4 min read

Sustainable food, the French connection, and climate storytelling

Learn the climate influence aspects in better communicating food systems transition, which cities/leaders are doing biking/livability well, and how to learn how Hollywood does climate storytelling.
Sustainable food,  the French connection, and climate storytelling
Photo by François-Xavier Chamoulaud / Unsplash

Welcome back to the climate influence newsletter. This week's links/topics: We desperately need a food systems shift away from animal agriculture, and figuring out how to communicate that is key. Global leaders also talk a lot about a "just transition" in energy. Why not emphasize a just transportation shift away from car culture - and make used eBikes more accessible? And, I know a lot of climate advocacy nonprofits think about better storytelling, so how about learning to do it better, but directly from entertainment industry leaders? And, last, but should maybe have been first (?), I re-share my 1-minute (video) climate influence explainer. The time is NOW for more people with influence to identify and use theirs. Thanks for reading!

Communicating better about the climate influence of a food shift is critical. The recent (May 2022) UNEP, WWF, Globescan and One Planet Network webinar was excellent. One point they made that resonated (and that is not leveraged enough) had to do with perceptions of social norms. "Information is more influential when it is combined with a motivational goal or if it emphasizes social norms." My argument has long been that we have not yet understood how to leverage cultural, political and corporate "influencers" enough to shape social norms.  (See the presentation PDF here.)

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Upway, a Paris-based startup that sells secondhand electric bikes, raised $25m in Series A funding from Exor Seeds and Sequoia Capital.

All I can say is, wise investment, Exor Seeds and Sequoia Capital! Has anyone else noticed the French connection in forwarding livable cities and proving how well bikes/ebikes fit into that mix? Here's what I see: It started during COP21 with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. She has been notably leading in the C40 #cities4climate effort and in what I'm watching through my global #Bikes4Climate lens, ever since. Every other day (it seems), she's in the news for smart 15-minute, sustainable, livable, city thinking and policies (oh yes - she is also seen riding a bike herself. Take note). You'd think U.S. mayors might want a piece of all the "naming and faming" she gets, in addition to a city with way more everyday cyclists! The French (speaking) connection continues in last mile delivery: I've been plotting the North American urban cyclelogistics movement with the leading strategic advisor in the sector, Sam Starr, for several years now. He introduced me to Montreal-based Coop Carbone (the nonprofit he's now part of) and pointed me to what the city of Montreal has been up to with their bike infrastructure development. (Worth note: Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is another incredible leader. French, women, leading - coincidence?)  Now, we see the Paris-based Upway boldly leading in a global transportation sector that has been in dire need of ways to make eBikes more accessible. The French Connection is real. U.S. political leaders, micro-mobility brands and big climate thinkers need to get out of their old-thinking, pedal their talk, and step it UP.

Home | Hollywood Climate Summit
Designed to educate and activate young entertainment professionals and college students about climate change, the ClimateSummit will bring the brightest minds from entertainment and advocacy together through practical tools and inspirations.

Speaking of climate influence (as I often am...), there's an event you should know about and a community of true climate influencers you should get better attuned to: the amazing writers, producers, content creators, musicians and artists who work in the entertainment/culture sectors.  YEA! Impact is the agency behind the upcoming Hollywood Climate Summit (a lot of it is virtual). The theme this year is climate storytelling. One of the presenters is Eco Tok, which is 19 eco-focused content creators, providing free educational content for their collective following of over 3 million people. Aren't a lot of us in climate advocacy always wondering how to be better communicators and how to reach younger, more diverse audiences?  

For those who want the one-minute version of what I mean by climate influence, see this "Big Little Talk" I did for a recent Greenbiz VERGE event (a do-not-miss event for any in my transportation and food systems shift communities). Bottomline: we need more people with political and corporate influence (mayors, CEOs etc.) to themselves live the change they speak of, to build trust with their stakeholders around their policies and intentions. We no longer have time to hope that nonprofit-run, consumer-facing campaigns will be able to spur the huge cultural shift we need in the few years we have, according to the IPCC. We must change leadership social norms.

***For more on me, my recent links can be found on my Linktr.ee. I regularly share insights, articles and commentary via my Twitter feed. I've launched the Living Change: Stories About Climate Leadership podcast (ping me if you're interested in talking sponsorships). If you want to partner with me to develop an intimate Climate Influence rooftop dinner during ClimateWeek NYC, be in touch - or find me at the Hollywood Climate Summit.***