Beyond Despair: Narrating the Environment through the Humanities

A photo of two hands cradling a bird


As part of its larger public engagement initiative, the National Humanities Center (NHC) proposes the creation of an eight-episode podcast series that focuses on critical environmental issues and the role the humanities can play in understanding and galvanizing action. Members of the Story+ team are tasked with creatively engaging with this theme to create one or two proof-of-concept pilot(s) for the series by the end of the project. Possible areas of focus might include: the environmental impact of war, water use, human health and the environment, environmental justice, and changing politics around land ownership, stewardship, and conservation. Working closely with NHC staff and its leadership, undergraduate and graduate members of this Story+ team will be involved in all aspects of the project, from story conception to the production and distribution of the pilot episode(s). They will have access to a rich archive of NHC source materials and will be encouraged to source additional audio from local, national, and international voices to frame compelling podcast stories for the general public. Stories might focus on the global or the very local to explore how scientific and humanistic understandings of climate change can intersect to take on the challenge of addressing environmental challenges beyond simple narratives of inaction and despair.