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

Jan O'Brien is Assistant Editor and Website Manager at Yale Climate Connections. She brings more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research, and more than 20 years...