'Webdoc' launched to boost anti-fossil fuel campaign

Tuesday, 19 November, 2013

The World Development Movement has today launched a new interactive, online documentary exploring UK banks' financing of the Indonesian coal mining boom.

The documentary, Dirty Money, combines photography, video, graphics and voiceover to explain the devastating impact of coal mining on communities in Indonesia, and on the global climate. The anti-poverty campaign group has used online storytelling technology to create a documentary that allows audiences to navigate their own journey through the material, allowing people to explore as much or as little as they want.

Viewers can choose from a wide range of interview clips, with indigenous people whose homelands are being destroyed by coal mining, people in the mountains of Java running their own renewable energy projects, finance experts and campaigners.

The documentary uses new technology that has been little used in the UK. This is the first time a campaign group has incorporated a way for people to take action within a webdoc: viewers are asked to email the head of HSBC bank to urge him to end the bank’s financing of fossil fuels.

Glyn Thomas, digital communications officer at the World Development Movement, said: "What’s really exciting about this technology is that it allowed us to put together a range of content on a complicated subject in a way that lets people really connect with the issues and the people affected. It’s allowed us to bring together the impact, the problems and the solutions together in one online tool.

"We also think this is the first time anyone has ever incorporated an email petition as part of an interactive documentary, allowing people to find out about the issue and then join the campaign afterwards.

"This form of online storytelling is a fantastic way to explain complicated issues to people because you can include such a range of different content. People can explore the impact of coal mining on communities in Indonesia before jumping to an interactive map looking at which UK banks are funding those coal mining projects, for example. And then they can read about some of the solutions, and join the World Development Movement’s campaign. But people can also skip sections if they want to and watch the bits that catch their interest. That’s the beauty of it – it’s not linear, it’s storytelling that lets you decide how you want to hear the story."

The World Development Movement is campaigning for the UK finance sector to phase out its financing of fossil fuels.