How Friends of the Earth used ‘Impossible Connections’ to encourage people to recycle

Stories change lives

This is number 1 of a 7 part series focussing on the most powerful stories charities can tell. 

For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have used stories to connect with each other, to learn important information and to feel part of a shared culture.

A love of stories is hard-wired into us and profoundly affects the way we operate in the modern world (for more info on this, and if you like a saucy title, please see previous blog – Why Stories are just as important as Food and Sex).

To state the obvious, it is really important that charities can harness the power of storytelling to open people’s hearts, minds and wallets. 

Over the next few blogs we will reveal seven of the most powerful story arcs that can help charities cut through the noise to reach and connect with your audience. 

If you don’t want to wait months for the full list – please email [email protected] to request a free booklet that outlines all 7 stories in one go!

The first blog in our series focuses on connections made between unnatural allies. 

Story 1: Impossible connections happen 

Summary
Stories that show emotional connections can be created even in the unlikeliest of environments, or despite apparent differences (such as class, location, race, status, etc).

Recipe 
Present two things that have no intuitive way of connecting with each other on an emotional level, and then show them connecting deeply. 

Tip
Romantic connections are often regarded as the most fruitful form, but they are far from the only option.
Consider relationships between friends, colleagues, family members, future/ past generations and even a connection with one’s own true self. 

Why it works
There is a deep human desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s a major reason why people follow fashion, champion sports teams or play an active role in their community.

It gives us a feeling of safety, support and significance. 

For most of human existence, these communities were essential to everyone’s survival which is why we still value them today. However, these communities can only function when we are able to connect with others.

By telling stories around seemingly impossible connections, our faith in the power of connection is strengthened. 

Movies love to show ‘impossible’ connections and some of the biggest films of all time pose the question: ‘Will these two manage to connect, despite all the odds?’.


In the movie ‘Titanic’, Jack and Rose connect, despite not only their class differences but also the biggest barrier there is – death. At the end of the movie, we see that she still loves him, despite his watery fate decades prior.

Charity example: This is a story we told with Friends of the Earth in our online video ‘A Love Story… in Milk’:

Mainstream example: Titanic