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Storytelling and ecological management: understanding kinship and complexity

By Lela Brown

This paper explores examples of the ways that indigenous and traditional stories are tools to guide humans through complex interactions with ecosystems and to remember our shared fate with the land. Traditional stories are not mere superstition or poor substitutes for scientific thinking; they are made up of extremely complex, finely coded information on human subsistence and infused with elements that ensure they continue to be told and remembered

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Effecting Change through Storytelling

By Patricia E. Grace and Eric K. Kaufman

There is evidence that the American agrifood system is a significant contributor to environmental, economic, social, and ethical-animal welfare damage to the earth and to society and is unsustainable, yet the worldview of a substantial percentage of the population conflicts with this assessment. A significant number of researchers, non-governmental organizations, and government entities assert that the detrimental effects of industrial agriculture must be addressed without delay and sustainable agricultural practices implemented. Attempting to change a worldview is not an easy task. A growing body of research in other disciplinary areas suggests that storytelling can serve as an effective method of fostering change. This mixed-methods study examines the role of storytelling in effecting positive change in worldview and attitudes toward sustainable agriculture. The study explores the effects of Story-based versus Information-based treatments on such change. The hypothesis of the study is that Story-based treatments will be more effective in promoting positive change than will Information-based treatments. The findings of the study provide evidence supporting this hypothesis. The story characteristics found to be associated with positive change included: first-hand personal view, vivid description, and identification with the story narrator.

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