- Start with a short group discussion/brainstorm, and record answers on the board or flipchart:
- What is climate change?
- How long has it been happening?
- What does it look like?
- Split participants into groups. Give each group a number of scenarios (or pictures for younger groups) and ask them to sort them into two columns: ‘this is because of climate change’ and ‘this is not because of climate change’.
- Come back together and discuss the group’s responses – explore people’s reasons for their choices if there are any where people disagreed
- Assign each person a role from the attached pdf (you could do this in pairs for a larger group) and give them a few minutes to read through their role and think about that person’s life. Give them a sticker or sticky note with their role on so that others can identify them
- Ask a series of questions to the group and ask them to answer for their role by standing on a line across the room that ranges from “very true for me” to “not at all true for me”.
Questions could include
- When I turn on the tap, I get clean drinking water.
- I eat foods that are grown from all around the world.
- In my house we use oil or gas to heat my home.
- I drive a car that uses petrol or diesel most of the time.
- I fly on an aeroplane at least once a year.
- Most of my food comes wrapped in plastic.
- I live in a place where other people want to live.
- When I speak, most people trust my opinion.
- I am confident that in 20 years time, my living conditions will be the same or better.
- There is likely to be or already has been a natural disaster near my home.
- If there was a natural disaster near my home, I could travel away and stay somewhere else.
- I use lots of fossil fuels.
- When the sea levels rise, my home will be at risk.
- I notice changes when scientists tell me the climate is getting hotter.
- I have a high salary that means I am able to change my environmental impact through my choices if I want to.
- When I have an idea about changing the government policy, I can tell the government easily and I have a strong influence to change government decisions.
- I have access to safe and free contraception and family planning services (to shut down any racist arguments about population control in POC populations).
- I do not have the power or agency to make decisions that may significantly improve my circumstances.
- My status means I can influence government policies.
- As a business leader I choose how damaging my company is to the environment.
- I have access to expensive technology that could make a big difference to my carbon footprint.
- I can use my wealth to invest in green projects for the future.
- I am often told that I should take short showers and remember to turn lights off to combat climate change.
- I am often told that I should stop using plastic straws in my drinks.
- I have access to public transport but it is unaffordable or unreliable.
- I pay taxes to the government on all of my income which allows the government to have more money to make big environmental changes in practice or policy.
- I have access to public transport and I can afford it but I choose not to use it.
After each question, you could ask a couple of participants to explain why they chose to stand where they are standing to the group before you move onto the next question. Encourage them to answer in role if possible.
For younger groups, or if there are young people less able to engage with written information, you can make this activity more accessible by using pictures/photographs rather than written scenarios, and assigning roles to small groups so that an adult can introduce their role and facilitate them to discuss it before step 5 of the activity.
Take it further
Lead a discussion with the group to reflect on the activity. You might ask questions like:
- What did you notice about your character and where they were standing?
- Who has the most power to change things?
- Who has the least power to change things?
- How do we change that?
- Who is more powerful?
- Who is most responsible for creating climate change?
- Who is most vulnerable to its effects?
- What can we do about it?