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La Fresque du Climat

June 2022 by Nicole Baldwin

What is Climate Fresk?

The Climate Fresk is a climate science learning tool, consisting of an interactive workshop that covers the main issues within the IPCC Report. It is run by an international association, established by Cédric Ringenbach in 2018. ‘La Fresque du Climat’ aims to raise climate science awareness among as many people as possible.

Our experience with Climate Fresk

We first came across Climate Fresk through a couple of Carbon Literacy trainers that were also Fresk trainers and were keen to utilise Fresk within a Carbon Literacy course. One of those trainers, Ana Robb, created a course using Fresk as a base for the science:

“I have been a Climate Fresk facilitator and trainer for over two years now, and early on, I realised it’s an amazing tool that matches perfectly the Carbon Literacy Standard. I have tested it now, within my CL course, with over 50 participants (both online and in-person) and it works like magic. I’ve adapted slightly the three-hour format of the workshop, so the last part is dedicated to orders of magnitude and understanding the carbon footprint of various foods, items and activities.

“I would really recommend the Climate Fresk to any CL trainer as a perfect tool to deliver the science part of the CL Standard. In my opinion (and based on the feedback of hundreds of Climate Fresk participants), there is no better way for people to understand and grasp the – sometimes difficult – concepts of GHGs, carbon sinks, radiative forcing as well as the consequences all of those elements have on the water cycle, marine and terrestrial biodiversity as well as food production and human health and wellbeing.”

Then, after a chance meeting in the Blue Zone at COP26, both Climate Fresk and The Carbon Literacy Project realised that there could be an exciting opportunity for collaboration.

Our team were then offered the chance to experience an online delivery of the Climate Fresk workshop. Everyone that participated was very grateful for the opportunity to experience this slightly different way of communicating the science and witness the shared values between our organisations.

We found the way the story grew in complexity, as the workshop progressed, both challenging and enjoyable – this encouraged everyone to really get ‘stuck in’. Creativity was used to help us make connections and see underlying themes, which made us more engaged and added an element of fun and play to the training. This was not lost via online delivery, as the digital whiteboard tool allowed everybody to contribute to the same workspace, whilst being able to discuss what we were doing over Zoom.

The learner-led style of training encouraged unanimous participation, with many of us particularly enjoying the abundance of teamwork. During the workshop, we felt that the emphasis placed on discussing our thoughts and feelings around complex issues helped us to better process the information. We were able to see how this can help learners feel less overwhelmed by some of the trickier subject matter.

Key highlights of the Climate Fresk from our team:

  • Learner-led style
  • Consideration for everyone’s contributions
  • Clarity of interlinking issues
  • Effective use of creativity

Overall, we found the experience akin to a journey, both through the physical processes and complexities surrounding climate change and emotionally. Together, we ended on an empowering note, having reflected on what we learnt, and sharing ways we can act as a society to make a difference.

The outline of Climate Fresk training includes three key elements: reasoning, creativity and discussion.

  • Reasoning involves sorting through cards in multiple stages. As a group, the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of climate change are discussed and arranged in an understandable way.
  • Creativity encompasses the learning style, which encourages links to be made between the above topics and synthesises the complex information in a visual manner.
  • Discussion is incorporated, especially at the end of the training, to share thoughts and feelings about what the group have learnt, moving towards finding solutions to these complex issues.

The training can be delivered either in-person or online, where the digital whiteboard tool ‘MURAL’ is used as an effective learning aid.

Guided by a facilitator, the workshop lasts approximately three hours and can be delivered to different groups with varying levels of understanding. This is because either a junior, simplified or adult version can be chosen where appropriate.

Climate Fresk as part of a Carbon Literacy Course

Seeing how complementary our programmes are, the possibility for a partnership between Fresk and Carbon Literacy grew into an idea… Carbon Literacy trainers could use the Fresk workshop as a delivery method for the ‘Knowledge’ (science) section of the Carbon Literacy Standard. As Carbon Literacy training spans around seven hours, Fresk would fulfil almost half of the required time.

As a Carbon Literacy trainer, you may be wondering how this fusion of training might work. To address this, we are planning to run a demonstration Fresk process for existing Carbon Literacy trainers. In addition, we plan to assign those creating or adapting Fresk-based courses with a pre-filled Criteria Checker form – clearly marking where the Fresk training meets the Carbon Literacy Standard – so trainers know exactly what else they need to include in their course to achieve the Carbon Literacy Standard.

Once completed, our Criteria Checking Team would assess the completed form against the supporting materials provided, helping you by suggesting any necessary tweaks until it is ready for delivery. The intention is that once accredited, you would be good to go! If our experience is anything to go by, it is certain to be a memorable training, with plenty of potential for discussion and engagement.

Here in the UK a combined course has also been designed and trialled. Dr Rina Jones has created a newly certified Local Authority course, ‘Carbon Literacy with Climate Fresk for Leadership and Management’. This has been piloted with great success at Derbyshire County Council and will now be available to local authorities in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire through the Local Authorities’ Energy Partnership (LAEP):

“Thank you for a brilliant and thought-provoking session, the most informative and thought provoking I have received during my time as an elected member.” – Elected member

“Essential for all to attend, especially those in a position of influence and management.” – Head of Service

“I thoroughly enjoyed the experience – very remotivating.” – Assistant Director

Rina works in local government and has been delivering Carbon Literacy to officers and elected members since 2019. As a result of discovering Climate Fresk at COP she is also now an experienced Fresk facilitator and finds delivering the two approaches together is a powerful combination “From now on I intend to deliver Carbon Literacy with Climate Fresk as I’ve experienced a substantial shift in perception on the issue amongst participants and as a consequence an even more powerful commitment to action.”

If you’re interested in exploring Carbon Literacy with Climate Fresk for Local Government, get in touch with Rina at rina.jones@derbyshire.gov.uk.

We intend to continue to develop our work with Fresk, increasingly strategically, as there are clear benefits, to both organisations, our respective trainers and for our participants, to us working together more closely going forward. Watch this space!

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