One step forward

Issues addressed:

  • to experience how people are affected by climate change in different ways
  • to show the unequal distribution of chances and opportunities and it´s consequences in the live of individual persons
  • to put oneself in the position of powerful/powerless persons in a society

Time: about 60 minutes

Group Size: 6-16

Age: 14-99

Material: 1 role description for each participant, written on paper.

Space: All participants must be able to stand beside one another and step forward at least 8 meters

 

Instructions:

All participants stand beside one another, forming a line. Everybody gets a paper which describes the identity of the person for the method. The participants get 5 minutes to imagine how it is to be the person described.

(It is helpful to ask questions that help them to identify with their role and to imagine being that person and to prevent the feeling of not being able to answer the following statements and to avoid the rejection of the role.)

Suitable questions: How was your childhood? How does an ordinary day in your life look like? Etc.

The participants may ask questions if there are any doubts. But they should not mention information about who they are at this point of the method.

In the first round the facilitator reads out statements related to the question who is affected by climate change and who has the possibility to protect him/herself against the negative consequences of climate change. (Important (!): Don´t tell the participants the topic of the statements!)

For example:

It was raining above-average this year, that has a strong impact on your live.If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

After reading out all statements the participants are distributed throughout the room because they have made a different number of steps (relating to their role). The participants stay at the place where they are and the facilitator starts to “interview” some of the participants (just 4-6 persons): To “interview” them means to ask the participants to introduce them selves (to summarize the role description).

Now everybody is asked to go back to the starting point (all participants have to form a line again).

In the second round the statements are related to the question who causes climate change or who is privileged and has not to care about consequences of climate change (Important (!): Don´t tell the participants the topic of the statements!).

 

For example:

You do not have to think about your water consumption. If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

 

(Information for the facilitator: The participants who stay near the starting point in the first round are now going forward.) After reading out all statements the participants are distributed throughout the room again because they have made a different number of steps (relating to their role). The participants stay at the place where they are and the facilitator starts again to “interview” some of the participants (just 4-6 persons): To “interview” them means to ask the participants to introduce their selves (to summarize the role description), not to evaluate or interpret the role or the result.

 

Evaluation/Reflexion in the end of the method:

The evaluation or reflexion of the method is made in several steps:

  1. The facilitator asks the participants to have a look how the distribution of learners is and to compare it with the results of the first round (the participants are still on their position)
  2. Feelings:

The facilitator first invites people standing at the front to share their feelings & continues with the learners in the middle and in the back of the room.

(Not everybody has to say something.)

How does it feel to go forward?

  • Did you think about the people staying behind you?
  • Did you look back? Why? Why not?
  • What do you feel about the people behind you?
  • How does it feel to stay behind the people in the front of the room?
  • How does it feel to be in the last range of the group?
  • Did you have difficulties with answering the questions? Which questions were difficult to answer?
  • Which role opens the particular person a wider scope?
  • What is missing to go forward?
  • What kind of restrictions do you have?
  1. Reveal the roles:
    • Then the participants who haven´t done it yet can say who they were or read their role papers loud.
    • The participants are asked to „leave their role identity“ and come back to their own identity. You can symbolically do this by „wipe off“ the role of your clothes.
  2. Discussion:
  • sitting together in a circle:
  • Which person (role) has more/less privileges?
  • What kind of privileges are these? Why have some people more privileges than others?
  • Who was more responsible for the causes of climate change and who was more affected by climate change?
  • Do you think the differences between privileged and non-privileged people are fair?
  • Do you think the person you played in the method has the possibility to live a self- determined life?

  • Do you recognize your privileges in your every day life?
  • Where is your position? (as the person you are in “real” life)
  • Do you know examples how people live, who are affected by climate change?
  • What are your possibilities to change something/to do something against climate change?

Evaluation of the method:

It` s a very good exercise, because it lets the participants feel the social differences from persons, who are in different ways affected by climate change.

It address the emotions of the participants. So, people also could feel bad in their roles during this method.

The role of the moderator is very important in this situations. He/she has to have a calm but consequent charisma.

 

__________________________________________________________

Attachments

 

Statements for this method:

  1. Round:

*Dismay/Protection

  1. It was raining above-average this year, that has a strong impact on your live.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  2. Due to climate change the living conditions in your country are deteriorating. Your financial situation prevent you from leaving your country to build a new life.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  3. Natural disasters as floods and landslides are directly affecting your life because they are right at your front door.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  4. Because of climate influences and environmental factors as long periods of drought and irregular rainy seasons, it is not possible to plan and manage your life/the next month.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  5. Climate changes affect your working environment and living conditions in a negative way. But you do not have the feeling that the politics and public take notice of it.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  6. The summer months become warmer, but you are not pleased about the weather conditions because you worry about your harvest.

If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  1. Round:

*Cause/Privileges

  1. You do not have to think about your water consumption

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  2. You have enough money to take a flight once a year.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  3. Due the globalization the transport of fruits from allover the world is cheaper and easier. That´s why it is possible for you to eat these exotic fruits throughout the year.

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  4. Do you have the possibility to afford (buy) more things a month then you actually need?

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  5. Do you feel fully covered against risks in your daily life?

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

  6. Do you have the possibility to turn on the heater or air-condition if it is necessary?

    If you agree with the statement go a step forward.

Role-Descriptions for this method:

 *You are an environmental activist from Denmark. Most of your time you are traveling around the world by plane to take part in international gathering and actions against climate change.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are living on an island in the Caribbean Sea and make your money in tourism. The increasing sea level and strong storms are removing your island. Furthermore the rising temperature of the water has killed a major part of the coral reef which is well-known as a diver´s paradise.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are living in a small city in eastern Germany. The flood 2010 has destroyed your house and your properties. Your insurance failed to pay all of your claims for compensation. Before the flood you have not been affected by natural disasters and you was not afraid of natural disasters because Germany seemed to be a place of safety. After the flood you have to rebuild your life step-by-step.

————————————————————————————————————————

 

*You are the owner of a sugar cane plantation in Brazil. The business started running well, because sugar cane is used to produce bio-fuels in Europe. The unusual long dry season this year has destroyed a large proportion of your harvest. You are planing to construct an artificial watering (irrigation) system and to grow plants which are more resistant against drought to be more independent of the climate change.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are the owner of a beach-side hotel in Costa Rica. The political situation is quite stable, so international tourism is continuously increasing. Especially tourists from Europe and the USA are visiting your country and hotel. Rain declined in recent years and you may extend the swimming season for your hotel guests. You are not affected by natural disasters in any way.

————————————————————————————————————————

*As a member of the Bundestag (German parliament) you take an active part in several meetings a week in Berlin. You have to take the plane to commute between workplace and home in southern Germany.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You have a small farm in the countryside of Germany. Four years ago you decided to convert the cultivation of your crops to organic farming. Success arrived gradually, because more and more people choose organic products.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You own a small boat to catch fish at sea. You are living in Senegal and you have to support your family. Storms are increasing in frequency and magnitude, so it is more and more dangerous to sail at sea.

————————————————————————————————————————

*Lack of drinking water causes civil war in your country. You decide to leave your region and flee to Europe. You have to stay in a detention camp in Italy and you are not allowed to leave it without permission.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You have a big farm in the Midwestern United States. You earn your money with grain farming and sell it on the international market. Climate change and increasing tornados lead to problems for your farm. But the government support you with money to adapt the grain farming to the changing conditions.

———————————————————————————————————————–

*You are living in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. You have worked as a taxi driver
to earn enough money for your family. But the government adopts a law to reduce the smog and Co2 emissions and you are not allowed to drive taxi anymore. You are unemployed now.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are working for a Nongovernmental organization in Germany which is involved in the protection of the rain forest. You will leave your head quarter in Frankfurt to manage a project in the rainforest of Ecuador for three years.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are the manager of a company which produces soya in Brazil. Your workplace is in Stuttgart (Germany) but you biannually travel to Brazil to conduct negotiations and to visit your company. During the rest of the year you are living and working in Germany. You earn a lot of money. But the increasingly heavy rain causes problems.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are 20 years old and you get involved in a Greenpeace group. You have started your college/training in Freiburg, you just have a small-sized income but it is enough to live on. From time to time it is even possible to make holidays.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are living with your family in your own house in a small village in the Alps. You are able to lead a good life. But the avalanche danger increases rapidly in the last years because the spring thaw starts earlier and more abrupt then in recent years. Furthermore the hurricanes has damaged the forests in the mountains, so they are not able to withhold the snow.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are living in Nicaragua. You have been resettled to a place outside of the city. The soil is not very fertile and in the summer it is dry. The water to cook has to be fetched from the well.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are working hard in a fast food restaurant in the USA. It is not possible to earn lots of money but your job provides the opportunity to sent some money to your family in Nicaragua. A strong hurricane has destroyed the house and fields of your family in Nicaragua. That´s why you take the decision to make the journey to the USA.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are part of a cooperative peasant agriculture in Peru, which was founded one year ago by some farmers in your village. All members of your cooperative farm their land together. That implies the possibility to grow a wider variety of organic plants and improve the quantity and quality of the crops. The cooperation improves the living conditions of all members and helps to find common solutions to solve problems.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are living in Costa Rica. The wood factory in the outskirts drains excessive water from the river, which lowers the water table. That´s why the last harvest dried up. You join forces together with your neighbors to protest against it.

————————————————————————————————————————

*You are 17 years old and you have four brothers and sisters. You are living with your family in the countryside of Honduras. Your family earn money with selling the own agriculture products in a small shop. You like to study architecture but your family does not have enough money to pay it.

————————————————————————————————————————

Leave a Reply