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. The new video – a parody of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit “Thrift Shop” – is about both climate change and consumer choices that save energy and money, featuring cameos by Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and several other prominent Pittsburghers working on sustainability issues. Viewers can RSVP for the party at the event watch page.
“Throughout this Earth Day event we intend stay true to our mission to engage and empower people on climate change,” says Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Communitopia’s new president, “The consequences of climate change are far-reaching and serious, and we’re diligent about reporting the science. But we also always do our best to inspire and engage viewers, and humor is a great way to do that. ” Humor is a hallmark of Communitopia’s main project, the 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.
“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.”