By some research estimates, 98 percent of climate and environmental reporting is negative. Climate stories tend to focus on the overall issue and impact by explaining climate science or consequences. Very few focus on action or offer examples of what successful and inspiring collective climate action looks like.
Psychologists have been studying how stories about climate change affect people. They tell us that the doom and disaster narratives that dominate newsfeeds often lead us to withdraw, shut down and feel isolated. Stories about climate solutions and actions do the opposite. Narratives and art that center solutions, introduce us to everyday climate heroes, and showcase the joy discovered through community engagement often lead to feelings of agency and possibility.
The “Climate Stories in Action” series will expand our vision of climate activism and help people imagine meaningful ways to be involved. We are inviting storytellers to submit poetry, nonfiction, fiction, art and multimedia pieces that showcase climate activism in professional, civic and community life. We are interested in stories that help shift our cultural mindset from despair to creative possibility and from isolation to collective purpose.
We welcome submissions about how being a part of this critical climate movement can help us live better, more meaningful, lives. We are interested in stories that help us dream about what is possible, that bring to life why collective action matters, and that inspire people to find or redefine their roles in the climate movement.
This groundswell of new climate stories—narratives and art that people can see themselves in—is essential to building the collective response needed at this hingepoint for humans and the planet.
Submission Period and Payment
Priority submission deadline is April 8, 2024, at midnight. Notifications will be made beginning in May 2024.
From those submitted, a review committee will select 12 pieces for publication in the “Climate Stories in Action” series.
All contributions will receive $200. There is no entry fee to submit.
The selected works will be published in Terrain.org beginning in May 2024 and announced via Terrain.org and the Spring Creek Project.
Terrain.org is partnering with the Spring Creek Project on this new series. The Spring Creek Project brings together the practical wisdom of environmental science, the clarity of philosophy, and the transformational power of the written word and the arts to envision just and joyous relations with the planet and with one another. The organization hosts events and residencies throughout the year. Its team helped develop this call for submissions in conjunction with its upcoming 2024 lecture series, “Collective Climate Action: Inspired Organizing for Our Future.”
Original, previously unpublished submissions will be considered for the following genres. You are welcome to submit pieces in more than one genre, but do not submit more than two submissions until you have heard back from us.
Please include a cover letter containing your brief bio with your submission, and indicate whether your submission is poetry, nonfiction, fiction, art, video, or mixed media/genre/hybrid in the cover letter.
- Poetry need not follow any particular form. Submit from one to six poems of any length in a single document. We also consider poem/image combinations. Photos or other graphics may be inserted into the document, but if accepted will be requested as separate files.
- Nonfiction may include creative nonfiction, personal essays/memoir, photo essays, and other essays or articles, which need not follow any particular style. Accompanying resource links, graphics, and sidebars are encouraged. Photos or other graphics may be inserted into the document, but if accepted will be requested as separate files. 5,000 words maximum.
- Fiction including short stories, excerpts from unpublished novels, flash fiction, and other forms of fiction will be considered. 5,000 words maximum.
- Art may include photographs, drawings, paintings, graphics, and/or any other visual media. Submit up to 12 images, graphics, or visual art pieces per entrant with overall project title and captions/descriptions, as appropriate.
- Multimedia and mixed genre submissions include video/film, audio, or other work not included in the genres detailed above. Video submissions should be no more than 5 minutes long. Given the size of video and/or audio files, please post the submission on Vimeo, YouTube, Google Docs, Box, or Dropbox and share the link with your cover letter.
Submittable is now requiring email validation. If you have difficulty validating your email, you may complete the form at www.submittable.com/help/submitter. Unfortunately, Terrain.org cannot assist with any technical support issues related to email validation (or using Submittable in general).