Green Shift: Life is complicated. So tell simple stories

Simple stories help us understand.

The more complex your issue is, the more you need a simple story.

Which might be why Storytelling is so hot in Sustainability communications right now.

As well it should be.

Climate change is the quantum physics, the Abolitionist Movement, the Moon Shot of our time.

Think it can’t be done? Einstein and Lincoln figured out how to boil things down for their audiences.

Even with outlandishly complicated topics. Think E=mc2. And Lincoln’s second inaugural.

So did President Kennedy:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Notice how simple they are?

And yes, I know that life is complicated and sometimes there’s more than one right answer. I get that.

That’s precisely why it’s all the more important that we tell the most important stories simply.

So people know why something is important, how they are part of it, and what they should do.

Simple stories pass the gut check. People can tell that you are telling the truth. (Liars use simple stories too, but that’s another post.)

If you want to learn about really good Sustainability storytelling, check out the creative people at Story of Stuff. Here’s their story:

Changing the way we make, use, and throw away Stuff so that we have a happier and healthier planet.

I heart the heck out of this twitpic they posted recently:

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Simple, right?

Story of Stuff  is powered by storytelling firm Free Range,who I heard at the NYC Greenbiz Forum earlier this month.

This is Free Range’s story:

Great stories make great things possible.

Couldn’t agree more. They ran a workshop where we were all encouraged to come up with our own story.

Here’s mine (in process):

Writing for a bluer, greener world.

When you can tell a very simple story, you know who you are, and why you are here.

What’s yours?