Climate change can feel too big to resolve, because ecological harm is ‘difficult to see and comprehend' when everyday life and language contain little reference to nature (Perkins and Thorns 2012, Macfarlane 2015). This thesis aims to reinspire appreciation of the landscape through oral storytelling as a form of literary expression. It builds on existing studies, which define this practice as 'eco-storytelling' (eg Coleman 2013, Nanson 2014); but through a fresh theoretical approach, it identifies limitations in their model, and explores the potential benefits of a wider perspective.
Eco-storytelling studies illuminate an environmental perspective lost to urban society or language use, by promoting folktales from rural areas and the pre-industrial past. However, a combination of subcultural study and oral history theory illustrates that people did not only create folklore in the past; they continue to do so in modern life, as the intuitive creation of stories is a human reaction to existence (Eliade 1964; Peneff 1990; MacIntyre  2007). By extension, urban legend and contemporary memory should contain narratives that also express the spirit of a place, and might be equally as valuable as older literature in re-engaging people with the landscape. Omitting these from eco-storytelling runs the risk of ignoring modern life, and therefore diminishing one's proactive engagement with it.
This thesis will therefore research urban folklore and life stories, from which eco-storytelling performances will be created, to be staged in the urban/suburban area of Brighton & Hove. Audiences will be interviewed to evaluate impact on their environmental awareness, but will also be invited to contribute their own stories to ongoing research. Collected stories will be presented in an online interactive map of the city, publicly available as a learning resource: this significantly widens the audience and scope for impact.