At the beginning of this year 2023, our founders, Benoît and Nicolas, redefined together evolving objectives in accordance with WebstanZ's values. No surprise given the current climate situation, one of these objectives is to become more aware of our societal impact as a web agency with a wide range of clients. In June 2023, we therefore realized our own Climate Fresk in our offices!
What is the Climate Fresk?
Created on the initiative of Cédric Ringenbach in December 2018, the Climate Fresk is a neutral and collaborative tool that enables its users to understand the most important points of the IPCC report in a fun, accelerated and simplified way. Summarizing a 2000-page report in 3 hours without making us brush up against indigestion: that's the challenge that UMONS teacher and researcher Sébastien Bette decided to take up with his team of animators.
In this article, I'm going to tell you about our afternoon from my point of view, as a participant.
An afternoon in three stages
Group selection and Fresk construction
We were split into 4 different groups, randomly selected by Sébastien and his team. Each group was assisted by an animator who was entirely dedicated to answering our - many - questions and getting us back on track if we made a mistake. The principle of this first stage is simple: a few illustrated cards are presented to the group by the moderator and placed on a large table so that the causes and consequences of climate change can be clearly identified. On the back of each card is a detailed explanation of the illustration.
The cards are presented in waves, inviting participants to think and help them build a complete fresk in line with current climatic reality.
This step enabled us to better understand some concepts linked to global warming, and also to put an end to some generally accepted ideas. For example, that livestock farming is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, when in fact it represents "only" 20% of the total, the rest being equally divided between industry, transport, and so on.
Customize the Fresk
Once the fresk has been built, it's time to personalize it! Using colored crayons, each participant is invited to link causes and consequences with multicolored arrows, to draw, to write, ... Each group thus has its own unique Fresk, to which it will have to give a title.
We called our own Fresk "IPCC more clearly now"... Don't judge us, we were a predominantly "yellow" team (if you don't understand this reference, I invite you to consult the excellent article written by my colleague Gwenaelle Weber about the Process Communication Model).
This customization stage is an opportunity for each of us to give free rein to our creativity and, in particular, to bring a touch of levity to the dramatic consequences of global warming (war, famine, disease).
Everyone in our group got involved: colorful titles, arrows in all directions, drawings... All the themes covered were depicted in one way or another.
A time for sharing and finding solutions
Once the Fresk has been completed, it's time for the wrap-up! Objective: to summarize what has been learned during its creation. Each participant is invited to target two (or more) cards: one for a point that has been discovered, another for a point that is close to his or her heart.
This is an opportunity for each person to express the emotions they feel in front of the Fresk, to share with others the actions they are taking to reduce their environmental impact, and also to explain why certain actions are not feasible in their situation.
Finally, a wheel of emotions and two illustrations are presented to participants, so that they can share their feelings about the current climate situation.
The afternoon ends gently, with this stage of discussion and exchange. Expressing our fears, our doubts and sometimes our hopes was a great way to end the workshop.
Not everyone felt the same way about the fresk. While everyone found it entertaining and instructive (hard to do otherwise, unless you've read the IPCC report in detail), many of us feel powerless when faced with solutions that are difficult to apply on our own scale, whether professionally or personally. Others, on the other hand, have taken the opportunity to set themselves new challenges and are more motivated than ever to re-think their lifestyles.
In any case, our founders are already in the starting blocks, ready to work on certain facets of WebstanZ's internal operation, which we'll be telling you about very soon, to improve our societal impact.
Besides, we're planning to keep the momentum going by taking part in the logical follow-up to the Climate Fresk: the Digital Collage, which is built in the same way but focuses on the impact of our digital uses on our environment, a key issue in global warming!
Enough to give our agency plenty to think about!
Although the reality of the situation may give cause for concern, I believe that the Climate Fresk is an exercise that everyone should do at least once in their lives, if only to understand global warming and discuss it in an informed way.
Solutions - however modest - exist to stop the machine in its tracks. The exercise we've performed together allows us to exchange ideas with other motivated and hopeful people, and can really provide the boost that some of us lack to act accordingly: eat less meat, use public transport if possible, isolate our homes properly... A sum of small actions that can have big consequences, if everyone joins in.
And you, what are you waiting for?