Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Community Engages in Creative Response to Climate Change

December 15, 2023
All Actors 1800

SCCF and Players Circle Theater took a creative leap toward solutions to climate change with two programs this week. More than 100 community members attended “All Good Things Must Begin,” which included theater and community conversation.

“Thanks to everyone who participated in our inaugural Climate Change Theatre Action event,” said SCCF Adult Education Director Jenny Evans. “We were excited by your enthusiasm and willingness to share your experience!”

The SCCF event was part of this year’s Evenings at the Homestead series which is focusing on creative responses to climate change for the 2023-24 season, with two more events to follow.

The performances were part of a global festival of short plays by playwrights from all around the world focusing on the overarching theme of climate change. The Climate Change Theatre Action plays are presented every other year to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which concluded this week.

Produced by Players Circle co-founder and producing director Carrie Lund Cacioppo, performances of eight plays from this year’s “All Good Things Must Begin” collection were staged at Players Circle Theater on Dec. 11 and at SCCF’s Bailey Homestead on Sanibel on Dec. 12.

More than 70 similar events took place across the globe as part of the festival.

“I started doing research before we began this project and it showed there’s a lot of climate change anxiety,” said Cacioppo. “It’s been found that getting together with like-minded people can actually inspire and energize people to find creative ways of solving this problem.”

Joann Haley and John McKerrow performed “Polar Bears” by Nicolas Billon.

The plays dealt with topics such as the deeply personal response of a teacher to Hurricane Andrew and the inspiring response of her students, polar bears who discuss their hunger caused by the lack of seals due to climate change and ways to take action, as well as the benefits of responsible foraging and how it can contribute to the preservation of public lands and native species.

Following the plays, SCCF Adult Education Director Jenny Evans led a panel discussion that focused on positive ways to cope with climate change and hope for the future.

“The experience we’ve all collectively had tonight gives me hope,” said SCCF Youth Education Director Shannon Rivard, a panelist. “We all imagined alternative futures and what it could look like, and we talked about creative solutions, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Cacioppo gathered actors from the community to perform the plays. Two were high school students who both acted and served on the panel, including Paige Howard, who spoke about how the arts can be much more effective than political debates.

“I think making emotional connections instead of radical conversations and just slowly inching the way there is the way that we change people’s minds because they’re not going to change overnight,” said Howard. “You have to slowly get them used to the idea of climate change.”

SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis also served on the panel and spoke about how our community is positioned to lead by example.

“Specifically in Southwest Florida, we are in this unique nexus of people who are incredibly blessed where we are in the world today, but also we’re on the forefront of these climate issues,” said DePaolis. “I think we should really take advantage of this opportunity to show the rest of the world what they should be doing and can be doing.”

The panelists emphasized taking small actionable steps in daily life.

“In the spirit of action, we’re including some ideas for small steps that individuals can take to collectively work towards mitigating climate change,” said Evans. “Thanks to our friends at The Climate Reality Project for sharing their information.”

Click here to download the one-page flyer that outlines small changes that bring about big results.

The SCCF event was part of this year’s Evenings at the Homestead series which is focusing on creative responses to climate change for the 2023-24 season, with two more events to follow.

SCCF also thanks Players Circle Theater, participating actors, directors, production volunteers, the Arts & Climate Initiative, and The Flourish Fund for making this event possible.

Joann Haley, Steven Kennedy, Maddy Hayes, and John McKerrow performed “Selling Baby Prairie” by Mark Rigney.
Students Cadence Bambrey-Zedd and Paige Howard in “(up)rooted” by Caity-Shea Violette


Archives by Month