Climate Clarity’s Ash Goddard visited Weston Turville in Hertfordshire to deliver a community Climate Fresk for the local Climate Action group. The village may be small in size, but the people are mighty and active in their mission to tackle the climate crisis in their area.
The group drew together people from surrounding parish councils and villages for the workshop. They weren’t satisfied with the level of local awareness on climate and ecological issues, and wanted to build momentum and buy-in so they could push for real change.
Climate Action Weston Turville is a brilliant example of normal people organising at a local level to drive positive action on climate issues. It was a pleasure to work with such a passionate group.
Here’s an account of the workshop from one of the CAWT members:
‘We met for our Climate Fresk training in our village Chapel room on a beautiful, frosty, sunny day. 10 people gathered altogether.
CAWT has a working group with our parish council. In this group, we have experienced resistance to some of our suggested climate actions and felt that there was a lack of understanding of the issues and the seriousness of them. This led us to want to share a training together. One of us had heard of Climate Fresk and how good it is in helping people to understand the climate and ecological crisis, so we booked Ash to run one for us in the village.
Ash introduced himself and explained a bit about the structure of the training ahead. Although the number of people was small, it worked well as we were able to split into 2 groups of 5 and work on separate tables.
As we went through the cards, we were able to discuss causes and effects and join the dots of how various actions cause climate changes and these precipitate others, and cause feedback loops. It was empowering to learn in this way amongst ourselves. When we got things wrong, it was an opportunity for Ash to explain and clarify. Sometimes he did this by asking us if we thought this or that, eliciting the corrections from us and helping us to understand more deeply.
As we pieced the story together with the cards, you could see members of the group becoming more concerned about the enormity of the climate and ecological crisis.
We then enjoyed some time illustrating our Fresk, confirming our pathways with arrows and circles linking the happenings. It was a useful time for more discussion and consolidation, and time to enjoy our creativity.
After this, we had an important time of sharing how we felt about all this, emotionally. Ash asked us to get into groups of three and have two minutes each to express how we were feeling whilst the other two people actively listened. He explained how important it was to focus on what the person was saying and try to feel how they are feeling, without interrupting or drifting to our own thoughts. This was a powerful exercise in both directions. We had all been affected emotionally and sharing this was helpful. One of the people in our group said she felt enlightened, which was very good to hear.
I was impressed to see changes in understanding come over people who had initially seemed resistant and content with their own views. Having the Deputy Leader of the Parish Council in a better place of understanding will now give us backup to approach the others and offer the training to them too.
We gathered around one table for the final stage of planning our actions in response to what we have learned. Each person had a chance to talk about actions they will take personally, collectively and organisationally. It showed us that we do have power to take action for change on all of these levels.
All joined in with many ideas on different aspects of personal actions and engaging with family, friends, and the many local groups, such as U3A, WI, faith groups, sports groups, parish council, Bucks council, our workplaces, children’s groups such as Guides, Scouts, and schools. Some of us were interested in being trained to facilitate the Climate Fresk ourselves, as we’d be empowered to offer it to these groups.
Personal actions included insulating our homes, buying second-hand clothes, using repair cafes, understanding nature and foraging wild food, sourcing foods locally to increase local resilience, composting, growing heritage seeds, eating plant based diets, and preserving and increasing our wildlife. We discussed how our personal actions influence others.
Collective actions included having a community seed bank, community composting, a community car share scheme, improving public transport, pushing for improved cycle networks, setting up a community ‘library of things’, challenging our county council to divest their pension fund from fossil fuels, and activism to challenge our politicians.
The event brought us all together in a beautiful way with our shared concerns. We now feel both empowered and enthusiastic to each go forward with our first action. For myself, this will be the Climate Fresk facilitator training!’