Livia Firth then joined actress, model and activist Lily Cole, director, producer and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and Duncan Macmillan, playwright and director, in a lively discussion chaired by Jess about the creative industry and climate change, drawing on their own experiences. Here are just a few takeaways from the session.
Strike a balance between science and storytelling
At a time when (what can frequently seem to be) overwhelming statistics are coming at us thick and fast, finding stories and narratives that can turn those numbers into meaningful forms and relatable connections is crucial. In 2014, the “dramatised lecture” 2071 opened at The Royal Court Theatre; written by Duncan with climate scientist Chris Rapley, the play was very scientific and fact-focused. “People were so cross that we took the emotion out of it,” he said, a point echoed by Lily who said she has feelings of “anxiety, hypocrisy, guilt” at the same time as feeling “energised and optimistic.” Unlike science’s primary modes of communication - which are stacked with statistics and driven by analysis - creative forms (be it film, poetry, dance) are not only better placed to grapple with such myriad emotional experiences but are often, in fact, motivated by them.
Listen to and follow the next generation
Duncan observed that for those who are taking the lead from younger generations at the forefront of climate campaigns, “despair doesn’t seem to be an option.” Recognising his advantageous social position as a cisgender, white, middle class, able-bodied male, Duncan said that he is still working out how to use those privielges positively and with responsibility, stressing that the emerging young voices in the creative industries are the ones that we should really be listening to.