To be a storyteller is an incredible position from which to influence hearts and minds, and each one of us has the capacity to utilise storytelling for a sustainable future. This book offers unique and powerful insights into how stories and storytelling can be utilised within higher education to support sustainability literacy. Stories can shape our perspective of the world around us and how we interact with it, and this is where storytelling becomes a useful tool for facilitating understanding of sustainability concepts which tend to be complex and multifaceted.

The craft of storytelling is as old as time and has influenced human experience throughout the ages. The conscious use of storytelling in higher education is likewise not new, although less prevalent in certain academic disciplines; what this book offers is the opportunity to delve into the concept of storytelling as an educational tool regardless of and beyond the boundaries of subject area.

Written by academics and storytellers, the book is based on the authors’ own experiences of using stories within teaching, from a story of “the Ecology of Law” to the exploration of sustainability in accounting and finance via contemporary cinema. Practical advice in each chapter ensures that ideas may be put into practice with ease.

In addition to examples from the classroom, the book also explores wider uses of storytelling for communication and sense-making and ways of assessing student storytelling work. It also offers fascinating research insights, for example in addressing the question of whether positive utopian stories relating to climate change will have a stronger impact on changing the behaviour of readers than will dystopian stories.

Everyone working as an educator should fi nd some inspiration here for their own practice; on using storytelling and stories to co-design positive futures together with our students.

chapter 1|17 pages


ByPetra Molthan-Hill, Tony Wall, Helen Puntha, Denise Baden

part Part I|82 pages

Storytelling as a pedagogical tool (research and conceptualisation)

chapter 2|8 pages

The storyteller who wanted to change the world

ByRachel Howell

chapter 4|14 pages

Storytelling for sustainability

A definition and its implications for education and communication
ByDaniel Fischer, Hanna Selm, Anna Sundermann, Martin Storksdieck

chapter 5|9 pages

How to tell stories

ByUthpala Sankalpani

chapter 6|10 pages

Storying the past

Using historical fiction to teach sustainability
ByNikhil Chandavarkar

chapter 7|17 pages

Storying the future

Storytelling practice in transformative systems
ByChris Riedy

chapter 8|13 pages

Which work best

Cautionary tales or positive role models?
ByDenise Baden

part Part II|89 pages

Applied storytelling

chapter 10|13 pages

Examining sustainability challenges using science-fiction film scenarios

ByJeffrey Barber, Karen Onthank, Tony Wall, Nerise Johnson, Anna Mackenzie

chapter 11|13 pages

“The Future Has Gone Bad; We Need a New One” 1

Neoliberal science fiction and the writing of ecotopian possibility
ByAnthony Nanson

chapter 12|11 pages

Reading ecological memoirs

What narrative therapy can tell us about the power of discussing books in groups
ByAlette Willis

chapter 13|14 pages

‘Inside Story’

Participatory storytelling and imagination in eco-pedagogical contexts
ByMaria Nita

chapter 14|22 pages

Use of storytelling within assessment to support sustainability literacy

ByHelen Puntha, Anne Touboulic, Tony Wall

part Part III|208 pages

Storytelling through the disciplines

chapter 16|11 pages

The secret of dreaming

Introducing systems thinking and world-view
ByGrian A. Cutanda

chapter 17|12 pages

Using memoirs in science communication for transformational learning

ByAlette Willis

chapter 18|9 pages

Sustainable use of chemicals in practice

ByChalani H. T. Rubesinghe

chapter 19|10 pages

Cowboys, cooking stoves and corporations

Engineering a new future through storytelling
ByMike Clifford

chapter 20|12 pages

Going for a walk

Using psychogeography to explore sustainability in art and design
ByJoanna Cooke, Nicola Mace

chapter 21|12 pages

To invest or not to invest? Anita’s dilemma

ByMadhvi Sethi, Katrina Plumb

chapter 22|11 pages

Storytelling for complex sustainability perspectives in business and management

ByNerise Johnson, Anna Mackenzie, Tony Wall, Jeffrey Barber, Karen Onthank

chapter 24|17 pages

Storytelling in the field of law and sustainability

Five different stories about “The Ecology of Law”
ByMaría Dolores Sánchez Galera

chapter 25|16 pages

Stories for well-being, resilience and mental toughness in primary and secondary education

Ideas for pedagogy practitioners
BySandra Hopkins, Megan Bettinson

chapter 26|18 pages

Communicating sustainability and climate-change messages through 360 film and virtual reality

ByRebecca Cunningham, Cody Karutz

chapter 27|13 pages

Social entrepreneurship

A facilitator of social progress
ByPradnya Vishwas Chitrao, Pravin Kumar Bhoyar, Rajiv Divekar

chapter 28|8 pages

Accounting for the planet?

ByCaroline Aggestam Pontoppidan

chapter 29|21 pages

Using stories to engage and educate schoolchildren and teachers in sustainable development

ByJoanna Jones, Petra Molthan-Hill, Roy Smith

chapter 30|13 pages


Stepping into sustainable futures: actions, developments and networks
ByTony Wall, Helen Puntha, Petra Molthan-Hill, Nicola Kemp, Sapphire Puntha, Denise Baden