Internship: Visual Storytelling to mobilize policymakers- Water Security & Climate Change (Spring-Summer, 2018)

I’m working on a project with the Roddenberry Foundation and a number of other partners to use visual storytelling to inspire action among community members. Would it be possible to send this internship opportunity to current students?

We are seeking fellow Polar Bears to join us as we use visual storytelling to mobilize policymakers and community leaders on the issue of water security and climate change. This internship will be for the remainder of the spring semester, with an option to continue through the summer. We can provide a $500 stipend and as we grow, so will our funding for interns.

Currently, we are seeking two vision-driven, responsible and excited to learn Polar Bears – one focusing on digital/social media and communications and the other focusing on water security and climate policy. Experience shooting and editing video/stills is a plus.

Please email alex@alexcornell.org with a resume or Linkedin Profile. We will consider candidates on a rolling basis.

Alex Cornell ’06 (Gov & Legal Studies

Below is more information on our exciting program:

Mission— Our mission is to film short videos, and a documentary, on water security as it relates to climate change to educate and inspire lawmakers and the public. We will use the films to organize community leaders to foster policy that combats climate change and promotes water security. By creating empathy through storytelling we aim to inspire community action, the media, and lawmakers.

Most people are unaware that 40 out of 50 U.S. states expect water shortages in 10 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is currently buying up U.S. water rights. Internationally, the United Nations has identified 37 acute conflicts in the last 50 years caused by trans-boundary water rights. Additionally, U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported that water is a major source of instability and potential conflict.

 Background—“My deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, with the Marine Corps infantry, gave me firsthand insights into why it’s critical to find solutions to the water insecurity connected to climate change.

“While on patrol just outside the city, a roadside bomb hit my HUMVEE. Fortunately for us, the “military-age man” was not well trained, and most of the blast missed our vehicle. When we caught him, we learned that he was a farmer with little or no explosives experience. Because of climate change, his crops had failed. Vulnerable, he had been turned into a terrorist paid to attack Americans. For me, the connection between climate change and water insecurity became crystal clear.

“Soon thereafter, I started to put the pieces together on how climate change and water insecurity are inseparable.”—Alex Cornell du Houx

Accomplishments—We already organized 350 state and local lawmakers to sign onto a letter and conducted international press conferences at the Paris Climate Accords.

The Department of State funded our first short video highlighting Maine’s climate and water security issues, along with solutions that the state’s elected officials and educators are working on, like the development and implementation of floating offshore wind turbine farms.

After the video, we conducted a value-based communications training and provided lawmakers and community members with messaging tools to continue working on Maine’s water and climate issues. We’ve launched a media campaign in Maine highlighting the video, helping lawmakers and leaders pursue their efforts in combating climate change. Additionally, we organized a campaign, Operation Free, of elected officials and military veterans in 20+ states to promote energy security and combat climate change, leveraging $9 million in advertising and winning the Reed Award for the Best Public Affairs Campaign.

Video Introhttp://codebluewater.org – has been viewed 20,000 times during our initial release.

Strategy— Organizing through storytelling. Year one: The first phase is to engage in 13 additional states to film additional videos and conduct trainings so lawmakers and citizens will be able to effectively communicate the dangers and solutions of climate and water security.

We will film these shorts in 2D and 3D – for 3D has proven to increase empathy, which results in increased community action.

The short videos raise awareness of this critical issue and market the upcoming documentary. We have a guaranteed audience, as each lawmaker will want to showcase themselves and their community. A California state senator, for example, has close to a million constituents.

Following the video, we will conduct value-based communications training and provide lawmakers and community members with the messaging tools to continue working on water and climate issues. Additionally, we will launch a media campaign in each state to frame and strengthen our narrative.

Year two: We will use the footage from each state visit and produce a documentary that includes worldwide water issues. As the world heats up due to climate change, the increasing lack of fresh water is causing conflicts around the globe.

But there is hope—real solutions are already making a difference, which we will highlight. Through a character driven style, we will chronicle the dangers and solutions to water security and climate change from the Middle East, to Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.

After working in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America for 14 years with the Navy, State Department and international media, we have a great number of contacts that can help tell this engaging story.

Tactics

  1. Engage and partner with existing community organizations in each state
  2. Film engaging narrative-driven video in 2D and 3D with community members and lawmakers
  3. Show the video at the State Capitols with 3D headsets, and the 2D version available for sharing
  4. Conduct Value-Based Communications Trainings at the Capitols so lawmakers and supporters know how to effectively message climate change policy
  5. Provide social media support with a messaging information flyer, press releases, and photos for continued lawmaker, staff, and media engagement
  6. Launch traditional and digital media engagement strategies in each state to increase the impact of our video for lawmakers, media, and constituents
  7. Strengthen our network of lawmakers, organizations and concerned citizens committed to water and climate policy through conferences, webinars, and social media

Outcomes

  • 14 videos filmed and produced
  • 14 Value-Based Communications trainings conducted
  • 14 messaging and media packets produced, tailored to local issues
  • At least 20,000 views on each video on social media
  • Quarterly webinars, and as needed for quick reaction to urgent issues
  • National convening of lawmakers who have worked with us
  • Lawmakers and community leaders utilizing our communications trainings, messaging documents, social media, letters to the editor and op-ed’s
  • Monitoring and mapping of climate policy introduced, as a result of our engagement
  • Evaluations of climate issues at or near the top of our targeted state’s agenda in the Capitols and communities
  • Leadership, committee chairs, and staff talking publically about the need to address climate issues

Partners— We are currently working with the following partners: Elected Officials to Protect America is an implantation partner. Go Fovrth studios is a production partner. The Solon Center for Research and Publishing is our fiscal partner. Networks like State Innovation Exchange, Local Progress, Climate Mayors, and Young Elected Officials that convene progressive state and local elected officials. Implementation partners like ICLEI, Mayors Innovation Project, and National League of Cities provide direct policy implementation support for local and state action. Advocacy partners like 350.org, NextGen America, the Truman National Security Project, Food & Water Watch, Advanced Energy Economy, Climate Hawks, Water 2017, Lonely Whale Foundation, EarthJustice, Divest-Invest Network, and Oil Change International work with lawmakers and community leaders in their local contexts.

Team— Adrian Grenier is an actor, musician, director and producer; he is a non-fiction, multimedia storyteller best known for his acting role in the Emmy-nominated HBO series, Entourage. As a vehicle to craft socially responsible human stories, Adrian founded Reckless Productions in 2002. Through television and film, both documentary and narrative, his company aims to evoke dialogue on important, current topics.

Anna Therese Day is an award-winning journalist, a Fulbright Fellow, a UN Press Fellow, and was named one of Google Zeitgeist’s top 30 Great Young Minds of Our Time. The Shorty Awards for Social Medi recognized her as one of the Top 10 journalists of the Year. She was selected as one of Mic.com’s Millennial Leaders and contributes to The New York Times Women in the World, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, AJ+. Day became a global brand ambassador for Skype’s “The Things We Can Do” English-language campaign. Anna is a partner with the Truman National Security Project and is currently reporting on how wildfires become more dangerous with climate change. In the Pacific, she has documented the life of climate refugees.

Alex Cornell du Houx was elected to the Maine State Legislature and served on the Energy Utilities and Technology and Veterans and Legal Affairs committees. He won the REED award for the best national Public Affairs Campaign for his work founding Operation Free, a coalition of veterans combating climate change. Alex participated and led State Department delegations to Southeast Asia to foster government-to-government relations, is a Huffington Post blogger, a Kentucky Colonel, a senior advisor to the Veterans Campaign, a member of the Global Advisory Council for the American Veteran’s Committee, Partner with the Truman National Security Project and founded the Maine New Leaders Council. His value based communications trainings are requested worldwide. He served in the Marine Corps infantry for seven years, is currently a Public Affairs Officer with the Navy Reserve and consults for businesses, nonprofits, elected officials, and candidates as with Dirigo Consulting. He is also a board member with the nonprofits the Solon Center for Research and Publishing and the Global Women Foundation.

Steve Holleran is a Los Angeles based cinematographer. His most recent feature, The Land, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and had a theatrical release this summer. He has over a dozen short film credits, two of which were selected in the top ten of NBC Shortcuts and Project Greenlight. His commercial work includes brands like Google, Nike, and Chevy. He has an MFA in cinematography from USC, where he was awarded the Charles Lang cinematography scholarship. Please visit http://www.steveholleran.com for his work.

Kari Barber is a writer/director. She received her MFA in Film Production from the USC, a Bachelor’s from Bowdoin College and a Masters from Harvard University. Her film The Fifth Horseman won numerous awards around the world. Currently Kari is working as a production sound recordist for celebrity interviews with Conde Naste Time Inc., and Spielberg. Additionally she works as a sound editor for feature films.

Jon Hinck served in the Maine House of Representative for six years, including as co-chair of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. He was elected to the Portland Maine City Council at large, where he chairs the Energy and Sustainability Committee. Hinck previously co-founded Greenpeace USA and was staff attorney for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Hinck’s law practice concentrates on mass tort litigation, representing plaintiffs in investor, consumer, and environmental cases.

Andy Katz is an environmental and workers’ rights attorney, public health advocate, elected Director to the California East Bay Municipal Utility District, and former chair of Sierra Club California. At the Climate Change Conference, Andy had an active role in negotiations that led to the Paris Agreement.

Dominic Frongillo founded Elected Officials to Protect New York, a bipartisan initiative uniting and coordinating over 850 local elected officials to fight high-volume hydro-fracking and to achieve New York’s renewable energy goal of 50 percent by 2050. He is a five-time delegate to the United Nations climate negotiations and conducts trainings for the Young Elected Officials Network and Front Line Leaders Academy.

Mike Moschella is the Vice President of Innovation for DKC News. He co-founded the New Leaders Council and www.Organizing.Center – both of which provide practical organizing tools and training to campaigns and nonprofits. Campaigns & Elections Magazine recently named him one of the top 50 campaign influencers in the country. Previously he served as Vice President of Organizing at NationBuilder, is a Partner and Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.