Oxfam and the quest to find a climate story that connects

The not-for-profit needed a narrative to help its supporters draw a link between climate change and disadvantage in developing countries. Fireside helped them do it.

13 Feb 2023
Written by
The Story
Reading time
2 min

Photo: A Vanuatuan woman and child confront the wreckage of 2015's Cyclone Pam, a storm scientists believe was aggravated by climate change. Philippe Metois/Oxfam Australia

Note: Fireside Agency, whose work features prominently in this post, is the publisher of The Story.

We know that Australians are deeply concerned about climate change and are ready to take action to address it. We also know that they’re concerned with the plight of people from less-developed parts of the globe and believe we should be doing more to address inequality. One could surmise, then, that the average Australian would support efforts to promote climate justice. It’s the idea that those who’ve contributed the least to global warming should be shielded from its most extreme effects. And it’s at the core of a lot of Oxfam Australia’s most recent aid work.

But when Oxfam started talking to their supporters and potential supporters about climate change, they were surprised to hear that many of them were confused about why an international aid organisation would be operating in the climate space. To help draw the connection, Oxfam needed to tell a story—one that broadened people's ideas around the true global impacts of a warming planet.

Enter Fireside Agency: a comms agency for those doing good in the world. (They’re also, as it happens, the publisher of The Story.)

With the help of some deft audience research, Fireside helped Oxfam develop a powerful climate justice narrative. And then when it was all done, they sat down to explain how they did it on the StoryCraft podcast. In the final episode of season three, host (and Fireside boss) Ben Hart talks with Oxfam’s Nina Crawley, who asked Fireside to develop a story that inspired people to take action. They also spoke with behaviour change expert Penny Burke, of Whereto Research, who was drafted in to find out how the average person responded to ideas around climate justice.

Listen via the player above, or subscribe to StoryCraft on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Technical note: The StoryCraft team experienced a few hardware issues while recording this episode, which is why it doesn't sound as crisp or polished as their usual work. Do not adjust your headphones.

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