INSIDE THE GREENHOUSE | Re-telling climate change stories

Issue #22

Dear ITGers,

We hope you’re all doing as well as you can as the Northern Hemisphere summer arrives and the World Meteorological Organization forecasts that “there is a 66% probability that global average surface temperatures will exceed the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C target during one of the next five years” due to an El Niño cycle beginning alongside ongoing human contributions to climate change.

Nonetheless, with your support we at Inside the Greenhouse (ITG) resolutely carry on with our work to meet people where they are and ‘re-tell climate change stories’ from a range of perspectives in order to help make sense of 21st century climate challenges and to inspire great climate engagement and action.

Below you’ll find some updates regarding our ongoing research, teaching and engagement over the past months. Visit our website for further details as well. We continue to carry out these projects through important collaborations and partnerships linking campus and community as well as the local with the global.

Up with hope,
Max Boykoff, Beth Osnes, Rebecca Safran and Phaedra Pezzullo
(Inside the Greenhouse co-directors)

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‘The ITGs’: 2023 Creative Climate Communicator and Citizen Awards

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 ITG awards! The spirit of these awards are to celebrate creative climate communicators who so artfully communicate with broad audiences the pressing concerns associated with the climate crisis. 

This year’s ‘Creative Climate Communicator’ award goes to Chelsea Hackett. Chelsea is the co-founder and executive producer of SPEAK, an organization created to support and celebrate the voices of all young women and girls. SPEAK is dedicated to creating a world where all young women and girls are heard. Through Vocal Empowerment women can use their voices for self and civic advocacy. SPEAK’s expert facilitators lead evidence-based and action-oriented workshops that increase women’s confidence to SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT.

Our ‘Citizen Award’ goes to Naderev ‘Yeb’ Saño. Yeb Saño is a climate justice activist from the Philippines and serves as the executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, leading diverse operations of the environmental organization across the region. He is also the vice chair of the board of the Laudato Si’ Movement and serves on the international board of A veteran of the environmental movement for close to three decades, Saño has worked with local communities and international bodies involving domestic and global issues that relate to the climate crisis, including: clean energy, biodiversity, coastal and marine resources, disaster risk reduction, local governance, and human rights. Saño leads a team in the landmark human rights case filed against the top fossil fuel companies at the Commission on Human Rights.

Previously, Saño served as commissioner of the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission, the country’s leading policymaking government body on climate change. He was the Philippines’ chief negotiator in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is widely known as a champion for climate justice and voice for developing countries in the UN. In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Saño delivered an emotional speech during the United Nations Climate Summit in Warsaw in 2013 and underwent 14 days of fasting in solidarity with the typhoon victims. His time as chief negotiator for the Philippines catapulted his advocacy for climate justice to global acclaim. Saño also spent time as a spiritual ambassador for OurVoices, an international, multi-faith campaign for strong climate action and climate justice. As part of this work, he served as the pilgrim leader of the People’s Pilgrimage, a special journey that highlights communities confronting climate impacts while manifesting resilience and spiritual strength. He also serves as co-convenor of the Asian Energy Network and of the Fight Inequality Alliance Asia.  He is an active member of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

Read more about our awardees (current and past) here.


Civic Achievement Award

Pictured: With her students, Phaedra received a Civic Achievement Award for The Colorado Environmental Justice Digital Storytelling Project from the 2023 Campus Sustainability Awards committee. 

If you want to read the Colorado EnviroScreeen StoryMaps, check them out here.


Special Recognition of Partnership for Sustainability

Phaedra, Beth, Max, and the rest of thefaculty steering committee received a Special Recognition of Partnership for Sustainability for the Climate Across the Curriculum Training we highlighted in the last newsletter by the Campus Sustainability Awards committee.

Pictured are ITG friends, Prof. Clint Carroll and Prof. Karen Bailey, with Phaedra and the Provost, receiving Special Recognition for their Partnership for Sustainability. Photo credit: Warren Cook.


William R. Payden Award for Faculty Excellence

The top faculty award in the College of Media, Communication, and Information is the William R. Payden Award for Faculty Excellence, which Phaedra received this May 2023 for her outstanding record in research and teaching.


8th Annual International Comedy & Climate Change Video Competition

This Spring we put out our eighth annual call for comedy and climate change video entries and we received submissions from North America, Europe, and Africa. This ongoing competition is motivated by the notion that humor is a tool underutilized in creative climate communications, yet comedy has power to effectively connect with people on climate change issues. Therefore, we’ve held this competition to encourage folks to harness the powers of climate comedy through compelling, resonant, and meaningful videos. An esteemed panel of judges including scholars, practitioners, staff, and students at CU Boulder determined the winners. From this selection process, winning submissions rose to the top. Here are the 2023 winners:



Sydney Wollmuth, Thanks Khemours



Lughlan Deane, Thawsaurus: Antifreeze your Email



Antonio Salituro, Words Matter When Talking about Climate Change, Capisce?!



Michael Bartz, The Vow




Pro-climate action advertising campaign

Throughout the Fall 2022 and into Winter 2023, an Inside the Greenhouse team including Nancy Yoder, Catherine Adams, Presley Church, Matilda Erikson, Elizabeth Woolner, and Naia Ormaza Zulueta – led by Beth Osnes and Max Boykoff – embarked on a pro-climate action advertising campaign. First, the team placed advertisements in newspapers in the United States south.

Advertisements in the Selma (Alabama) Times Journal, Brunswick (Georgia) Times Journal, and Harrison (Arkansas) Daily Times


The Harrison Daily Times advertisement was placed with partners from the Yale University Program on Climate Communication, the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, the Netflix Don’t Look Up climate platform and CU Boulder.


Second, the Inside the Greenhouse team placed advertisements at the local Boulder Indoor Soccer facility in Boulder, Colorado. These were assembled in partnership with the Yale University Program on Climate Communication, the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, the Netflix Don’t Look Up climate platform and CU Boulder.

Advertisements in Boulder Indoor Soccer in Boulder, Colorado


Third, the Inside the Greenhouse team put up four billboards – two near Longmont, Colorado on HWY 199 near I25 and two between Boulder and Golden, Colorado on HWY 93 – in Spanish and English from November 2022 through February 2023. The billboards were installed in partnership with the Yale University Program on Climate Communication, the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, and CU Boulder.

Two billboards near Longmont, Colorado on HWY 199 near I25 and two billboards between Boulder and Golden, Colorado on HWY 93.


Fourth, the Inside the Greenhouse team designed 44 individual bus advertisements on Boulder Area Transit as well as Boulder-Denver bus lines. The bus advertisements were a partnership with the City of Boulder, Boulder County and CU Boulder. Half of the advertisements featured messaging about sustainable fashion with linkages to climate change.

Examples of bus advertisements on Boulder area buses.


The billboards and bus advertisements were timed to appear just before and then throughout the December 2022 Right Here, Right Now human rights and climate change summit that was hosted at CU Boulder.


Each advertisement across this four-stage project had unique QR codes. Spanish-language advertisements took people to a Spanish-language climate action landing page here, while English-language advertisements led people to an English-language climate action landing page here. The data gathered from the click-through activities is currently being researched by ITG co-directors Max Boykoff and Beth Osnes, along with colleague Harsha Gangadharbatla who is a Professor of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design at CU Boulder. Stay tuned for our results and analyses!


January 2023 National Science Foundation grant deadline to the Advancing Informal Science Learning program.

Becca and Beth in partnership with Dr. Chelsea Hackett and Dr. Shawhin Roudbari spent much of the fall working towards a January 2023 National Science Foundation grant deadline to the Advancing Informal Science Learning program. If funded, this project will formalize partnerships with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Environment for the Americas (who sponsor International Migratory Bird Day), and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. Figure 4 from our grant provides the aims and overview of this five-year project!




Becca's Travels

Spring 2023 was busy! Grant writing, travel to two conferences with many members of our scientific team and getting ready for the field season! The Safran team traveled to Asilomar California in January for an international conference on biological diversity and to Italy in February for the Gordon Conference Speciation. Heather Kenny-Duddela, Sara Garcia, Zach Laubach and Drew Schield all presented cool work on various barn swallow research projects. Toni Schuerg, a Fulbright Fellow from Germany who spent the year in our lab joined us for the California trip! Becca traveled to Harvard University in April to give a talk to the Nuttall Ornithological Club – the oldest ornithological society in North America! Since early April, we’ve been awaiting the arrival of barn swallows, getting our gear and plans organized and welcoming our new summer research assistants!

California visit, from left to right: Heather Kenny-Duddela, Rebecca Safran, Sara Garcia, Drew Schield

Picture from Italy (in front of the Duomo!) en route to the Gordon Conference on Speciation, Italy: Heather Kenny-Duddela, Sara Garcia, Drew Schield, Rebecca Safran

Drew Schield at his poster at the e Gordon Conference on Speciation, Italy February 2023

Graydon Hidalgo and Sara Garcia, Safran Lab PhD students, banding barn swallows, May 2023


Side by Side in Guatemala

Picture three days together in a house overlooking the volcanic Lake Atitlan gathered together to explore the relationship between birds and humans. Members of the Guatemalan all-female theater group Ajchowen lead us outdoors in movements of various birds native to Guatemala. The Inside the Greenhouse team integrated an art-science approach to observing birds. With support from the Office of Outreach and Engagement, team members from Side by Side traveled to Guatemala in March of 2023. The reason for this trip was to co-facilitate a three-day Intersectional Eco-feminist retreat for the MAIA Impact School as a teacher training. Other female-serving organizations and schools were also present for the training. We collaborated with a local Indigenous theatre group, Ajchowen, to ensure the material was expressive of the Maya cosmovision. What resulted was the co-creation of a curriculum for an art-science exploration of local bird populations and their relationship to human behavior and views. MAIA has requested we work with them to utilize this art-science model to develop a new program for the Impact school to increase their students’ sense of belonging in STEM fields and ensure that Indigenous female voices are represented in a new story for our climate. On the trip were Beth Osnes, Chelsea Hackett, PhD student in EBIO Sara Garcia, and PhD student in Theatre and Performance Studies Sam Collier.


The Butterfly Affect

Beth Osnes traveled to Ireland and the UK—Saint Andrews Scotland—to premiere a new original piece of creative work—an interactive performance experience entitled The Butterfly Affect at the University College of Cork, Ireland on April 5th, 2023 and at the University of Saint Andrews on April 11th, 2023. This work can be viewed at

Student at UCC dressed as a Blue Morpho caterpillar participating in The Butterfly Affect in Cork Ireland

Beth Osnes leading participants in The Butterfly Affect molting from one instar to the next as caterpillars.

Participant in The Butterfly Affect in Cork Ireland as a Western Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.

Student of Saint Andrews University in Scotland embodying a Monarch butterfly as part of The Butterfly Affect




Creative Climate Communication

Our Spring 2023 Creative Climate Communication course ambitiously pursued two projects with students from a range of undergraduate majors, with a majority from Environmental Studies, but also from Theater and Dance, Engineering, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Anthropology, Business, Psychology and Geography departments.


The first composition was carried out through a partnership with ‘Trash the Runway’ (TtR) that is a design competition run by the Creative Lab at Common Threads in Boulder that is now entering its second decade of existence. TtR challenges Middle and High school students to create high fashion garments entirely out of found and recycled materials. CU Boulder Creative Climate Communication students interviewed a TtR Boulder designer and documented their work leading up to the sold-out evening show on the CU Boulder campus at Macky Auditorium in March 2023. After editing of their up-to-two-minute compositions, CU Boulder Creative Climate Communication students then presented their completed compositions during a May 10, 2023 event with designers and their families at the CU Museum of Natural History. These videos are now posted here on the Inside the Greenhouse website along with compositions from previous years of this partnership with TtR.


The second composition stepped beyond video production to embrace and confront multi-modal forms of creative climate communication and focusing on humor/comedy as a vehicle for creative climate communication through the live performance of comedy.

Promotional poster for the show in the SEEC building on CU Boulder’s campus. Photo credit: Max Boykoff

Students worked individually for stand-up acts or in teams for sketch comedy performances focused on climate change solutions. Students also received guidance from lead professional comic partner Chuck Nice. Chuck is the co-host of Star Talk with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and has appeared on the Today Show, The View, MSNBC, and CNN among several media outlets.

Chuck Nice performing standup at the show. Photo credit: Phaedra Pezzullo

Through external funding support from the Argosy Foundation, students also worked via zoom with professional comedians Kath Barbadero, Ben Gleib, Stuart Goldsmith, Katie Hannigan, Kyle Marian, Kasha Patel, Dave Ross, David C. Smalley and Nat Towsen as they assembled a live sold-out show in April 21, 2023 at Old Main Chapel on the CU Boulder campus. This Boulder show was headlined by Chuck Nice, and other shows were performed by our professional comedy partners in New York City East Village (April 13), Bristol, UK (April 18), Washington D.C. (April 21), and Los Angeles (May 7).

Beth, Max, and Ben introducing the show

Also, climate comedy partner Manolo Moreno hosted a climate solution-infused episode of Dr. Gameshow in April 2023. Individual student performances can be viewed here on the Inside the Greenhouse website while the entire 2-hour CU Boulder show and clips from NYC, DC, Bristol UK and LA can be viewed here on our YouTube climate comedy channel.

Students practicing their acts. Photo credit: Max Boykoff

Maddy Sinkovic performing. Photo credit: Phaedra Pezzullo


In May 2023, Inside the Greenhouse partnered with Baba Brinkman as he created and produce a rap video called ‘Insulate it!’ This engagement project was made possible through support from Inside the Greenhouse, the City of Boulder, Boulder County and CU Boulder.

Baba shared the backstory in a May press release in this way:

“In the Spring of 2021 I joined a program at CU Boulder called Inside the Greenhouse which brings together arts practitioners and comedians and earth science students to help make the story of climate change accessible and culturally-salient through the arts. My friend Chuck Nice was helping to lead the program and he selected the comedians, and invited me as the one rapper since I have a bunch of material about climate change and perform a show about it off-Broadway from 2016-2019 that he really liked.

I was assigned retrofit insulation as my topic and asked to create five minutes of original material which I would premiere at an event for CU Boulder students and then perform at the New York Comedy Club as part of a show hosted by Chuck, Ice Cold Comedy. The students helped me to research the topic (which I didn’t know much about) and suggested sources and I added my own research, and the “unsexy” angle came from this article. And I came across various programs and organizations including yours in my online research and referenced the ones I felt were taking the right approach. 

So “Insulate It” was written and performed live twice last Spring and was generally a big hit with the audiences who saw it, but at that point it was just a song on paper, so after the program finished, one of the directors Max Boykoff submitted a funding application to the City of Boulder and Boulder County and received a climate outreach grant to cover the cost of producing and recording the song, and producing and filming the video, so we could share the song and its message with the world. And that’s the story!”

The ‘Insulate it!’ rap video can be viewed here. Check out more about Baba Brinkman and his work here.



This spring, ITG co-directors have led information-sharing and participatory workshops as well as giving talks involving creative climate communications.

Phaedra’s Outreach

This Earth month, Phaedra was busy. She presented on material from her forthcoming book at Northwestern University on a Symposium about environmental advocacy
and visual culture, as well as on our own campus at a conference hosted by the Center for Asian Studies on Environmental Justice in Asia. She also presented on her award-winning Colorado Environmental Digital Storytelling Project at DePaul University and on the 2022 Climate Across the Curriculum Training at the campus Sustainability Summit (where Max also presented on the work of the Environmental Studies department).

Phaedra published two articles since the last newsletter, both of which aim to encourage more inclusive climate research. One coauthored with her formers students was about how environmental communication and climate justice, in particular, should become more inclusive across healths and abilities to resist eco-ableism or the marginalization of disabled people through environmental design; the exclusion of disabled people in environmental decision-making; and the discrimination against disabled people through environmental discourses, beliefs, and attitudes. Another coauthored with a student, a post-doc and colleagues, including ITG friends Prof. Shawhin Roudbari and Prof. Shideh Dashti, focused on the impacts of climate disasters on what they call “incarceration infrastructure” to include physical structures and ecological or technological systems needed for the institution to operate, such as water distribution, heating, cooling, and ventilation, telecommunications, transportation, and power supplies. She also published three chapters in readers on the pandemic, climate justice, and eastern communication in, respectively: Communication in the 2020s, The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Movements, and The Routledge Handbook of International Trends in Environmental Communication.

One never knows the afterlife of one’s work. MIT Press asked to reprint a popular version of “What Gets Buried in a Small Town,” a chapter Phaedra wrote in 2012 about toxic e-waste in Bloomington, Indiana, in their February 2023 The MIT Press Reader, which then was noted by Bloomberg’s CityLab in “What We’re Reading” Feb. 10, 2023.

Phaedra wrapped up a second season of her podcast, Communicating Care, this spring.

She recorded 7 episodes, including one with Yeb Saño (page 2), as well as many conversations about plastics as they intersect with uneven global power relations, gender, race, disability, and more. URL: (available for listening on any of your favorite podcast platforms). Her book based on Season 1, Beyond Straw Men: Plastic Pollution and Networked Cultures of Care, is forthcoming in September with University of California Press and you can preorder it now at the press’ website or other online book retailers.

Beth's Outreach

On March 21, 2023, Beth Osnes was a panelist for the AAAS Equity and Justice in Science Education Webinar series for a national offering entitled “Engaging Non-STEM Undergraduates in Climate/Environmental Science and Sustainability to Promote Equity.”

On March 8, 2023, International Women’s Day, Sarah Fahmy and Beth Osnes co-led a workshop for the NGO Parallel Event United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City titled Eco-Puppetry Women’s Joyful Public Expression. They led participants in a procession with butterfly costumes and banners to the United Nations to celebrate an equitable, survivable, and thrive-able future for all genders and eco-systems.

Becca's Outreach

The Fall 2022 Art of Science Communication class was the largest ever with 40 students enrolled! Former student Jamie Chihuan was an outstanding member of the class in 2021 and was Becca’s co-instructor for Fall 2022. Jamie
is a surreal artist with a mad artistic skill set as well as expertise in videography and film editing. As an APRD (Advertising, Public Relations

and Media Design) major, Jamie brought lots of experience in branding and visual storytelling. This year, we partnered with the Colorado Environmental Film Festival whose leadership visited our class to introduce the overall aim of their organization. The students participated in the festival as judges and Callie Habegger’s film was showcased during the in-person part of the festival!

Max's Outreach

ITG co-director Max Boykoff contributed to the ITG almost-Earth Day 2023 climate comedy show in Boulder while he also coordinated
the international comedy video competition. In addition, he spoke about Inside the Greenhouse during in media outlets such as BBC, National Public Radio and Al Jazeera while giving talks
at Boston College, the Denver Foundation, the Climate Social Science Network (based at Brown University), the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the University of Malaysia Terengganu, the National Institute for Environmental Studies (in Tsukuba, Japan), University of Texas at Austin, Preventive Medicine & Public Health Research Center Iran University of Medical Sciences (virtually to Tehran, Iran) and Ohio University.

Going forward, follow us via Twitter (@ITG_ Boulder), Instagram (@everydayclimate) and Facebook. More information can be found on our webpages.