There’s a new name in environmental communication with an unusual approach to climate change education: humor. Communitopia, a nonprofit that uses video and new media to reach viewers, is hosting a virtual party from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on April 24, two days after Earth Day. The event will include giveaways, special guests, behind-the-scenes footage, and the release of a new music video parody. The new video is about climate change and energy-and-money-saving consumer choices, featuring cameos by Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and several other prominent Pittsburghers working on sustainability issues (including your friendly neighborhood Sustainability Salon hosts).
The video release party is coming as the organization reintroduces itself to members with a new name and several new faces. “Through this re-launch of Communitopia, we’re renewing our commitment to inspiring grassroots climate engagement and action,” said board member and veteran environmental filmmaker Mark Dixon. “It’s an exciting time, and we can’t wait to get working on many new ways to engage audiences.”
“Rather than try to get people to act by focusing on the many serious and depressing consequences of climate change,” says Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Communitopia’s new president, “we’re confident we can engage and empower more people more effectively by using humor.” Humor is a hallmark of Communitopia’s main project, the newly-acquired Don’t Just Sit There - Do Something! video series that stars Portlock performing as a wide range of characters. Each video discusses a short topic about climate change, incorporating science, news, humor, and easy actions for viewers to take. The new music video is the 18th in the series, but the first to be produced under the Communitopia banner.
As they are released, more details about the event can be found at communitopia.org. One thing is for sure; the conversation about climate change just got a bit brighter.
“It doesn’t make sense to try to depress people into action, and we urgently need climate action,” says Portlock. “Therefore, we’re pretty serious about the silly.”
Communitopia is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment and engagement of the public in meaningful climate action. Through new media and project-based campaigns, we work to slow climate change and create healthier communities by identifying, researching, and advocating for individual, community, and federal solutions to reduce pollution and improve community resilience. We are helping lay the foundation for the climate-friendly, energy-independent society of tomorrow.