Lance is working on a project that focuses on the human side of climate change — primarily the mental health impact of climate change on the underserved South Florida communities and on the researchers and scientists who uncover and have to deliver the gloomy news.
“I think these two groups, especially the researchers, are dealing with stress and grim outlooks that are impacting them long before a storm hits or a flooding event occurs,” he said.
As to the underserved, Lance said, “They are less equipped to deal with the day-to-day impacts of a warming planet (i.e. higher air conditioning costs, a lack of A/C, having to figure, prioritize and prepare for storms) versus other needs.”
“I’m proposing spending time with these folks to get a sense of what a day in the life looks like for a person navigating through hurricane season, or seasonal high tides, without a car or with holes in their roof as they try to provide for a family,” he said.
Lance plans to take a similar approach with the scientists, talking with psychiatrists and psychologists to see if there is an increase in the number seeking counseling or mental health treatment as a result of their work related to a worsening climate.
“I think there’s a unique approach and a way to humanize the people behind these reports so that folks don’t continue to think of them just as doomsayers,” Lance said.
He said he will be using video, including social video that will allow people to tell their own stories, along with written pieces, similar to other work he’s been involved in such as this video he worked on about buying a home in a hurricane/flood prone area.
The MJ Bear Fellowship Selection Committee said, “This is a very important topic on which he is using a new and innovative approach. While he is just starting work on it, Lance obviously thought strategically about how he will approach, develop and present it.”
Said Lance’s recommender Anika Anand — former product director at WhereBy.Us, co-founder of The Evergrey, and a 2014 MJ Bear Fellow: “Here’s a reporter who is consistently thoughtful about how Miami’s underrepresented communities are being portrayed in the media… Lance wants to push beyond the usual narratives and think big about how this storytelling could illuminate solutions and next steps for his fellow Miamians.”
Lance began his career as a reporter at the Miami Herald in 2013. He joined The New Tropic/WhereBy.Us as a storytelling producer in 2018 and was named director in May 2019.
He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in journalism, and of Columbia University, where he received a Master’s degree in journalism.