EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The four levels of environmental storytelling

Shahzad Gani
Shahzad Gani

In the face of major environmental issues such as climate change, air pollution, and biodiversity loss, communication of relevant expertise and experiences is extremely important. However, we also need to reflect on the scope, biases, limitations, and outright absences of the stories and storytellers. I propose a framework in which we consider four levels of environmental storytelling: (1) what stories are told? (e.g., funding agency priorities, editorial decisions), (2) whose stories are told? (people affected by theme selected, e.g., geography, race, socio-economic factors, gender), (3) who gets to tell the stories? (storytellers: journalists, communicators, scientists; their expertise and lived experience), and (4) what is the audience for the stories? (e.g., language, platform, jargon level, cost). By commission or omission, all these factors are part of the storytelling. All storytelling, including science communication, can become richer by reflecting on these multiple levels of storytelling.

I am developing this storytelling framework by drawing from my experience of hosting the Atmospheric Tales podcast ( — a podcast which is now in its third year and features guests and interviewers from around the world with expertise and experiences on diverse themes related to climate change and air pollution including science, policy, advocacy, activism, etc.

How to cite: Gani, S.: The four levels of environmental storytelling, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13106,, 2022.