“Telling Our Stories: Creating Green Communities” is a project that trains grassroots organizations to collect stories about climate-friendly activities happening in their communities.
The project involves member organizations from the Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA) and the Energy Action Network (EAN). Throughout the project, staff at The Field Museum’s ECCo is working closely with CCA and EAN member organizations to develop their skills as story collectors. They do this through workshops, tool sharing, and personal mentoring. Building on what they learned from their communities, CCA and EAN leaders are creating projects to address climate change and other environmental issues.
Stories collected by the following partner organizations are featured in this website: Casa Michoacan and Indo-American Heritage Museum (CCA members); BROCK, Fernwood and God’s Gang (EAN members).
Stories are an essential part of the human experience. Through stories, relationships are built, meaning is made, and communities are created. That’s why we at the Field Museum believe that listening to people’s stories is an essential step in creating green communities.
Learning and applying storytelling techniques strengthened the social capital of our community partners, who said that gathering stories has improved their understanding of community concerns and resources. “The big beneficiary in this whole process has been me,” said Gabriela Mendoza of Casa Michoacan, adding that storytelling has developed her skills as a community organizer. “I’ve discovered another part of myself, I’ve learned so much,” she said, “One thing I’ve learned is that people in Pilsen are already doing a lot. Now when people come to me for help, I can tell them about all of these existing community resources.”
Similarly, Modhurima Mukherjee of IAHM shared that she has a deeper understanding of the community as a result of her experiences collecting stories. Just as importantly, she said, the merchants and residents that she talked with are now more aware of the resources and events offered by IAHM. Ultimately, the experiences of collecting stories, identifying community assets, and developing organizing skills will help our community partners develop programs and services to better address community concerns including climate change.