It’s Impact Journalism week this week and today, we start into it with a glance back at stories we followed the last year.
On Saturday, 16th of June, we celebrate Impact Journalism Day. No, not for the first time – it’s the fifth year since newspapers around the world have taken the initiative to highlight Impact Stories. There still is quite a lot of controversy around the term and what impact journalism is: Whether its aim is to highlight positive stories to provide a balance to the constant stream of bad news in the world and to show some of the solutions to those problems that already exist. Or whether it is taking the constructive route, trying to reflect on what great journalism is and provide more than one angle to an issue as climate change, including both solutions that fly and fail and honour the complexity of the issues we face.
Knowing that the Impact Hub Zürich is an ideal ecosystem to find and share impact stories, Luis Laugga and I came together last year, supported by the Impact Hub communications team, and interviewed a member of the Impact Hub Zürich community every month who is working towards a solution for one of the 17 sustainable development goals. With every conversation, our awareness of how complex the issues we are facing and how interconnected the sustainable development goals really are grew. Every single project was at least touching two or three sustainability goals, and by tackling one issue, another issues would surface: Sourcing products from small farms isn’t just about the production aspect. It’s about a lot more – from working conditions to logistics and supply chain issues around transportation that are linked to climate change, and not to forget questions around a healthy lifestyle that is so intimately connected to what we eat and drink.
From each interview, we walked away very inspired, with more questions in our heads than before the interview. Having these conversations often led us from one project to another. Talking to Tobias Joos from Crowd Container sparked the idea to talk to David Emmerth from Imagine Cargo. Social Fabric‘s vision of finding new plant fibres to innovate the world of fabrics popped up at the back of my head when I talked to the founders of GemüseAckerdemie. Who knows, maybe the kids who are planting beans now in their school gardens will figure out how to turn plant fibres that we throw away into something that will spark a fashion revolution.
Over and over again, Luis and I were amazed by the ideas people in our community come up with and their dedication and willingness to pursue projects and alternatives that go against well established and engrained ways of how things have been done in the past. Paired with a big breeze of idealism, some of these projects are pursuing solutions that currently are hard to scale without massive help from people around them and communities who are willing to invest in their value. What all our interviewees had in common, was patience, a long term perspective for the change they are trying to implement, and tangible solutions that produce visible results on a daily basis and that can be shared with the world around them.
Luis and I hope that we have made a small contribution with our conducted interviews. By writing about impactful projects, we hope to make an impact – to get the word out, to inform and connect people and to initiate collaboration between projects and partners that can benefit from each other. If you are curious about other forms of Impact Journalism, please join us for our panel discussion on Impact Journalism on Thursday, June 14, at 7 pm at Kraftwerk.
Sonja Bichsel, Storytelling, Communications, Civic participation, Education & Coaching