The following examples for structuring workshops show how the themes covered in this teaching material can be used to create a teaching session that lasts one double lesson (90 minutes). Environmental issues are best examined in the context of a series of teaching sessions, as this gives the group enough time on one hand to explore their environmental emotions and on the other hand, to reflect on their opportunities to impact the environmental crisis. Addressing environmental emotions may inspire in some members of the group a desire to take action. Because of this, it is recommended that, in addition to emotional work, an opportunity for planning and taking concrete action is also included in teaching. The content of workshops planned using these examples can be tailored to match the needs of the teaching group in question. If the group requires a more relaxed pace, the additional exercise(s) can be left out.
Table of Contents:
1. Environmental Emotions
Theme and goals of the session:
To recognize various environmental emotions, to share emotions with other people, and to increase understanding of the emotional landscape of other people.
Each participant says in their turn aloud one thing, large or small, that they are grateful for today (see the full instructions for the Gratitude Circle exercise). If the group members are not familiar with each other, the gratitude circle can double as a round of introductions, with each participant telling their name to the group. An alternative method to be used if the atmosphere in the group is not safe enough: each participant writes privately a stream of consciousness for 3 minutes, starting with “Today I am grateful for…”
Improvisation on Words for Emotions
Verbalizing mental images and associations inspired by words for various emotions (see the full instructions for the Improvisation on Words for Emotions exercise).
Introduction to Environmental Emotions
The teacher gives a brief introduction on why it is important to address emotions that are related to climate change (see the Tuning in section of the Stream of Consciousness on Environmental Emotions exercise).
Emotional Mind Map
Each participant creates a mind map about their environmental emotions, using the list of words for emotions as a starting point. The mind maps can be shared in pairs, or a shared mind map can be created using the AnswerGarden platform (https://answergarden.ch/) or some other word cloud application. (See the full instructions for the Emotional Mind Map exercise).
A Dictionary Definition for an Environmental
Each participant writes a dictionary definition for one of their own environmental emotions. The texts are then shared in pairs or read quietly individually (see the full instructions for the Dictionary Definition for an Environmental Emotion exercise).
Shared Emotional Landscape
Each participant underlines an important word or sentence that they want to share with others in the dictionary definition they wrote for the previous exercise. The words and sentences are used to create the group’s shared emotional landscape either as a text collage or a soundscape:
Text collage. Each participant writes the word/sentence they have chosen on a large piece of paper. The words collected from the group are used to create a word collage co-authored by the group, by grouping the pieces of paper either on the floor or by attaching them on the wall of the room. Alternatively, the AnswerGarden platform (https://answergarden.ch) or some other word cloud application can be used to create the new co-authored text. Finally, the teacher reads the text aloud, and the group discusses the thoughts inspired by the text.
Alternative 2 (for groups that enjoy performing):
Soundscape. The participants stand in a circle. Each participant in their turn says their word/sentence aloud and strikes a pose or performs a movement or gesture they think is fitting to accompany that word/sentence. The other participants echo the word/sentence and copy the physical representation.
2. A Sustainable Future
Theme and goals of the session:
To observe one’s own thinking about the future. To share thoughts on ecological sustainability and to expand the limits of imagination by coming up with skills and inventions of a sustainable future.
Poll: My Thoughts about the Future
The group stands in a circle, and the teacher reads statements about the future. For each statement, those who agree with the statement take a step forward and then return to their places (see the full instructions for the Poll: My Thoughts about the Future exercise).
A Sustainable Future Brainstorming Session
Each participant gets 5 post-it notes. In small groups, brainstorm answers to the question “If you could freely decide, what would an ecologically sustainable future look like? What would a future that maximises the well- being of both humans and nature be like?” First each participant lists quietly their answers on the post-it notes for 5 minutes (one answer per note). Next, the ideas are shared in the small groups by attaching the notes on a shared sheet of paper. The participants can group the notes by themes that emerge in discussion.
Alternative, anonymous method:
The brainstorm can be conducted with the entire group with each participant writing, either alone or in small groups, virtual notes in a shared workspace using the Jamboard application:
Learn about important inventions through the history of mankind and reflect on the role inventions play in the participants’ everyday life (see the Tuning in instructions for the Inventions of the Future exercise).
Inventions of the Future
Participants create new concepts and, based on the concept of their choice, write a description of an invention or skill that belongs to a sustainable future (see exercise instructions and guide questions for the Inventions of the Future exercise and the My Climate Skills exercise). The teacher can read aloud the text “Pleffort” from the Utopedia glossary as an example.
Freeze Frames on Skills
and Inventions of the Future
In small groups, come up with freeze frames based on the inventions and skills of the previous exercise. The freeze frames are performed to the other groups (see the full instructions for the Freeze Frames on Environmental Emotions exercise).
3. Me as an
Theme and goals of the session:
To observe one’s own environmental attitudes and to reflect on the various means of having an environmental impact as an individual to identify the ones that participants feel are suitable for themselves.
If Anything Was Possible
Stimulate imagination by coming up with creative solutions to facing the environmental crisis (see the full instructions for the If Anything Was Possible exercise).
Learn about Climate Activism
Learn about various methods used in climate activism and reflect on the participants’ own ways of having an impact (see the Tuning in instructions for the Climate Heroes exercise).
Invent your own climate superhero (see the full instructions for the Climate Heroes exercise). Characters are presented in pairs or in small groups.
Climate Super Hero Movie
Come up with a name for a movie starring the climate superhero from the previous exercise. Write a synopsis for the movie in about five sentences. If you have plenty of time, you can also design a poster for the movie, by drawing, for example, or by taking digital photos and using graphics software. Make an exhibition of the images and texts on the classroom wall and take some time to view them all together. If the atmosphere in the group is safe, each participant can also introduce their creation to the others.