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CLIMATE FRESK – MAKING CLIMATE EDUCATION A GLOBAL REALITY

Author: Guest writer Aditi Jain Published: 12 Jan 2023


Climate Fresk

Over the last three decades, the term ‘climate change’ has traversed from scientific discourse and policy rooms to enter the vocabulary of everyday conversations. People from different walks of life are now aware of this concept, they get the sense that it is exacerbated by humans and affects them as well. The growing awareness of global initiatives like the annual COP summit is ample evidence of this. But there are still many gaps in our understanding of climate change, given its technical, social, political and economic complexities. ‘What are the causes and consequences of climate change’ is not a simple question to answer, but it is an important one nonetheless. While there is a plethora of literature to help find answers, it is rather challenging for a layperson to navigate through reams of research and reports. Enter Climate Fresk, a three-hour workshop, which effectively bridges this gap in understanding, in an immersive, engaging, and collaborative way.


Origins of Climate Fresk


The workshop is the brainchild of the French academic Cedric Ringenbach, and is an effective solution to the climate knowledge gap by making the expansive IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) more accessible for the public. IPCC is a UN-constituted body which publishes this report as a comprehensive compilation of global research on climate change, containing over 3600 pages. The report is evidence-based and the most well-regarded authority on climate change worldwide, making it an appropriate source for the Climate Fresk workshop. Cedric began working on the format in 2015, leading to the establishment of 'La Fresque du Climat', a French nonprofit organisation, in December 2018. In the five years since its inception, the workshop has reached 1.4 million participants in 150+ countries, making it a powerful tool to spread climate awareness. There are over 67,000 accredited facilitators who deliver the workshops in more than 40 languages.


Climate Fresk

The workshop is designed to ‘work with the head, heart and hands’. It begins with a card game that takes a group of participants on a journey of understanding the causes and effects of climate change using collective intelligence. They build a ‘Fresk’ of 42 cards on the table through discussions, shared knowledge and new information learned through the course of the activity, with the facilitator guiding them without giving direct solutions.  This gamified format makes complicated scientific concepts easier to grasp and retain. Once the facts are laid out for the participants, they are encouraged to engage with their emotions and unleash their creative side to express how they feel in the moment. This is an effective way for them to dive deep, experience and articulate how their relationship with climate change has evolved after playing the game. This also propels them to become more intentional and think of concrete actions that they can take in different spheres of their lives to tackle climate change. Considering that the topic can be rather triggering at times, the facilitators ensure that a safe space is created for all participants to share their ideas, thoughts and emotions without fear of judgement throughout the workshop.


Workshop audience


The workshops can be delivered in-person as well as online, which is perhaps why they have been so successful on a global scale. Along with the standard version for adults, there is also a simplified version for children aged 10-14 years. Since the format comes under the Creative Commons licence, it can be delivered in its original format by any trained facilitator in a voluntary or commercial setting. The only pre-requisite to train as a facilitator is to have attended the workshop. While there are plenty of public workshops by volunteer facilitators, the format has also been delivered successfully in academic institutions and companies such as Deloitte, HEC Paris and L'Oréal. In all settings, the card game remains consistent but the portion discussing emotions and actions can be contextualised for the group. These features give Climate Fresk a wider reach and flexibility.


Climate Fresk is increasingly becoming a tool to equip students with requisite knowledge that they can apply in their academics and career planning, as well as professionals who are able to grasp the dynamics of climate change more effectively and review their businesses and workplace practices through a clear climate change lens. Public workshops are also a constructive way to disrupt the feeling of isolation, as participants realise that they are not alone in the fight against climate change; working through the workshop with other individuals empowers them to think of solutions at a personal and collective level.


Personal journey with Climate Fresk


I came across the workshop as a graduate student in London and signed up to become a facilitator soon after. I have since conducted workshops as a volunteer and in UK’s universities as part of the organisation’s CEKO (Climate Education Kick Off) program. My most special memory to date has been facilitating a workshop at my alma mater, the London School of Economics and Political Science. With every workshop, my understanding of this vast challenge deepens, and my resolve to act on it strengthens. Engaging with so many people who care about the planet has reaffirmed my faith in the power of collective action. This has also been an incredible journey of self-discovery, of engaging with my purpose and finding true joy.


Climate Fresk has grown into a global community of motivated and enterprising facilitators; a melting pot of ideas that has led to numerous collaborations and initiatives to tackle climate change through innovative ideas that often go beyond the workshop. The organisation continues to reach far and wide as more people are coming to terms with the realities of climate change and are looking for constructive means to gain clarity and take tangible action.


More information on upcoming workshops can be found at https://climatefresk.org/world/registration-workshop/


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Aditi Jain is a LSE graduate in Public Policy, and facilitator at Climate Fresk.

Featured cover picture provided by Aditi Jain with approval from Climate Fresk UK.


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