‘The Science Is Clear’: Why the Climate Crisis Needs New Narratives

April 6, 2021 at 12:30 pm ESTApril 6, 2021 at 12:30 pm EST

To counter climate denialism, new narratives are needed. For decades, the dominant story about global warming has leveraged scientific interpretations of historical data and statistical modeling to tell apocalyptic stories about what will happen—or what is already happening—if societies fail to act: more catastrophic storm events, larger wildfires, hotter summers and rising seas. These stories are grounded in both scientific fact and observable reality. But they have proven inadequate to not only the challenge of communicating environmental science in the context of anti-science but also the need to speak to diverse and often divergent experiences of the climate crisis. This talk will identify alternatives to the data-driven doomsday story of climate change.

Talking Trash Book Response

May 28, 2020May 28, 2020
UCLA (via Zoom)

An online discussion of Maite Zubiaurre's 2019 book Talking Trash: Cultural Uses of Waste with Allison Carruth and Charlene Villaseñor-Black.

Nature by design

November 18, 2019November 18, 2019
Princeton University

Proposals to revive and reintroduce extinct species—known as de-extinction—garner outsize attention in discussions of biodiversity loss and climate adaptation. “Nature by Design” compares the scientific literature and popular science around de-extinction as it has been envisioned in the U.S. and considers its complicated relationship to the discourse of rewilding cities, farmlands, forests and parks.

Life After Earth

October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
Princeton University

The 2019 Anschutz Distinguished Fellow lecture, this talk connected twentieth-century engineered transformations of the California landscape to past and ongoing proposals for extraterrestrial engineering, and examined the assumptions underlying real-world and speculative world-building projects.

KCET Environmental Film Festival

April 21, 2018April 21, 2018
Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica

This annual film festival organized by KCET/SoCal PBS featured two documentary shorts produced by UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS), alongside four feature films and a premier of KCET's 2018 season of “Earth Focus.”

LENS Program at Earth Now/Earth 2050

October 20, 2016October 20, 2016
UCLA Luskin Conference Center

From public policy to installation art, this conference explored all facets of modern environmental challenges and highlights efforts to make lives and businesses more sustainable. It served as the debut of the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS).

Play the LA River Launch

September 13, 2014September 13, 2014
Los Angeles River Center
Synopsis At the annual Artwalk in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Atwater Village, the Project 51 team launched the Play the LA River project and released the project’s free card deck guide to the river. The public event drew several hundred participants for a day of performances, art making, games and river exploration. The launch kicked off a year of public programming along the fifty-one [...]


November 21, 2013November 21, 2013
Washington State University Bread Lab

Presentation about movement known as bioart to plant scientist community at Washington State University's Bread Lab, with a focus on agricultural and culinary artistic experiments.

Aspen Ideas Festival

July 2, 2012July 2, 2012
Aspen Institute

A conversation about the future of cities, food and work, with Allison Carruth, Layla Janah, Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley. An "Inspiring Innovators" plenary session at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival.

Food Justice Conference

February 19-21, 2011February 19-21, 2011
University of Oregon

The 2011 Food Justice Conference shared research from a wide range of disciplines, built opportunities for collaboration, and connected Oregon food and agriculture communities to national and international groups. Participants included policymakers, nonprofit leaders, farmers, and artists as well as scholars in anthropology, literary and cultural studies, law, ethics, environmental studies, plant genetics, soil sciences, geography, sociology, agriculture, marine biology, and visual art.