RC SDG 13 Climate Action Challenge Design Teams Work on Deepening Empathy & Reframing Design Challenge

Author: İpek İnci Özyiğit (Grade 9)

Editor: Barış Yazıcı (Grade 12)

RC Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity Office (RC SEIC) organized the second design thinking workshop with SDG 13 Climate Action Challenge Teams. In this workshop, RC SEIC hosted Ms. Dünya Önen, Mr. Holz, and Mr. Oliver from Robert College and Aysel Madra from Yuvam Dünya to open space for teams gain further insights into what is already being done to protect the environment at RC and in Turkey, which helped them deepen their empathy and definition work.

Biodiversity on RC Campus

Ms. Önen and Mr. Holz started by making a presentation on the latest projects of the RC Environmental Movement. Ms. Önen emphasized the importance of RC for gradual biodiversity change: “Our campus serves as a ‘protected area’ and a ‘natural history museum’ for informing the reforestation of the Bosphorus”. Then, she introduced us to the “Treasure/Field Map” that shows the topography of our campus in 1980. Robert College Environmental Movement (RCEM) is aiming to analyze the change in the environment between 1980–2021 and trace the trees that were preserved in the course of 41 years. By this means, they will try to document biodiversity in 2021 through creating maps, preparing information posters, labeling trees, preparing a virtual tour of the trees with their stories and determining the endemic species in need of extra protection.

Mr. Holz introduced a new project regarding Murat Karamancı Student Center. After returning to school, the RC community will be asked to separate their foods in four categories: vegetable/fruits, fish/meat, dairy products, plastic/paper. Hence, the organic materials will be used as a compost and meat/fish will be used to feed cats on the campus. This will decrease the amount of waste being produced in the cafeteria.

Mr. Holz’s advice regarding “composting in Turkey” is worth checking!: “Turkey Compost Book”

Yuvam Dünya

Aysel Madra from Yuvam Dünya was next to present. Yuvam Dünya is an organization striving for a transformative change in the fight against climate crisis at a macro level. They believe that we need to transform the narrative of our generation by taking immediate action. Below are their current efforts to fight climate crisis:

  • Integrating environmental education into MEB curriculum primary school level.
  • Offering an elective course on environment at middle school level.
  • Creating an environment themed board game to be played in primary schools to make students understand nature and Earth.
  • Creating an app that calculates carbon footprint.
  • Organizing trainings with Levent Kurnaz for business people and young people.

An Education Which Doesn’t Cost Our Planet

The last presentation was by Mr. Oliver. He believes that true education doesn’t cost the planet, which is why he frequently asks himself how to make RC Turkey’s first carbon neutral or carbon negative school. Also, Mr. Oliver pointed out a word which we should all know: Ecocide. It is the criminalized human activity that violates the principles of environmental justice. In order to prevent ecocide, we should make this statement by Mr. Oliver our life motto:

“We need to work with nature, not against it.”

After listening to the presentations teams worked on their empathy plans. They planned their interviews, did secondary research, implemented the 5 Whys method, and prepared a photo journal.

Presentation of Findings

The following week, in the third workshop, teams presented their findings to the big circle in order to get feedback. After each presentation, Ms. Önen and Mr. Holz pointed out different aspects of the issue that the teams can further explore.

Reframing Your Design Challenge

After presentations, teams worked on reframing a design challenge question, using this worksheet from IDEO Design Kit. The purpose of reframing is to develop multiple deep insights and synthesize them into a single design challenge question.

What is the biggest design challenge in your life? Have you tried reframing it? Share your comments with us.

Robert College Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Creativity Office