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Rhythm and Glue

We are building a coalition to produce an effective media platform for climate change mitigation by applying entertainment-education protocols for the first time with sustainability topics to mainstream American audiences. To provide an example of what a narrative approach to climate communication could look like, we’ve drafted an example, Rhythm and Glue. The story emphasizes personal and collective efficacy, including layered examples of how climate change is already affecting health for Americans. The program improves perceptions of how climate change is already affecting the health of Americans.

In the serial comedy-drama, Rhythm and Glue, two female twenty-somethings in Los Angeles humorously grow into adults as they learn to collaborate, sharing their skill sets to build a better city. Slapstick, romantic entanglements, and career advancement anchor the story, while real-time audience participation drives engagement with climate topics. Audience participation facilitates engagement, building a fan base and increasing the capacity in existing climate mitigation programs. Each season presents an overarching climate change issue. Season One tackles transportation and the current health effects of climate change, with subsequent seasons addressing; energy, water, food and waste.

This is the first sustainability themed entertainment-education project in the US. The show highlights the day-to-day realities of climate change facing residents of the United States – and presents and role models realistic solutions and behaviors that citizens can take to mitigate those effects, for themselves and their communities. It has profound implications for science and environmental communication and measurable results. My collaborators include Population Media Center, the international leaders in developing entertainment-education, with academic evaluation. Population Media Center’s highly successful Sabido methodology to pro-social drama creation will be adapted and applied for this project. This approach was used to create the hit show East Los High, as well as several dozen pro-social dramas in other countries. Population Media Center’s approach consistently generates massive loyal audiences which become motivated to adopt the positive behaviors and attitudes modeled by characters in the shows. This set of tools that has proven successful to public health interventions will be applied to climate change mitigation.

One of the components of this project that sets Rhythm and Glue apart from other climate related content is interactivity with its audience, where audience input shapes the story conflicts and resolutions. Real-time audience participation facilitates a national conversation about how we can collaborate to mitigate climate change. As an entertainment product, the show provides a model for transitioning sustainable urban transportation internationally and a model for facilitating a national conversation with a variety of stakeholder perspectives.

Using a innovative narrative comedy approach, Rhythm and Glue motivates positive social change. Project advisors, Max Boykoff and Ed Maibach both recently advocated a narrative comedy approach to communicating climate change in a New York Times article. Comedy empowers communities into action and broadens participation for audiences who are not yet active participates in climate change mitigation.

This comprehensive media platform connects viewers with a network of non-profit organizations supporting the actionable behaviors that the audience can take locally to mitigate climate change. Content creation is advised by a team of subject experts and iterative research. We are confident that a popular comedy-drama with these elements and approach can dramatically improve and increase climate change mitigation efforts internationally.

For for information please contact:
Emily Coren, Executive Producer

Associated Members

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture