Do we need to repeat it? Global warming is the major problem facing the future of humanity. The citizens of the world are well aware of this. And yet, the subject does not inflame the masses, who have been monopolized by other issues (like the economy, jobs, security, etc.). Is it too technical, too political, too abstract, too guilt-riddled or too alarming? Information about our planet has a hard time getting through. This is why journalist and blogger Anne-Sophie Novel launched Place to B, a two-week event from November 28 to December 12, alongside COP 21, precisely to reinvent the way we talk about climate change.
600 modern-day storytellers together in a youth hostel
How can we speak more clearly about climate issues, without causing anxiety?
“I was in Copenhagen in 2009 when I realized it was hard to talk about these issues and be heard,” recalls this Doctor of Economics, a specialist in the collaborative economy. “With Place to B, we are taking advantage of COP 21 to collectively test alternate ways of discussing these topics. How can we speak more clearly about climate issues, without causing anxiety? How can we rebuild the link between the general public and these subjects? Starting with these questions, we set ourselves a marvelous challenge: to push the front lines forward through the force of narrative.” This collective of climate narrators brought artists, journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, photographers, climate change experts, software developers, writers, graphic designers and film-makers together for two weeks of workshops, meetings, partnerships and working groups, concentrated in Paris, but also in other parts of France and abroad. As a result, 600 people stayed at St Christopher’s Inn youth hostel near the Gare du Nord train station for 15 days. A “joyous hive” where they were able to work in the Creative Factory, “a narrative factory producing alternative ways to tell the climate story,” says Ophélia Nour, a journalist and co-creator of this fab lab.
Daily shows broadcast live and via streaming
Among other facilities, the narrators had access to a radio studio, a TV platform and a co-working space. Thanks to digital technologies, Place to B’s message was broadcast far and wide, namely through its « Place to Brief », a daily show running from 6 to 8 pm. The show was recorded each evening on Place to B’s main stage, so that it would be accessible to an on-site audience and via streaming. It was a time for discussions, with a daily summary of the COP 21 negotiations, a conversation with public figures, artistic performances and topical debates. For example, the December 5 broadcast was dedicated to the oceans, a key element in the fight against global warming, run in partnership with Surfriders (a global non-profit in charge of protecting and promoting lakes, rivers, oceans, waves and coastlines), Tara Expedition (a boat for the environment) and the Ocean & Climate Platform (an alliance of associations and research institutes united to save the oceans).
There was a lot of emotion and a special sort of energy. The work that we did here needs to continue. Our goal now is to launch something for the future. Anne-Sophie Novel
With the initial reports now in, Anne-Sophie Novel wears a broad smile on her face: “Unparalleled enthusiasm radiated from the participants, whatever their nationality or age,” she observes. “There was a lot of emotion and a special sort of energy. The work that we did here needs to continue. Our goal now is to launch something for the future.”
Photo © : Place to B