Inspiring Action through Storytelling on Earth Day 2019 - Digital Promise

Inspiring Action through Storytelling on Earth Day 2019

April 22, 2019 | By

Each year on April 22, millions of people around the world come together to demonstrate their support for environmental protection. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, these actions have taken many forms, from advocacy to direct action to storytelling.

This year, in observance of Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species, we’re sharing a story from students at Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas. “Myrtle’s Waste-FULL Life,” screened at the UN General Assembly as part of the first MY World 360° playlist, drops viewers into the point of view of Myrtle, an endangered sea turtle surrounded by plastics and other harmful debris that has swept into her underwater habitat. Watch the film below:

Prior to creating the film, the student producers at Churchill High School experienced the impact of Hurricane Harvey on their coastline. After seeing the impact of pollution and debris on their beaches, they saw MY World 360° as a unique opportunity to leverage 360° media to share a firsthand point of view of the impact.

After considering various story ideas, they landed on the idea of a turtle named Myrtle serving as their protagonist. The team 3D-printed their props, including a flock of sea turtles, and then spent their summer break storyboarding and shooting their video.

Churchill High School students painting their 3D printed film props. (Photo courtesy of Robin Morriss)

From Empathy to Action

Following the film’s screening at the UN General Assembly, the UN SDG Action Campaign team screened the MY World 360° playlist for another global audience of activists and decision-makers at COP24, a climate action event in Poland. Watch MY World 360° and Myrtle’s story in the recording from 20:17 – 27:00.

As Marta Rojas of the UN SDG Action Campaign shared with attendees at the event, “360° and immersive media is a powerful tool to create a better understanding of the issues we don’t experience directly ourselves and to create greater empathy. It’s also a very engaging tool that young people want to experiment with. […] It’s a strong participatory tool and adds people’s voices to the conversation and connects them with decision-makers.”

Watch the video of “Myrtle’s Waste-FULL Life” to see the students’ perspective of the negative impact of waste on the natural environment. As Alyssa, one of the youth producers of the film, explains, “You never know how big an issue is unless you see it from the perspective of the ones who live through it everyday.”

For more on what you can do to help, visit the Earth Day Network’s Protect Our Species resources, including What You Can Do to Help Protect Sea Turtles.

Ready to become a MY World 360° creator?

The next MY World 360° playlist will be released on May 2 at the UN Global Festival of Action in Bonn, Germany. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for updates and resources to get involved with MY World 360°.

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