Green Tease with BBC The Social: How to make engaging environmental content

8th of February 2023 BBC The Social and Creative Carbon Scotland ran a workshop on creating video content about climate change, how to raise awareness, cut through the noise and engage people. 

BBC The Social is a talent development project at BBC Scotland. They work with new content creators from all across Scotland and have helped develop people’s skills to get media industry jobs and also helped them develop content for the BBC Scotland channel, iPlayer and beyond. They work with new creators and publish their content on social and digital channels and people get paid when their content is published. Read more here. 

At this Green Tease event BBC The Social were looking for the next generation of passionate creators who make compelling content about the climate crisis and have real impact. Here’s a collection of their previous content on the environment. First Ryan Pasi, Content Producer, BBC The Social, introduced BBC the Social and the challenge of making engaging content on climate. Some of the biggest challenges he pointed out were that people when confronted with the climate crisis easily can feel disempowered, and overwhelmed and it can feel like something distant. 

Communicating the climate crisis in different ways 

The main speaker of the evening, Christina Sinclair shared her journey from a BBC the Social contributor to an Assistant Producer with the Natural History Unit on Frozen Planet II’s digital campaign. She focused on her own learnings on how to make engaging environmental content. The key message was that today everyone is aware of climate change but the perceptions of it vary: no one piece is going to engage everyone on climate, so the more diverse content the better.  

For Frozen Planet, they have created a range of pieces to reach different audiences. Some of their videos call for a sense of urgency by sharing powerful imagery of climate disasters and emotive stories from people who are impacted. Others invite people to reflect upon our connection to nature by, for example, inviting indigenous people to share their knowledge. Finally, they produce videos that focus on hope and inspiration to tackle climate change, which are just as important as the ones that communicate urgency. Finally, she gave her top tips on communicating the climate crisis.  

Top three tips in communicate the climate crisis 

  1. Knowing your audience 

The most important tip is to tailor your content to your audience. People’s perceptions, experiences, feelings and knowledge of climate vary and so should the content. The first step should therefore always be to find information on the audience such as demographic, geographic, lifestyle, and interests. The better you can identify the interest of your audience, the better the content you can create to engage them.  

  1. Be creative 

Content on climate does not have to be about science or environmental impacts. We need to have conversations about all aspects of our life. Christina Sinclair’s advice is to be creative and think about any aspect of your life and then connect it to climate change. She also encourages people to be creative about formats. Think of comedy, cooking, dancing or other creative elements to start the conversation.  

  1. Focus on what matters to you  

Choose a topic you are passionate about. If it matters to you, it will shine through. So whether it’s food, theatre, sport, oceans, travel… make content on that.  

Pitching ideas 

After Christina Sinclair’s presentation people went into breakout groups to create ideas for a short video on climate. When people came back, they pitched their idea to BBC The Social. One was about finding inspiration in what granny would do because older generations often lived a lot more sustainably and another was about eco-anxiety and creating community. If you are interested in reading more about BBC The Social you can read more here. 

About Green Tease 

The Green Tease events series and network is a project organised by Creative Carbon Scotland, bringing together people from arts and environmental backgrounds to discuss, share expertise, and collaborate. Green Tease forms part of our culture/SHIFT programme. 

Submit an idea to the Green Tease Call for Collaborators 

The Green Tease Call for Collaborators is a funded opportunity for artists, cultural and environmental sustainability organisations to co-organise an event with us and contribute to the development of the Green Tease network. Find out more and submit your ideas for a Green Tease event.

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