System Awareness Exercise

Climate Feedback Loops

Time: 30 minutes Group Size: 15+ people

The amount of warming that occurs because of increased greenhouse gas emissions depends in part on feedback loops. Amplifying feedback loops increase the temperature change, while damping feedbacks offset some of the temperature change. The melting of Arctic sea ice is an example of an amplifying feedback loop. As the ice melts, less sunlight is reflected back to space and more is absorbed into the dark ocean, causing further warming and further melting of ice. 


What you need: Place where people can walk freely without crashing. 


Aims: Help people learn about climate feedback loops | How change can be activated systemically


System Awareness Exercise:

Ask the participants to walk randomly in the room. Then tell them to choose one person in the room, without saying who, to keep the same distance from that person while walking. Ask them to choose a second person without mentioning who and now trying to keep the same distances from the two chosen persons. Tell one person to walk faster. Then ask another to slow down the steps. At the end, ask them how it was to keep different paces and focus on different persons at the same time, and what happened when one of them walked faster or slower.


*** This works as an opener to discuss feedback loops. One great resource can be this video from the Amazon called “Flying Rivers”: