Climate Story Labs

Lebanon 2022

“Storytelling for Climate / Lebanon” took place in Kobayat, Lebanon, on September 5 2022, as part of the “Rural Encounters on Environment & Film - REEF”, which is the first of its kind event in Lebanon and the Arab world that is dedicated to rural life and its representation.

Purpose / Goal

The goal of Climate Story Lab Lebanon is to imagine together how Arab Independent Cinema can contribute to shifting climate narrative by organising a series of local gatherings in different Arab countries. Independent filmmakers will come together with environmental activists, organisations, and community leaders to listen to each other’s perspectives, needs and collectively brainstorm alliances and partnerships that can harness the power of film to change hearts, minds, and policies around environmental and climate issues in the Arab region.

A total of 54 participants among which were: filmmakers, producers, journalists, environmental activists & experts and associations working in the environment sector.

What happened?

The gathering included panels, presentations, film pitches and impact case studies;

A presentation on “Climate crisis and the rural life in Lebanon” kicked the day off followed by the Case Study of the Lebanese film: “Costa Brava, Lebanon” by Mounia Akl.

One of the compelling projects that participated was the film “Crops of the Road” by Karim Koleilat followed by a discussion and Q&A.

The second film that participated was "The Sheep from the Future" by Aya Jamalediine, also followed by a discussion and Q&A.

The case studies shared were; from Kenya “Thank you for the Rain” by Julia Dahr & Kisilu Musya and from the UK; People Vs Climate Change by Harriet Bird

We also curated panels on some of the current themes on climate narrative that are inclusive of the different stakeholders. The Panels topics included :

  • Using film for policy change with: Zeina Daccache, Moe Sabbah & Habib Maalouf

And roundtable discussions titled Mobilising Action VS what has been tried before around Forest/wildlife, Waste, and Forest/wildlife & food.

Projects Shared

Crops of the Road

by Karim Koleilat

This film chronicles the journey of Ahmad's family of wheat farmers from Deir ez-Zor to the Lebanese Bekaa, where only drought displaced them from their home after they resisted terrorism and many other phases of the Syrian civil war.

The Sheep from the Future

by Aya Jamaledine

In the Lebanese mountains, nomadic shepherds struggle with municipalities and conservationists over land access. Meanwhile, factory farming and import-dependence continue to threaten food security and climate. What can we learn from shepherds during a time of systems collapse? This is not a disappearing world, but an evolving one.

Emergent Themes

The effects of climate change on the rural life in Lebanon and the main outcomes were:
- Absence of laws protecting forest and wildlife, lack of awareness about Forest and wildlife. Forests and wildlife are in real danger, and people are not taking it seriously even when told about the consequences that affect them directly.

Taking Action

Main recommendation is continuing these conversations and try to use both sides’ expertise to affect policy and awareness on the environmental topics. We also found that we need to unpack related policies vs rights, categorising a land as a natural reserve is not the answer as it normally isolates the land, the shepherds and restricts farming cultivation. People need to realise how the environmental issues affect them directly and take urgent action.

Post Lebanon event action: We have one event coming up in Egypt and we will continue to support the film projects who want to create impact with their environmental films.