Watch The Power of Stories: Writing the Future of Our Planet

Written by: The Exchange

Together, we are writing the future of our planet. In the same way that we are living with the deeds and decisions of the past, the choices made and actions taken by those of us alive today will bear direct impact on the generations who come after we are gone. But how we imagine our future and tell those stories can serve as a predictor of what is to come. As prelude to the first-ever Nobel Prize Summit at the end of April, Nobel Prize Laureate Martin Chalfie, screenwriter Joe Robert Cole, and novelist Kim Stanley Robinson will examine the way in which those stories have the power to impact our vision of the future.

Moderated by Shahzeen Attari, who researches the factors that motivate action on climate change, this wide-ranging and eclectic conversation promises to be hopeful, optimistic, and above all, inspiring.

This event will be co-hosted by The Exchange and the National Academies’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability. For more Information about the Nobel Prize Summit, visit the Nobel Prize Summit website:


Martin Chalfie is a University Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. In 2008 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his introduction of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a biological marker. He is the Chair of the Committee on Human Rights at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the President-Elect of the American Society for Cell Biology.

Joe Robert Cole co-wrote the Academy Award-nominated Black Panther, for which he received a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Award. His critically-acclaimed Netflix directorial debut All Day and a Night was released May 2020. He produced the Emmy-Winning FX series American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, for which he earned a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Outstanding Writing and is currently co-writing the sequel to Black Panther.

Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, best known for his Mars trilogy, Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. He was sent to the Antarctica by the U.S. National Science Foundation in 1995 and 2016, and is advisor to the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and the Sierra Nevada Research Foundation. His most recent novel is The Ministry for the Future.


Shahzeen Attari‘s research focuses on the psychology of resource use and how to motivate action on climate change. Shahzeen and her lab work on problems that draw on both cognitive and environmental science, and focus on perceptions, motivations, and biases related to climate change and sustainability. She is an Associate Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.