Benj Drummond and his wife Sarah Joy Steele haul their video equipment to a beach in Willapa Bay, Washington. They focus their cameras on a family of oyster farmers, struggling with the effects of ocean acidification.


The footage will become the first episode of “Facing Climate Change,” a documentary series about people coping with the effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.

Drummond says the couple began filming after reading the four-hundred page State of Washington report on climate change impacts.

Drummond: “Sarah and I had this idea that we wanted to make this information more accessible to a bigger group of people and put a face to these projections.”

So far, they have filmed coastal tribes dealing with rising seas; potato farmers struggling with drought; and plateau tribes trying to protect salmon from warming stream temperatures.

Each episode takes what Drummond calls a watershed approach to a global issue.

Drummond: “We actually found by moving away from the science and the research and towards personalized stories, that it in many ways de-politicized the whole climate change conversation.”

To keep that conversation going, the filmmakers have held local video screenings and discussions about climate change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Oyster farmers in Willapa Bay, Washington (Source: Oyster Farmers Facing Climate Change).

More Resources
Drummond and Steele’s “Facing Climate Change” website.

Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...