Stories that change the future

We are at a critical point in the history of our planet. As we emerge from the pandemic, presented with a unique opportunity to ‘build back better’, it is crucial to provide a platform for impactful environmental stories that motivate, as well as agitate, says Lisa Rose, Head of Impact at WaterBear Network.


Stories can make or break the world. We are at a turning point in history where the most popular stories we tell each other will determine what happens next.

The only way to inspire the scale of collective action needed to save our planet is through shifting mindsets and the narratives that dominate our destructive culture.

Recently we have seen how detrimental fake stories can be. They can change election results or result in violent uprisings.


But real stories can inspire and motivate millions to fight for a better future.


We are engulfed by negative news of our rapidly deteriorating planet as our attention is pulled from one crisis to another and rather than looking forward to a future full of opportunities, our children are now suffering from eco anxiety.

We are in desperate need of transformational stories that not only alert humanity of the need to act but ignite a mainstream movement to fight for environmental justice. It is far too late to leave it up to the environmentalists — we need to get all hands on deck and simply sounding alarms will not achieve this.

The American civil rights movement was not galvanised by shocking facts. Rosa Parks refusing to give her bus seat to a white man was the powerful story, which led to the rise of an entire movement that the US government could no longer ignore.


Over the past decade, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the level of attention given to environmental issues.


Awareness has most certainly been raised but the challenge in front of us now is to inspire enough people, including our governments, to act.

At WaterBear, we believe in the power of impactful stories that motivate as well as agitate. Our mission is to create and amplify these stories and use their power to drive action that supports life on Earth.

Stories like last year’s winner of the OWM Environmental Impact Award, Silent Forests.

This moving portrait of the conservationists and activists struggling to stop elephant poaching in Africa’s Congo Basin region, educated and engaged audiences all over the world. Raising much needed support for groups dedicated to ending the forest elephant poaching epidemic before it’s too late.

As we emerge from the Covid crisis we have a chance to ‘build back better’ that we can’t afford to waste. We desperately need more excellent media makers and smart story creators, especially from the global south, and we should spotlight and support them as much as we can.

Everyone at WaterBear feels incredibly lucky to be sponsoring the Environmental Impact Award this year as we are on the lookout for amazing talent and transformational stories that can inspire action and change the future.


By Lisa Rose, Head of Impact at WaterBear

WaterBear, sponsors of the OWM Environmental Impact Award, is a new digital storytelling platform dedicated to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals together with a network of over 90 highly effective NGOs.