by Barbara Zitzmann-Tengelmann, ESRAG Germany, Switzerland, Austria Region (D A CH)

In February, 2023, I participated in a conference on business ethics in Switzerland which presented the European Union’s ongoing research project to develop lifestyles consistent with keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the conference we used puzzle cards for developing our CO2 budget.

After returning home, I looked up other climate-related serious games and found Climate Fresk, which is a movement of individuals from all walks of life who are coming together to combat climate change. It offers a variety of workshops, discussions, and hands-on activities aimed at equipping people with the knowledge and tools to make a difference.  Climate Fresk inspires insight and action.

Available already in several languages, with workshops offered in 45 countries as well as online, Climate Fresk is a wonderful way for participants to deepen their understanding of the factors in climate change and discover how they can collaborate on solutions.

By the end of October, 2023, I had done three workshops in Munich as a pilot to see how effective this type of climate education would be for Rotarians. So far it has been a complete success, drawing members from more than ten clubs and four districts: D1842, D1841, D1880, and D1850.  On Nov. 26th, I’ll facilitate another in D1900.

In this article, I’ll explain what an opportunity this presents to the Rotary family. ESRAG Europe’s “Every Club a Climate Fresk” aims to bring this resource to Rotary and Rotaract Clubs, and to train workshop leaders, as well as to offer workshops in districts throughout the world.

Our adventure with Climate Fresk. Two days after I read about Climate Fresk, my husband Christian and I attended a Sunday- afternoon Climate Fresk workshop in Munich.  The workshop deeply impressed us and strengthened our awareness of our responsibility towards Planet Earth and how to promote sustainable living on this Blue Planet.

Three days later, I took the training to become a Climate Fresk facilitator.

Climate Fresk inspires insight, action

One of the first workshops Barbara Zitzmann-Tengelmann conducted with her husband at their home in Munich.

Two weeks after that, we invited friends and laid out the cards on our large dining table. It was three impressive hours filled with many insights and discussions. We continued the discussions about living well in a climate-friendly way over dinner.

In the weeks and months that followed, I became actively involved in climate initiatives, both locally and globally. I joined a local environmental group of Freskers, started volunteering at conservation events, and educated my friends and family about the importance of sustainable living.

The Climate Fresk rekindled my love for the environment and connected me with a network of like-minded individuals who are working tirelessly to make a difference. It was through this journey and my friendship with fellow Rotarians at ESRAG that I found my true purpose – to be a steward of the Earth.

As an active Rotarian and ESRAG member, it was clear to me that we should use this tool in our work for climate education and raising awareness, so I started the project Every Club a Climate Fresk. 

In October, 2023, I facilitated three Climate Fresk workshops – each for six people – with my husband in our apartment in Munich.  We were excited to draw people in major Rotary leadership positions.  These include  District 1842’s PDG Peter Wohlrab, DGN Ulli Kersting, and AG Ronald Heggmaier, D 1880 DG Sabina Gärtner-Nitsche, and Board Member Rossana Grosso  of RC München International.

On Oct. 25 Linda Gebser, DGN 2025-2026 District 1841 and co-founder of the “Synergy Rotary Friendship Alliance for Europe” and D1850 PDG Marja Ritterfeld, a board member of Rotary EndPlasticSoup attended.  Both saw the Climate Fresk workshop as an effective tool to gain an overall view of our challenges regarding the planetary boundaries and climate change, thereby increasing awareness and motivation to take action. Marja and Barbara also want to implement a”Plastique Fresk” workshop.

Dr. Michael Koch from ESRAG Europe attended our first workshop, and we decided to consolidate the presentation and promotion of our activities under ESRAG’s global project “Become Sustainable!”

What is Climate Fresk and what does it offer to Rotarians and Rotaractors? “Climate Fresk” is a global NGO dedicated to mobilizing people and organizations around climate change.  The “Climate Fresk” game offers high-quality climate education, based on scientific evidence from IPCC reports,  to identify actions that can be easily implemented in organizations and communities.

Over one million people worldwide have already worked this puzzle to better understand the causes and impacts of climate change. Climate Fresk workshops and facilitator training are already available online in more than 10 languages  and over 50 countries with 45,000 volunteer facilitiators.

The Climate Fresk workshop is collaborative, creative, and science-based. Participants can explore the cause-and-effect chain of CO2 emissions in a fun way using maps from IPCC reports. However, the workshop goes beyond understanding the causes of climate change, and actively promotes exploring opportunities for action and project ideas to combat climate change. In just three hours, participants work together to develop changes and outline transformation projects.

D 1842 DGN Ulli Kersting commenting during a Climate Fresk workshop

“If we want to shape a different future, we have to take responsibility for our present.  This is my central takeaway from the Climate Fresk, a game based on reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to identify causes and effects of climate change,” said DGN Ulli Kersting of D1842  after attending one of our Munich workshops.  “If we are affected today by hunger, droughts, floods, water shortages, or refugee flows, then the causes also lie with each and every one of us. Thank you to Barbara Zitzmann-Tengelmann for a playful, entertaining, creative, thoughtful, and discussion-filled afternoon about climate change and our direct impact on it.”

Why Play The Climate FRESK with Your Rotary Club?

  • Educate and Inspire: The game offers an interactive way to learn about climate change, its impacts, and solutions. It sparks discussions and inspires participants to take action.
  • Team Building: Strengthen the bonds within your Rotary Club as members work together to address climate challenges and develop innovative solutions.
  • Promote Sustainability: The Climate Fresk reinforces the importance of sustainable living practices, encouraging Rotary Club members to make eco-conscious choices in their daily lives.
  • Raise Awareness: Equip your Rotary Club with knowledge about the climate crisis and its social and economic implications, enabling informed advocacy efforts.
  • Advocate for Change: Use your Rotary Club’s collective influence and network to advocate for climate-friendly policies and initiatives at local and global levels. Develop changes and outline transformation projects.
  • Versatile and Easy: The game can be played virtually or in person, making it accessible and convenient for all club members.
  • Make a Difference: By integrating The Climate Fresk into your Rotary Club activities, you contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future for our planet. By becoming a facilitator for Rotarians, you can inspire and equip them to undertake hands-on climate projects.

Ready to take action? Email me to get started and bring the Climate Fresk to your Rotary Club today! Together, as Rotarians, Rotaracters and Members of ESRAG we can make a significant impact in the fight against climate change and towards a more sustainable, kinder world for future generations.

Barbara Zitzmann-Tengelmann is a member of RC Eco Planet D1900 in Germany She is in the LeadershipTeam for ESRAG Germany Switzerland Austria (D A CH Regions), and a business coach, mediator, chartered surveyor and a sustainability consultant based in Munich.