December 21

Case: Lessons from the Green Week: make it personal, engage with the audience

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It is not often that a conference starts with a guided meditation session but that was the case during the webinar Beatriz moderated during the last edition of the European Commission Green Week last October. 

Climate change has taken over the political agenda across the world, and particularly in Europe, over the past few years. Partly due to the fact that it has become an avoidable major issue, partly due to the strong pressure coming from civil society -and especially young people. 

Seminars, webinars and conference about climate change, energy transition, the transformation of the industry to achieve climate neutrality… seem to be a new trend. But as everyone talks about climate, how to make it sexy?

In October, the European Commission organized a new edition of its Green Week gathering dozens of environmental experts who addressed a number of those issues I just mentioned. Most of the webinars looked very like classic conferences: introductory remarks, short presentations and virtual round table. 

Except one: ‘Lights off! A call for action,’ that Beatriz moderated. The conference was organized by Biodiversity Action Europe, a movement founded by a group of young people working to raise awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity as a way to protect the environment. 

With hundreds of conference very much focused on statistics, the whole structure was meant to go beyond data, make it fresh, dynamic, interactive by involving the audience in the conversation and helping them to establish an emotional connection with the topic by kicking off the session with a meditation session guided by Beatriz. 

The format included a quickfire exchange with some of the activists behind Biodiversity Action Europe managed by Beatriz to better understand their motivations to engage in climate activism and the fight to protect the environment, learn about their fears and the challenges civil society organisations encounter in doing their work.  

Building bridges between the audience, the speakers and the topic is extremely important to ensure the active engagement of the participants, especially during long conferences. To achieve a more interactive session connecting with the public is key. 

For the final political touch any conference on EU affairs needs, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius responded to the concerns the activists expressed about the role of the European Commission in enforcing the legislation aimed at preserving biodiversity. Sinkevičius too joined the meditation session making it all more personal and fun. 

About the author 

Beatriz Rios

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