Narrating Sustainability through Storytelling  book cover
1st Edition

Narrating Sustainability through Storytelling

ISBN 9781032352701
Published December 8, 2022 by Routledge
156 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Stories and narratives are powerful tools for explaining the world around us. This book explores storytelling as a way of engaging audiences with sustainable development issues and reflects on the opportunities and limitations of storytelling for sustainability as an innovative approach to sustainability communication.

Bringing together voices and perspectives from research and practice, this volume explores the ways in which storytelling can support change toward sustainability. Unlike other anthologies, the book first provides a sound scientific basis by unfolding the storytelling approach and presenting empirical studies on its impact on effects. It clarifies important terms and presents recent findings on the impact of storytelling on sustainability from an extensive 3-year research project on this question. The second part shows how storytelling can be used in different fields of practice to communicate sustainability in more engaging and effective ways. Here, the main focus is on not only case-based accounts of positive change, but also tensions, arising from the application of storytelling for sustainability in journalism, higher education, corporate communication, or science communication.

Combining theory with practical examples, this innovative book will be a great resource for students and scholars of environmental communication and sustainable development, as well as professionals working in related fields.

Table of Contents


Sustainability Communication "Like Gold"?
Thomas Pyhel


Of Sustainability and Storytelling – An Introduction to this Book
Anna Sundermann, Daniel Fischer, Sonja Fücker, Hanna Selm


Chapter 1. SusTelling: Storytelling for Sustainability
Daniel Fischer, Sonja Fücker, Hanna Selm, Martin Storksdieck, Anna Sundermann

Chapter 2. Does SusTelling for Sustainability Work? An Experiment
Anna Sundermann, Daniel Fischer, Sonja Fücker, Daniel Hanss, Hanna Selm

Chapter 3. SusTelling in the Reception Lab – On How Young Adults Perceive Storytelling
Sonja Fücker, Daniel Fischer, Hanna Selm, Anna Sundermann


Chapter 4. Telling Your Own Stories: Teaching and Learning Storytelling
Hanna Selm, Daniel Fischer, Heike Janßen, Torsten Schäfer, Anna Sundermann, Sonja Fücker

Chapter 5. SusTelling in Higher Education
Petra Molthan-Hill, Daniel Fischer

Chapter 6. SusTelling and Constructive Journalism: A Perfect Pair?
Maren Urner

Chapter 7. Learning from Humboldt – Storytelling as a Method of Science Communication
Dorothee Menhart, Sabine Hoscislawski

Chapter 8. Storytelling in Corporate Communications – When, Why, and How Storytelling Works in Personnel Training
Jennifer Fritz


Storytelling for Sustainability: A Preliminary Conclusion
Daniel Fischer, Sonja Fücker, Hanna Selm, Anna Sundermann



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Daniel Fischer is an associate professor of Consumer Communication and Sustainability at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and visiting professor of Sustainability Communication at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, where he led the SusTelling project. From 2018 to 2020, he was an assistant professor at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, USA. Together with his research group SuCo2, short for Sustainable Consumption and Sustainability Communication (, he researches how sustainable lifestyles can be promoted through communication and learning.

Sonja Fücker is a research associate at the Research Institute of Social Cohesion (RISC) at the University of Hannover. Previously, she worked at the Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (INFU) at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. As a sociologist, her research focuses on the reception and impact of science communication. She is interested in how people acquire scientific knowledge in their everyday lives and what influence narrative and participatory transfer methods have on this.

Hanna Selm worked as a research associate at the Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (INFU) at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany) and has been a member of the SuCo2 research group. As a cultural scientist, she has contributed to various (research) projects in the field of sustainability communication. She is particularly interested in researching and testing new formats of sustainability communication.

Anna Sundermann is pursuing a Ph.D. at the Faculty of Sustainability at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and working as a curriculum developer at Leuphana Graduate School. From 2013 to 2020, she conducted research on various projects at the Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (INFU) at Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany). In her Ph.D. thesis, she brings her degree in psychology to bear on sustainability-related learning processes of students in higher education to find out whether the current integration of sustainability in higher education enables and motivates students to participate in societal change.