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Following FRESK

Climate Fresk is an NGO that was founded by Cedric Ringenbach in 2018. The aim is to increase climate change awareness and a shared understanding of the challenge that climate change represents. This is to be done through an interactive workshop.
France is the main driving force of this NGO with almost 30,000 facilitators and over half a million workshop participants so far. However, it is becoming increasingly well-known worldwide as there are now 6,000 facilitators in over 55 countries.

The workshops have been developed from scientific information taken from the IPCC reports. One of the main reasons for their success is that participants have to take an active role to understand the information presented and then work as a team to put forward workable solutions.

www.climatefresk.org

Why did you join Climate Fresk?

In 2021, all my friends in France were talking about Climate Fresk, so I decided to join an online workshop in November and see what all the fuss was about. For me, it was a great experience and I decided then and there that I wanted to offer the workshops here in Taiwan.

What is the aim of the workshop?

The main idea is to increase people’s awareness of the problems surrounding climate change and plant the seeds of ideas for action. My aims as a facilitator are to ensure people have fun while learning something. I hope they will feel a sense of achievement at the end and be inspired to act.

What does the workshop entail?

I think it’s best described as a three-hour workshop to build a giant interactive puzzle that you have to work through. There are 42 cards and, through different stages, you work together to order them and discuss causes, effects and consequences. The group decorates the Fresk by letting its imagination run wild and gives it a title. At the end, there is a debrief where you discuss individual or collective actions to be taken to fight against climate change.
It can be done in person or online. The format can be adapted to suit all types of audiences: corporate, public institutions, schools, etc.

When you took part in the workshop, what actions did you come up with?

First, I registered myself for the Climate Fresk Facilitator Training! Secondly, I calculated my individual carbon footprint to visualize the mix between what would be easy to implement and what would have the most impact. I bought quite a few vegetarian cookbooks and have tried a lot of new recipes since then. I decided to decrease our family’s meat consumption – especially beef. In terms of transport, we also try to walk, cycle and take the train rather than use the car where possible. However, the main change is in our consumption pattern and routine. Before buying something we will ask ourselves, Do I need this? Do I have similar items? Where does it come from?

Have you had any surprises since running the workshops?

I love how, despite using the same cards, every workshop produces a different Fresk diagram and title. The titles range from the more obvious such as ‘A Human Problem’ to the very creative like ‘CO2 My Love’.
Also, we often have participants with different backgrounds and different levels of knowledge about climate issues, from those who know very little to scientists or teachers who have studied the subject. However, everyone learns something new in the workshop as it provides an overview of the whole issue and people have very different ideas, so it’s great.

Finally, people’s reactions at the end of the workshop vary a great deal. Some can feel a little down as they realize the size of the problem, others feel elated as they see solutions.

Are the workshops just for adults?

I have two different sets of cards. So I can run a workshop for adults or children. What I want to emphasize is that the time to act is now. Many people say ‘this would be great for the kids’ and I agree. However, we also need today’s parents to act now and instill new habits in their children, so that taking care of the environment is the norm for them when they grow up.

Is special training involved to lead these workshops?

Yes. I completed the facilitator training online in December 2021 and led my first workshop in January. I held it at home with friends and family and it was a success so then I continued with other groups. After about six months I started doing corporate workshops as well. I have now facilitated more than 30 workshops and completed the required training to teach others to be facilitators. So, if you want to become a facilitator here in Taiwan you can train with me!

Who is part of the team in Taiwan?

Climate Fresk has been running with enthusiasm and energy in Taiwan since 2022. The team here consists of several junior facilitators, a few experienced ones and myself as a certified trainer. We can conduct workshops in French, English and Chinese. We have organized monthly workshops for the general public, universities and high schools and administrators as well as companies from various sectors. Now that we are able to train future facilitators, (known as Freskers) we have already held our first training of 2023 and enabled students from NTU to join the community of Freskers in Taiwan.

Agnes Pondaven is the Taiwan Coordinator of Climate Fresk and the CEO of Qualibri consulting. She’s passionate about the environment and social responsibility and she puts all her positive energy into spreading the Climate Fresk dynamic around Taiwan. This is our chat about her experience with Climate Fresk.

Lucy Torres is the Programs Manager at The Center and enjoys organising different activities and events that cover topics from Taiwanese culture to environmental awareness.

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