When middle schooler Ivy Hart goes rogue and thwarts an oil refinery’s dirty donation for new school amenities, she forms a motley club that schools the adults in climate solutions.
Dawn Viola PapeWriter
Project Type:Television Script
Number of Pages:35
Country of Origin:United States
Author and advocate Dawn Pape brings close to 30 years of experience in environmental outreach and education to her role as Executive Director of We All Need Food and Water, a 501c3 nonprofit. With a history of success and leadership, Ms. Pape is passionate about meeting people where they are and building on others’ strengths to move toward a more sustainable, equitable, and loving world.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS PERSONAL FOR PAPE
Aiming to reach a wider audience to help secure a livable future, this series was inspired by Dawn Pape’s middle school-aged kids. Pape’s youngest son Max struggles with asthma, and she sees the effects of worsening air quality firsthand. Max will graduate from high school in 2030—the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the world must cut climate-warming emissions in half to avoid climate change’s worst effects. Since we have a long way to go to meet those goals, Pape worries about the unlivable world we are passing on. That’s why it’s time to pull out the big guns. Stories.
The great news is that communication is humans’ superpower and the reason we wield this much power over the planet. From building ancient temples to combating COVID-19, compelling narratives unite people to achieve seemingly impossible tasks. With today’s climate emergency posing an existential threat to humanity, new narratives of resilience, prosperity, and health associated with a carbon-neutral economy are needed to replace negative climate narratives that it’s too late or too complex. While we are certainly living in challenging times, this is also an incredible time in history to be alive and embrace the unique opportunity to help shape the future of all life on Earth. In short, it’s not game over, it’s game on!
Pape realizes that facts and fear aren’t getting us where we need to be in terms of climate change action. Throughout history, stories are what unite humanity and move us to act. As a classroom teacher turned author and advocate with a Master’s degree in Environmental Education, Pape is poised to tell these stories.
Climate change is no laughing matter, yet approaching this serious topic with levity helps us confront it. Documentaries are the typical method for delivering climate content, but they reach an already interested audience. My aim is to create a show that presents real climate change solutions in an offbeat, funny way that appeals to a wide audience.
This show also serves as an antidote for easing climate anxiety because it offers a road map for taking action as each show explores a climate solution. Similar to Abbott Elementary’s Park and Recreation’s protagonists, Ivy Hart leads her ragtag team to tackle community and school-related issues through the lens of climate solutions.
Each show will start with an informational title slide like a documentary. For example, in Episode 8, titled Life Line, we learn that ‘hang drying clothes instead of using dryers in the U.S. would reduce emissions similar to closing 42-coal-burning plants.’ In this episode, Ivy goes toe to toe with community member Nancy Wagon who is running a “Just Say No” community-wide clothesline ban. And after Brandi reveals an odd personal detail, Pedro realizes Brandi’s dysfunctional family briefly lived next door to him. Pedro’s empathy allows aloof Brandi to confide in Pedro. In future episodes, we’ll experience how climate change is disproportionately impacting Brandi’s underserved family more than her peers.
Another powerful storyline explores the universal, big emotions the characters process. Through deadpan mockumentary interviews, we experience the highs and lows of growing up in this unique time when what we do—or don’t do—now will impact humanity’s ability to inhabit the planet. We get a fresh perspective on the human experience as we feel life through the hearts of intense middle school emotional journeys. Together, we fall short, are wronged, compare ourselves, hurt, feel stressed, etc. We also feel the students’ joys when they find connection, their hearts are open, and life is good.