Here at ZERO, I think you’ll agree that we like to do things a bit differently, so when we heard about Climate Fresk, the latest interactive climate awareness workshop that’s been taking the world by storm, we knew we wanted in! Our volunteer Fiona unpacks the concept and lets you know what to expect.
I signed up to attend Climate Fresk because another volunteer had recommended it to me. I’d heard it was unlike any other workshop you might attend on climate change, and was relieved I wouldn’t be sitting through three hours of death-by-PowerPoint. I needn’t have worried on that count, since I actually didn’t sit down once throughout!
The Climate Fresk concept is the brainchild of climate engineer and consultant Cédric Ringenbach, who first developed the concept in 2015 whilst looking for a practical way to explain the nature of climate issues with a group of his students. The concept uses a variety of flashcards to aid discussions around the causes and effects of the climate crisis, with data from the IPCC, and Ringenbach found it was a hit. The company was then formed in 2018, and is now active in over 40 countries with over 80,000 participants, many of whom have then gone on to become Climate Fresk facilitators themselves. From schools and universities to corporate giants wanting to make better choices, the appeal of Climate Fesk is clear: a scientifically backed, quick and innovative way to increase people’s scientific knowledge, have nuanced conversations and make informed choices for the planet.
I do lots of things day to day to try to minimise my impact, but before attending Climate Fresk, I’d say my knowledge on climate issues was very practically focused. I knew we should be aiming for more of this and less of that, but couldn’t always tell you why. Working in groups to complete the tasks was great, as you could pool knowledge with other people and gently navigate through the more complex terms and ideas – I realised just how little I really knew about the climate emergency. Guided by the knowledgeable Fresk facilitators, we were able to appreciate just the sheer interconnectedness of the issue, and have big ideas broken down into bite-sized pieces.
It’s very easy for workshops like this to feel very doom and gloom, and whilst I can’t say the morning didn’t leave me with mixed and slightly heavy feelings of responsibility, the second half of the workshop is structured to address this. Giving space for processing and talking about feelings, and taking meaningful action, is massively important when you consider the task at hand. I’ve taken away a wealth of new understanding in terms of the science, and actions I can take that I previously hadn’t considered, or didn’t know were that impactful (for example, moving your banking and pensions is twenty-two times more beneficial for the planet than giving up meat). And whilst knowledge can sometimes feel scary, it also puts the power of decision making back into our hands.
Overall, I think the approach of Climate Fresk is a really great one if, like me, you don’t consider yourself scientifically minded, and feel like that may limit you in what you can do. The workshop shows you don’t need to be an expert to take action, and also, that you can only do what’s within your power at the time. If you want to gain better understanding of the global issues, spark conversation and learn how you can contribute to climate solutions, sign up for the next Climate Fresk below.