Solutions Stories: An Innovative Strategy for Managing Negative Physical and Mental Health Impacts from Extreme Weather Events

  • Emily CorenEmail author
  • Debra L. Safer
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Health impacts from extreme weather events have massive, deleterious effects on our communities. Plots from mankind’s long history of storytelling cannot help us prepare for the unprecedented environmental shifts we are experiencing. Dystopian plots focusing on a catastrophic future caused by climate change often immobilize rather than spur action. Despite over a half-century of evidence that science and health communication strategies, including entertainment-education, can effectively change human behavior, such strategies are rarely applied by our contemporary entertainment or media industries. Tools from social psychology, including social modeling and building self and collective efficacy, can help us to create a new model for current, culturally-relevant stories that can help communities prepare for extreme events. These “solution stories” are hopeful, funny stories that effectively teach climate change adaptation, mitigation, and resilience strategies. Solution stories are set in the present day and frame climate solutions to feel “easy, fun and popular.” Up-to-date research on adaptation, mitigation, and resilience strategies can be iteratively utilized in these stories to better equip communities to manage climate change disasters and lessen harmful physical and mental health impacts. An example of a potential climate communication solution story, “Rhythm and Glue,” is provided. In summary, solution stories are an innovative management strategy for substantially improving preparedness and, hence, health outcomes among communities facing extreme weather events caused by climate change.


Entertainment-education Comedy Science communication Social physiology Climate mitigation and adaptation Efficacy Social modeling Solutions stories Climate fiction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science CommunicatorSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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