Stories matter, but not all stories are created equal.

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There are a lot of things we need in order to face climate change. Individual action and policy change are necessary, but we often overlook the importance of stories. Narratives help us to create meaning, and we are in desperate need of meaning.

Narrative becomes the way you make sense of chaos. That’s how you focus the world. It’s the only reason you should ever try this writing job.

Put simply,

Stories matter.

But of course, not all stories are made…

Climate Change is about much more than cold statistics

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I recently published a post on Medium titled, We Need to Meet Climate Change with Art, but it was only the beginning of what I hope to be a long series of blog posts exploring how we might better make art that addresses the wider issues of climate change.

As I hope you’ve guessed by now, this is one of those posts.

One of art’s most unique roles in addressing climate change is in expressing the wide spectrum of emotions surrounding the climate crisis and allowing us to connect over our shared experience.

For today, I chose to explore 3…

A book for understanding the challenges faced by Western American forests

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When people think of climate change, one of the first things brought to mind is the growing frequency of high severity wildfires. These fires destroy communities, pollute the air, and often decimate our already struggling ecosystems. As a Californian myself, I’ve grown up knowing fires well. However, 2020 was completely unlike any fire season I’ve experienced before.

It’s easy to forget amidst all the other chaos bombarding us last year, but I woke up so many times to the smell of wildfire smoke in my room that I just got numb to it. …

Your next step to understanding modern vaccines

photo by Cameron Catanzano

We stand at a moment of tremendous importance in the history of human medicine. biotechnology companies shattered records last November when they finally submitted results to the CDC and FDA for the approval of multiple novel coronavirus vaccines, and the United States is about to roll out the largest and most aggressive mass vaccination campaign in its history. Furthermore, the current nucleic acid and viral vector COVID19 vaccine platforms are truly cutting edge science and seem likely to dominate vaccine production and development going forward.

Still, the world of public health has recently been hitting major milestones beyond these new…

There’s more here than Call of Duty and Candy Crush.

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It’s been a long time coming, but video games are finally reaching popular recognition as an art form with unique possibilities to positively influence the larger cultural landscape. To be sure, there will always be a market for mindless video games just as much as there is a market for mindless tv and film, but gone are the days when people can dismiss video games as only mindless entertainment.

As I said, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Candy Crush has the power to change our world. Still, no one can deny that there is a…

A Personal Exploration of the Obama-years

Photo by Cameron Catanzano

Joe Biden is president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump is apparently living in an alternate reality, and Between the World and Me is available for streaming on HBO Max. There’s no better time than now to jump back into Ta-Nehisi Coates’s We Were Eight Years in Power.

If there is one unifying focus throughout We Were Eight Years In Power it is to understand and reflect upon the 8 years of Obama’s presidency, but there is more to this book. Coates does not stop at the surface. Truly understanding those 8 years of American history requires diving into the…

Why Environmentalists Need to Rethink Nuclear Energy

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As you are probably well aware, climate change is an existential threat to the future of human civilization. Yet, we shoot ourselves in the foot every day that we try and ignore the importance of nuclear energy to curb this disaster. The science and technology of nuclear fission has developed significantly since the days of the cold war, but misinformation and bad PR continues to hold back the full utilization of nuclear power in our clean energy portfolios.

Maybe this is all news to you, or maybe you watched the Bill Gates documentary and have a positive but surface-level understanding…

Aspiring Environmental Lawyer Exploring Art’s Role Taking on Climate Change

I come from a family of surfers, hikers, and campers. In other words, my childhood is littered with memories of exploring national parks and road-tripping across the desert beaches of Baja California.

But, these trips were always about more than exercise or a shared appreciation for scenic views. Spending time outdoors would eventually become a central part of my identity and even shape my philosophy for what it means to be a human being on planet earth.

A Conventional Symbol Applied to a Novel Problem

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Hot weather — and the many ways we’ve learned to communicate it — has come to play many important roles in our stories. We often use Heat to build a juxtaposition of worlds, communicate a character’s disorientation, or symbolize an unavoidable reality demanding our attention.


Florida Project gives us an example of Heat’s visual juxtaposition turned towards the film’s larger class critique. In Florida Project, we spend the whole movie focused on a motel community caked in constant Florida-style sweat, all while living next to the dream-like Disney World.

The one time I distinctly remember characters without such apparent sweat…

Two very different films taking their stab at a very important issue.

Photo by Myke Simon on Unsplash

This post was originally part of a larger post looking critically at how common themes of climate change have been finding their way into popular films. However, that post was getting LONG, and I decided to cut these movies out for a part-2 of sorts.

In the original post, I split these common Hollywood narratives into 2 main groups: Apocalyptic Dystopias and Climate Conscious Bad Guys, but in today’s post, I will be exploring 2 films that don’t fit neatly into either category.

If you haven’t read the first post yet, I highly recommend checking it out before you read…

Cameron Catanzano

Reader, Writer, and Environmental Law Student in Portland, Oregon.

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