of our ancestors and the seeds of future generations. I think about how this is true for every living being. 

Some of the most difficult and rewarding work to be done is to expand understanding of who should be part of the climate conversation, because all of us are connected to the climate crisis. I have often been one of the only people of color in the room in climate change spaces and it has made me want to keep showing up, and in a fierce way - to challenge the idea of who an environmentalist is, and whose stories are told. 

Last year I was at a college campus facilitating the Talk Climate Institute, a 2-day transformative training on building confidence talking about climate change. During a break, a student came up to me and said “I just wanted to tell you that it means the world to me to see someone who looks like me, leading in this work.” It was a moment of awakening for me to realize that I can play an important role to help others to see themselves as climate leaders. 

Finding my place is a process - as it is for all of us, where I (and we) must find the right path over and over again. 

I tend to gravitate toward the voices of artists, musicians, poets and storytellers as teachers to make meaning of the path, to learn from other ways of knowing. I was once told that I bring the flowery elements to climate change engagement. I didn’t take it as a compliment at that time, but since then I have realized that we need the flowers, in fact they are a critical component– they play an essential and dynamic role in our ecosystem. In Sanskrit, my name, Jothsna means Moonlight, and Nalini, my middle name, means Lotus Flower, so I am “Lotus Flower in the Moonlight.” It has taken me 4 decades to understand that I have a unique place in the ecosystem, and that my namesake holds clues of great meaning to who I am. 

Interestingly, the Lotus flower blooms in the most unlikely of places, typically in murky water, literally pushing through mud to bud and grow. Occasionally it blossoms under the moonlight, its translucent petals outstretched and illuminated. It symbolizes new beginnings, strength and feminine energy. 

To plant a seed is both science and art, intuition driven by distant memories from another life, wisdom from ancestors. And so I farm, because for me it is a process of faith - I know that a seed that is planted is only hidden, beneath the soil and out of view for a short while, and with the right care and tending, the new growth will bud and it will be the future food to nourish us.

Abby Finis  24:03

Thank you for sharing that and listening to you and feeling the emotion from your own story just really underscores the importance of the work that you're doing the importance of storytelling and sharing and learning from one another. And personally, I just I really appreciate your voice and in Minnesota and in the climate effort. And I'm so glad that you're working on this and in the space. Thank you for all of that.

Jothsna Harris  24:33

Yeah, you're welcome. I feel like every time I have the opportunity to talk about my own own story, and the reason why I do this work it helps me to build my confidence. And I think all of us are building our climate leadership all the time because none of us have been here before. And none of us know exactly where we're going. But I think that too, is a process of faith that we are shaping this future together, and we all need to grow in our confidence and realize we should all be in this space and telling our most powerful stories.

Abby Finis  25:08

Yeah, I just loved the reflection of it and taking the moment to dig into that and dig into the meaning of your relationship with the soil and the earth and looking back into your ancestry and what does that mean going forward? What does that mean for your kids? That's really powerful. And it's way more than graphs and charts are going to do for us. So thank you.

Storytelling and city action

Larry Kraft  25:32

Yeah, thank you that was so moving. And something you said, in response to Abby there, I also totally agree with. The more you think about your story, evolve it, tell it, share it, right, the more confidence you have in sharing it. I definitely experienced that over time. So I want to ask you, how do you think cities and taking action in cities can use climate stories as tools, engagement tools, around climate action and climate justice?

Jothsna Harris  26:04

I think that's a great question. Because there are really tangible and practical ways to apply your climate story to push for action. I think often, unfortunately, decision makers, I don't know that they realize that their constituents care. And it's really important for us to share our voices and our perspectives, our histories and backgrounds, of why this issue is important to us, and why we can't take less from our elected officials from our decision makers on this issue. And I think when people feel that they have a right to be in the space in public conversations, and it reinforces the need for the work and that, in fact, your constituents who you serve, they care about this issue, and they want to see you taking bold action on it.

Larry Kraft  26:59

Yeah, I used to mentor students as they were taking local action as part of the nonprofit I was involved with. It's really easy when you go before an elected official in our elected body to go right to the facts and figures. And I would always suggest that you start with why you're there, why you care, and form that emotional connection. And so the stuff you're telling absolutely resonates with me, and I've seen it work so many times be much more effective than the facts and figures.

Jothsna Harris  27:33

People remember stories. They may not remember the specifics of your story, but they're gonna remember how you made them feel about it. That's the piece that is so essential in climate work. Because we are not going to get there with the head alone. We also need the heart. When you combine the head and the heart, that is the potential to spark and sustain our action.

Larry Kraft  27:58

Not that you don't need the facts and figures you need that stuff too.

Jothsna Harris  28:02

Absolutely! There's this research point that always sticks with me. And we know that information alone is not enough to change our behaviors. And neuroscientists Antonio Damasio pointed out that information only becomes meaningful to the extent that it evokes emotion. So we need the information. It's clear we need the information. But we also need art and emotion and story as critical translators in this time, because one of the most important roles of scientists are to become storytellers. Because if you have the most powerful, important piece of data, if you don't tell that story in a compelling way to reach people to change their behaviors, then it doesn't become as effective as it it needs to be.

Advice for others

Abby Finis  28:52

What advice do you have ror people who might be searching for their own story or wanting to push climate action within their community? Where do they start?

Jothsna Harris  29:04

I think even for people who are working on climate change all the time don't necessarily know what their climate story is. And that's because we have a grind culture. We're always trying to achieve for more and more and doing more. But it is so important to take time and space to reflect on the reasons why you are connected, to dig back to memories that have informed who you are and why you are doing the things that you're doing. Why you want to see action, what's the future that you are building towards? What are your emotions about it? And when you can just carve out some time even schedule it in your calendar to take that time to write. That is a really important part of it is just taking the time and the space to really reflect on the reasons why you care about it. 

Abby Finis  29:57

Yeah, I don't think that I have taken the time to think about why this is all very important to me and put it through a thought process of why does this makes sense to me? Why do I want to do this? I really appreciate this conversation. And will do my own kind of taking back and thinking through this and...

Larry Kraft  30:18

Abby, you got some homework now.

Abby Finis  30:20

I know, I do. Stop with the grind and dig into some reflection for sure. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your story with us. How can people reach out to you if they're interested in some coaching or workshops?

Climate anxiety and healing

Jothsna Harris  30:37

Well, first of all, I'd love to just say it's been so beautiful to join you both. And we've been in the same circles working on climate change for years. And it's really lovely to reconnect with both of you and to be here talking about this. But people can reach out to me at my website, which is And there you can learn more about the services that I offer, which is more than storytelling, coaching and workshops. 

Jothsna Harris  31:06

I am working with artists collaborators, to provide healing circles, because climate, anxiety and grief are real. And we need opportunities to come together to process through those emotions. And I'm working with Dakota elder Strong Buffalo, who is a musician and poet and also musician and poet, Ben Weaver. And together, we have been hosting these spaces for people to come together to acknowledge the emotions that they feel, which is the first step in talking about the fear and the anger and the sadness. 

Jothsna Harris  31:45

But also in doing that, there's something magical that happens. Ben and  Strong Buffalo use music and poetry to weave between people sharing and we talk about the power of stories. But what happens during that healing circle is that people walk away feeling galvanized, they feel an agency and empowerment that is while they feel connected to other people, that is part of the work that I'm really committed to continuing because this is like an informal way to process through our emotions and meet other people, which is really a critical piece right now for us to all be able to have healthy ways to cope with that. Because none of us can really do our best work on climate if we're not healthy and well.

Abby Finis  32:35

I'm so glad you brought that up, because I'm hearing it more and more and more. And I think that, yeah, the anxiety is growing and emissions are moving in the wrong direction and people who are working on this, if you can't take that break and galvanize yourself and get back in the fight, it's gonna wear us down.

Larry Kraft  32:55

I totally agree with that. Some people when I made the career shift, I wonder if you got this Jothsna too, "Oh you must be so happy that you're working on what you really care about." And like, "Well, I wouldn't say it's happy." I mean, I feel called to do this. But it's a depressing area. Taking the time to make sure you're taking care of yourself. I love what you talked about that this coming together, people come out more galvanized, that's really fantastic.

Jothsna Harris  33:27

One of my advisors for Change Narrative is Dr. Christie Manning at Macalester College. We've been in early conversations about a potential research project about how storytelling is a tool for people to realize their own climate leadership. But in that process, is a way to process through climate anxiety. We're just at the beginning stages of talking about how can we measure the transformative journey that people go on when they learn about their own climate story? And then they start to share it? What that does for them to reinforce their own climate leadership, but also what it does for the listener in acknowledging and processing through climate grief in a way that they come out feeling galvanized and empowered and ready to be sustained in their their continued action.

Larry Kraft  34:20

Great! Thank you again, so much, this has been really wonderful.

Abby Finis  34:26

Thank you so much. 

Abby and Larry debrief

Abby Finis  34:30

Wow, that was a really, really powerful episode. It certainly resonated with me. What are some of your takeaways, Larry?

Larry Kraft  34:39

Yeah, the one thing that sticks in me is Jothsna's story. Planting at night, her name, lotus flower and moonlight pushing up through the murky water, those kinds of emotional connections. That's the biggest thing that will stick with me that I won't forget.

Abby Finis  34:54

Yeah, I love a good story with imagery that helps to evoke that kind of emotion and I think she has done a really, really wonderful job in crafting that story.

Larry Kraft  35:04

Other thing I'll notice when she said climate change is now one in three people have direct connection to it. I think it might be higher than that. I think of what we experienced in Minnesota last summer, we had days where no one was supposed to go outside, because the air quality was so bad, even if you were healthy.

Abby Finis  35:20

Yeah, it's interesting to see some of those maps where surveys are conducted and how people's ideas and opinions about climate change has changed over time. And most Americans understand climate change is happening, but most don't necessarily see it as affecting them. And interestingly, those numbers are even higher in areas that are actually most impacted and going to be most impacted by climate change. I think having this disconnect from reality is not really doing a good service to yourself. And so I think the way that we've been sharing information about climate change obviously hasn't been resonating with people and so having more of these personal stories, should only be beneficial. 

Larry Kraft  36:09

As an elected official now, and going into cities and policies, it can be very easy to get into the weeds. And it's important in this stuff. I mean, I loved her point that it's not just credentialed people here that can have an impact. In fact, I've seen it over and over again, it's the individual with the powerful story and the powerful reason why they're doing it that can really make change. It's emotional connections that make change. So that really resonated with me. 

Abby Finis  36:38

Yeah, I think that's really important. And having a narrative that is dominated by people who are credentialed puts up barriers and doesn't make people feel like they can be a part of a conversation, when that just shouldn't be the case, because nobody will not be impacted by climate change. 

Larry Kraft  36:56

Unfortunately, that is true. 

Abby Finis  36:57

Yeah. It also got me thinking about what is my story? I think I kind of have a bit of a hodgepodge of my own climate story. And I think that it's probably worth sitting down and reflecting on what that is and what it means to me. Because certainly I have been in situations where I hear from community members and hearing the power of those personal testimonies resonates. And I think St. Louis Park is one of those examples for me, and hearing the power of the students who went before Council and kind of laid bare what their concerns are and their passions, and it was really effective.

Larry Kraft  37:36

And it wasn't them telling the council, "Hey, carbon counts are over 350..." It wasn't that it was them saying, "Hey, look! Here's why we care about it. This is our future." It was that emotional connection that just changed the narrative.

Abby Finis  37:54

Yeah, and I do think there's a lot of really positive stories out there. But oftentimes, I feel super negative, and hopeless and depressing. And then sometimes I feel like I'm a climate therapist when I'm working with city staff. And..

Larry Kraft  38:08

Sometimes I feel like I need a climate therapist. 

Abby Finis  38:11

I also need a climate therapist. Yeah, we got to kind of stick to it and keep sharing those stories. I think in in keep sharing that vision for optimism and a better future where we can curb emissions and improve the quality of life for people.

Larry Kraft  38:28

I also think telling your story which goes into is talking about telling your story and being in connection with people getting involved is one of the ways of healing and feeling more positive about what's going on.

Abby Finis  38:39

Yeah, it helps to lean on one another and share that burden. 

Abby Finis  38:46

We hope you enjoyed this episode of City Climate Corner. If you like what you're hearing, make sure to subscribe and give us a review. If you're able, become a monthly supporter through Patreon. As always, you can find more information on this topic and resources from each episode's guests on our webpage If you have an idea for the show, send us an email at or find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Larry Kraft  39:10

City Climate Corner is produced by Abby Finis and me, Larry Kraft. Edited by, me. Our production assistant is Maggie Morin. music by … 

Abby Finis  39:21

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. 

Larry Kraft  39:24

Thanks for listening.

Larry Kraft  39:25

We'll see you next time