Welcome to COAL
A Story to Spark 



This is a mythic time. Our future rests on collective heroism.


My name is Camila and I'm a director for COAL, a new approach to the climate movement. In eight years of climate activism I've never been so elated as to announce COAL's launch sites. First, I want to share why COAL gives me hope.


Three years ago, social change artist Molly Sturges began searching for ways to nurture insight in the face of climate disruption. Finding an opening in storytelling and music, she sparked COAL: a scalable theatrical production designed to inspire a culture of action.


Through a tale of young friends facing either a future condemned by addiction to a magical dark power--or one of interconnectedness, COAL offers us a lens to navigate our own predicament. It invites us into today's epic struggle by awakening the creativity, courage, and camaraderie of those fantastic childhood stories. Above all, COAL ignites faith that even against the most daunting odds, we can prevail.


70% of Americans share my alarm that our elected leaders have let decades pass while fossil fuel use destabilizes life as we know it. And yet people working for change find ourselves split in our search for solutions. For all our faith in climate consensus, many of us remain skeptical of the economic and political consensus about tools that could stabilize our climate by century's end.


This is why I love COAL: it is an on-ramp for anyone to join the climate saga, no experience needed. Here is the space to celebrate the values we share and team up for solutions. The forces devastating nature rely on dividing us. Art is the oldest tool available to joyfully unite behind our passions, and we believe it remains the most effective. Together we'll build our movement by singing our story of love for home.
Join us on the beautiful journey of COAL to ignite a culture shift in your own community!


With gratitude,


Camila, Molly and The COAL Team



Engagement team (Camila, Molly, Kristin. Adam not pictured.)

What is COAL?
A fun, family-friendly and mobile catalyst  

for new kinds of climate engagement

* Musical storytelling engages our hearts and imaginations. 
COAL connects us to the challenges of climate and to each other. It shifts who we think we are, and what we think we can do.


* Scalable from a single performer to a large cast.


Produce COAL anywherewith little to no cost, for diverse audiences of all ages.


* Creatively explore the paradox of extractive energy. 


COAL offers tools to connect with others, energy and climate education, and local and national solutions. Come together with partners, audiences and artists to foster the will for meaningful climate work. 


Help RENAME the Project!


We're considering changing the title of COAL in an upcoming branding process. Re-framing fossil fuels brings to mind The Vagina Monologues, yet people may hesitate to attend a show called COAL.How about The Spark, or Fable of the Firerock?
What do you think is the right twist? Email Molly!
COAL is a story about a frightening tear, a Great Tear, in the weave of the world - a tear we are currently experiencing.


The tale centers around our unlikely hero, a bumbling otter; childhood friends Olam and Ana, now young adults; and their adversarial sibling grandparents, Ellis and Pippa, who live on opposite sides of Mumblewood, a magical place of wise talking trees. Beneath the grasses and birdsong of Mumblewood is a three million-year-old ancient fern forest. Now that forest is a vein of coal, or Firerock, coveted by a large mining company. 


In our story Otter crosses worlds when the Great Tear happens, desperate to wake the humans to their impact on their world. Otter will take Ana and Olam on a journey to Otter-Side-Of-Things where they feel the interconnectedness of life and where the invisible is made visible. They will encounter Calamitus, learn about The Snooze, and meet Firerock. They will face heartbreak, insecurity, and difficult choices that bring them together when Otter's family suffers a tragic fate as a result of the impact of the town's actions. 


In the end, voices from local host communities help us all see that we can only make this road by walking it together.  


  • Orange County, CA 
  • Santa Fe, NM 
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Four Corners, NM
  • San Francisco, CA
  • New York City, NY
  • Greensboro, NC (pending)

The roll-out of COAL starts FEBRUARY! We will pilot the musical storytelling and public engagement project with a variety of communities, theaters, churches and schools.  


National partnerships may result in a large-scale action day catalyzed with COAL storytelling. With full funding we can also work in Kentucky, Montana, Utah and Oregon.


Contact Us to learn more, or host COAL!



Work-In-Progress Reading at The Lensic

Over 450 people joined us for a staged reading at The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe in February. Audience feedback has guided ensuing script development.


Webinar with The New World Foundation and Heeten Kalan

In May, Heeten and New World hosted a project webinar. For most of the 20+ participants, leveraging arts and culture is a fresh take on climate work.


Engagement Team Growth

Molly, Kristin, Camila and Adam met weekly to refine the roll-out plan and materials, and increased communication with the wider support team of over 30 luminaries, deepening our capacity and broadening participation.


Script and Score Re-Writes

In July, the creative team re-wrote the script and hosted a reading with actors. Daniel and Georgina met in NYC to finalize the full script, and Daniel, Molly, and director Louisa Poske are adapting a 4-person performance. Molly and Jamie Figueroa are creating a storytime version. In December, Molly and Luis will finalize the score and record new songs. All versions of the script and score will be publicly available early next year.  

COAL Creative Team: Georgina, Pat, Acushla, Molly and Luis (Daniel Banks not pictured)
In This Issue
What is COAL?
The Story
Project Launch: 2014
Reviewing the Year

Who's Behind COAL?


The Team: Molly Sturges, Camila Thorndike, Kristin Rothballer, Acushla Bastible, Georgina H. Escobar, Pat Moran, Luis Guerra, Adam Horowitz, Daniel Banks, Dylan McLaughlin, Peter Kent-Stoll, Jamie Figueroa, and Louisa Poske. Welcome to Tamara Bates, our first fundraiser! 


Special thanks to our partners, co-producers, and advisors: Bob Martin and The Lensic, Heeten Kalan, Gay Dillingham, Toby Herzlich, Adelma Hnasko, Nan Newton, Paul Hawken, Michael Montoya, Jaimie Mayer, Aaron Stern, Norty Kalishman, Beth Karlin, Heather Box (The Million Person Project), Joe Uehlein (Labor Network for Sustainability), Diane Karp, Rolando Brown, and many others.



Nathan Cummings Foundation, New World Foundation, Compton Foundation, Tyler Rigg Foundation, Anonymous Foundation, McCune Foundation, Livingry Foundation, Tides Foundation, Creative Footprint, and a wide range of individual donors.

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This is the time to be involved in the groundbreaking of a new movement.  
We invite you to become a key leader in COAL's growth.  
Your partnership will ensure that COAL becomes a potent force that engages many communities in making positive change. 
To donate, please click above and indicate COAL. We thank you!

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