Abstract photo of a mountain lion

Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies

Our Vision: Stories for a Changing Planet

The Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) is an incubator for new research and creative collaborations on storytelling, communications, and media that contribute to sustainability and environmental justice. We are a diverse network of faculty and students from across disciplines who explore how today’s environmental challenges connect to longer histories of imagining and telling stories about the natural world. At LENS, we begin with the idea that these challenges are as much cultural and political as they are scientific and technological – the core idea of the Environmental Humanities.

Environmental changes are perceived, understood, and experienced in divergent ways depending on different languages, social structures, cultural practices, knowledge systems, and historical memories. The Environmental Humanities investigate these sociocultural foundations of ecological change. LENS specifically focuses on research, teaching, and public engagement around the narratives and visions that different cultural communities create to understand and communicate environmental crises and possibilities across a variety of media.

The projects LENS undertakes aim to:

  • Investigate environmental stories across different cultures and contexts
  • Research the impact of environmental media and communications
  • Teach multimedia storytelling
  • Create new narratives for environmental science, policy, and advocacy
  • Adapt environmental narratives to new media
  • Collaborate with nonprofits, artists, communities, and companies to create strategic environmental communication campaigns
  • Mentor diverse future sustainability writers, artists, and communicators

As a hub and incubator for the Environmental Humanities, LENS forms part of the interdisciplinary community at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES).

Cover Image credit: Lauren Strohacker and Kendra Sollars, Animal Land, Installation at UCLA, October 2016