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CLIMATE COLLAGE – EVENT REVIEW

Activity  Review

Author:

Youssef Hamza

Short summary:

The climate collage is an educational activity about climate change offered by Climate Fresque, a French NGO. We joined Camille and Benoit in Vienna in their monthly workshop and reflected on climate change awareness, community building and, most of all, cause-effect connections as crucial drivers of environmental actions.

One of the main obstacles that every environmental activist has to face is the lack of awareness in our societies. If we ask the citizen what is climate change, we would get an answer which is only approximately correct. We all know that we and most of the lifeforms are in danger because of our behaviour. Then, why chooses such a low number of people to do something about it? I think the reason it because we have not realized the gravity of the situation.
 
We are always focused on our personal short-term problems, concerns, and to-dos, so that we feel like not having the time for focusing on long-term processes. We hide behind the fact that we often don’t have the scientific knowledge for understanding the phenomenon: till we don’t understand it fully, we cannot be really concerned about it. Having a low scientific knowledge about the cause-effect links related to the environmental crisis is what prevented me for years from doing something significant about it as an individual.

As Green Steps, one of our main purposes is to promote a better connection between humans and nature. We aim to make people to realise the benefits of a deeper connection with our planet and we show them how much it has to offer. We do this because we think that the first step for allowing environmental actions is empowerment: only when we realise that the health of our planet is nothing else than our health, we find the motivation for fighting for it. Being aware of what is around us and what is happening is one of the keys of environmental action. That’s why last Thursday we decided to participate to the “climate collage“ workshop promoted by Climate Fresque in Wien.

First of all, what is it? Who are these people?

Climate Fresk was founded in France as an NGO in 2018 by the Swedish engineer, lecturer, and energy transition consultant Cédric Ringenbach. This guy had an intuition that was as simple as crucial: even in the context of climate change, seeing the problem with your own eyes isn’t everything, but it helps a lot. In other words, Ringenbach realised that the visualisation of the problem helps in allowing a deeper and lasting understanding of the phenomena. Simply speaking, it is easier to remember a concept if you store an image of it in your mind.

Climate collage applied this assumption to environmental activism by developing a visual and gamified approach. Their activities allow the users to gain a general understanding of the climate crisis through the construction of a “causal map” of the phenomenon. I was so surprised by how the complexity of the climate change crisis was made clear in its logical links. Knowing what is happening, empowers people to promote a change: after the workshops everyone was able to share this knowledge. And this is what makes the differences: people sharing their understanding with their friends, with their families, with their workmates!

I would say that the strongest point of the Climate collage as an activity is its suitability for both knowledgeable and less knowledgeable participants. Those who, as me, are not so familiar with the climate crisis would get to know its scientific fundamentals in an easy and clear way. They create a conceptual map about our impact on the environment just by interacting with the provided conceptual cards and with the other participants. Those who have already a structured knowledge of the problem get from the activity the opportunity of deepening their awareness and discuss about the needed measures that we could put into action as individual and as societies.

Where is Green Steps in this bigger picture? What is our role in the struggle for environmental promotion’s awareness? There is a lot that we can offer to this cause through our tools. One of the main vocations of the ARK, our app, is connecting people that want to protect the planet and enjoy nature. The so called “word of mouth” is the most ancient multiplicator. However, we live in a society in which it is not sufficient anymore, especially when what you want to be shared is such a crucial and immediate danger for all mankind.
 
Technology provides us with the opportunity of getting a bit closer (e.g., by social media), but we are using it in a way that makes us feel more distant. The ARK allows to take back that connection, both with our human communities and our environment. Commons are the pulsating heart of the platform: the idea is to take care of nature together. In the same platform you find simultaneously the tools for creating a bond with communities, taking care of a shared environment, promoting valuable events for your and other communities, providing others with the guidelines for the facilitation of successful environmental learning activities.
 
Having the Climate Fresk in our platform would be great for both sides. The more active communities join the ARK and the more the multiplicator effects of this platform increase. Hence, the more climate action is effective on a large scale. Conversely, joining the ARK is crucial for environmental stakeholders. In fact, it provides them with a space for networking, learning about other projects, and promoting best practices to turn their purposes into new effective actions. Climate Fresk is very active in France. Still, by cooperating with us it could broaden the public that they have in Austria for such a meaningful activity.

If empowering people through awareness is crucial to promote environmental action, connecting communities is the main key to make these actions effective on a larger scale. That’s what we do with Green Steps: turning separate waves into a single tide.

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