March 27, 2024 / Thought Leadership

Climate Fresk: Empowering Communities for Climate Action

Anita Freeman, Senior Account Manager

Aerial photo of groups of people standing around tables playing a gameStepping into a small church building on Technological University Dublin’s Grange Gorman campus, with a slight sense of anticipation, I was preparing to facilitate my very first Climate Fresk workshop. As the space gradually filled with a diverse mix of attendees – students, academics, comms professionals, and business leaders – we were all united by a common goal; understanding and addressing climate change. 

The participants were invited to form smaller groups of seven to ten people and then gather around an empty table before being allocated a facilitator. Despite this being a 3-hour event, chairs were not provided. This is not a passive type of experience! Over the course of the workshop, the groups were handed a total of 42 cards representing various stages and aspects of climate change, from fossil fuel usage to melting glaciers. Over the three hours, they arranged these cards to visually depict the causes and consequences of each, engaging in discussions about topics such as energy consumption, nuclear power, water cycle disruption, and deforestation. 

various cards on a white boardDrawing from reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Climate Fresk workshop encourages participants to explore the science behind climate change and arrive at their own conclusions. Since the workshops began in Paris in 2018, Climate Fresks are increasingly being adopted by public and private organisations to educate employees and spur people to take action. One and a half million people have taken part to date. 

In my role as facilitator, I was there to guide and support my group, occasionally steering them in the right direction and maybe most importantly, acting as a timekeeper; there’s a lot to cover! Having been a participant in the workshop myself previously, it was really interesting to now get the chance to observe from afar. My group (which included Vaunnie McDermott, our Managing Director of Connelly Partners Dublin!) debated the merits of limiting air travel and exploring alternative power solutions. And these weren’t just abstract concepts; they were real conversations about real solutions. The workshop isn’t just about raising awareness; it’s about empowering individuals to become agents of change in their communities.

group of people talking over a table with cards on it Sustainability matters and has become a central focus across industries, now being recognised as essential for long-term investment and strategic planning. Its influence extends to the choices consumers make, employee engagement, and long and short-term investment decisions. In my own day-to-day work with clients, I see the growing emphasis on sustainability across all briefs. No longer a buzzword, sustainability needs to be at the cornerstone of every campaign we create. By participating in events like the Climate Fresk and engaging and educating our employees, we can make real and tangible contributions to support our clients in their sustainability efforts.

I feel like a quote from a woman who has inspired me since I was nine years old is a good way to wrap this up. Jane Goodall, revered conservationist and climate activist, famously stated, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” While the scale of the climate emergency can seem overwhelming, gatherings such as the Climate Fresk provide opportunities for small groups to join forces and hopefully contribute meaningfully to positive change.