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Frequently asked questions

About the experience of The Week

Who is The Week for?
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Too often, climate change can feel like a big, abstract and even overwhelming topic. How do we start to wrap our heads around it, in the midst of everything else going on in our lives? How will it impact me and the people I love? The Week was designed to help everyone to engage with the topic:

  • You don't need any knowledge of climate change to join.
  • The process is for everyone, whatever our backgrounds, our religious or political beliefs.
  • It’s for people 16 years and older (more on this below).
  • The storytelling is focusing on North-America and Europe (more on this below). You can of course join if you live elsewhere but just know that the storytelling and examples focus on these two continents.
I don’t know anything (or don’t care too much) about the environment and how the climate is changing. Is The Week for me?
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Yes. You don't need any knowledge of climate change to join. We did the research and explain in everyday language what is happening and what we might do about it.

If you don’t care too much about climate change, you are still invited! For all of us, who created The Week, there was a time when we didn’t care too much about it either. It took us really grappling with the topic to truly care about it.

We believe that we all have a right to grapple with this. So that if things turn out to be as dire as scientists tell us they will be (and so far, their predictions were unfortunately pretty accurate), we won’t be caught flat footed, but can say “I have no regrets, I looked into this and decided what I wanted to do - or not do - about it”.

That’s what The Week is really about: we create a space where you can grapple with this topic, and at the end, decide for yourself what this means for you and the people you care about.

I already know a lot about the environment and how the climate is changing. Is The Week for me?
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If you are already very knowledgeable about this topic, you probably won’t learn much new information. But we’ve heard from many people that it was still a powerful experience for them to go through this all again - and it has sometimes deepened their commitment.

Most of all, it might be a tool you can use with family members, friends or colleagues who haven’t grappled with this as much as you did. Sometimes, it can be lonely when others don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see - or even dismiss our concerns. And it can be exhausting or frustrating to try to convince them to take the topic seriously. The Week can be a simple and effective way for you to invite them to look into this topic with you. We’ve heard from many people who’ve told us that it really worked - the experience brought them all closer together.

Why is it a group experience ? Why do you say: Don’t do The Week alone? 
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We created films that are not meant to be simply “consumed” before moving on to something else. They are designed to

  • Help wrap our heads around the complex problem of climate change.
  • Make sense of how it might affect you and those you love. 
  • And to help you figure out how you want to respond to it. 

The group conversations are an essential part of this. They turn the films into a much deeper experience than simply watching a documentary series.

Why are there three film episodes in total? Should we watch all 3 of them?
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We broke The Week into 3 episodes, because each episode has its own purpose and deserves some time to process.

  • In episode 1, it’s all about facing the reality of what’s coming.
  • Episode 2 is all about understanding how we got into this mess and what’s needed for us to collectively get out of it.
  • And episode 3 is about what each one of us can do, individually and with other people we know.

Watching just 1 episode or 2 wouldn’t make much sense. Just like when you watch a series on Netflix, you don’t want to skip an episode, or there will be gaps in the experience.

Why should we watch all 3 episodes over the course of a week? Why can’t I watch it, say, 3 Saturdays in a row?
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Coming together 3 times within a few days turns The Week into a powerful experience. When you come back for episodes 2 and 3, the previous episode is still fresh in your mind, the emotion is still there, and you might remember what the other group members shared in the previous conversation. When you spread out the episodes too much, for example letting a week pass by between episodes, the experience is going to be less powerful.

Why no binge watching?
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The topics we address in The Week are profound. Each episode brings up profound questions about our lives, our future and the kind of world we want to live in. It takes a day or two to sit with each episode and let it all sink in. If you go from one episode straight to the next, you won’t have time to process any of it before moving on.

I would like to host a screening

Is it easy to host a screening? Will I receive some material ahead of time?
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Yes, it’s really simple. You’ll find a good outline of how it works here. And when you sign up to organize a group, we’ll send you an email right away with all the details. It’s really pretty simple.

What's the ideal/maximum size of a group?
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The ideal group size is between 4 and 8 people, but you can have larger groups that split into subgroups. 

  • Below 4 people, the group gets really small and you’ll miss out on the richness that comes from having more perspectives during your post-film conversations.
  • Above 8 people, you can split the group into subgroups, or there won’t be enough time for everyone to share something meaningful in the conversations after the films.

It’s really easy –some people have organized groups of 60 people and more! For groups with more than 8 people:

  • You watch the movies all together. 
  • Then split the group into sub-groups of 4 to 8 people for the conversations.
  • We suggest you keep the same sub-groups for the 3 episodes. People generally enjoy staying with the same people all 3 times.
How do I select my group of friends or colleagues?
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You tell us! :) Some people choose their best friends or closest colleagues. Some people use The Week to invite people in their lives that aren't yet concerned about climate change. The Week is designed to guide you through this conversation with just about anyone.

What if the people I most want to invite are not into climate stuff?
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Well, you can still invite them. Worst case they say no. In your invitation, we suggest that you stress this: “The Week is about the environment and how the climate is changing, but what it’s really about is us and our future.” If asteroids or laser beams from space would threaten life on earth in the next 20 or 30 years, that’s what The Week would have been about. It just so happens that the climate crisis is likely to hit us badly, in our lifetime. None of our dreams survive on a dead planet. 

The Week is about being prepared. You can reassure your friend that: in the films we don’t tell people what to do, because we don’t like when other people tell us what to do. We just invite everyone to have the courage to look at what’s coming and then everyone can make up their own minds about what they do about it, or not. 

Why is it only for people 16 years or older? 
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These days, news about climate change and the continuous encroachment on nature is everywhere. Most children know about it and many feel some form of anxiety about what kind of world they will inherit. 

We believe that children have both a right to know and also a right to some form of innocence. They are building up resilience, as they grow up, and we should help them find age-appropriate ways to engage with the issues of our times. 

The Week is not age-appropriate for children below the age of 16. The reality we share in Episode 1 might be too disturbing for younger children. 

There is lots of material (books, films…) that has been specifically designed for children to wrap their head around this topic that you can use. Taking eco-friendly actions at home or in the broader community is a powerful way to build the children’s sense of agency and lessen their anxiety. It also helps them build useful skills they will need in the future. 

How about children 16-18 years old? 
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Yes, but for children 16+, we strongly encourage you to watch The Week with a group of adults first. You can then decide if you feel it’s appropriate for your child or children. 

I've heard that The Week also exists in German, Dutch, Spanish, ... ?
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Yes. Currently there is an English and a French version of The Week. The English version of the films also have Dutch, German, Spanish, Polish, Danish, Portuguese, Italian and Swedish subtitles, as well as English for the hearing impaired (and volunteers are busy on quite a few more languages). So if your group speaks any of those languages, you can participate too!

To organize a group in those languages, you need to register here on the English-speaking website, as if you were creating an English group, and then when you come together with your group, you select the subtitle you want in the movie player. 

So as an organizer you need to have a basic level of comfort in English to register and read the instruction emails we’ll send you. But people in your group don’t need to understand any english at all, because the 3 episodes and the short videos to launch the conversation are fully translated with subtitles. 

How long should I foresee it taking each time we get together?
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Each time your group gets together for 90 minutes. 60 minutes for the film episodes and 30 minutes for the conversation. Of course, you can extend the conversation time as much as you want. Some groups foresee 30 minutes and end up staying together for quite a bit longer. Some groups chose to foresee a bit longer after episode 3, to celebrate the end of it. It’s really up to you.

Do we really need the conversation? Can we just watch the films? 
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Don’t watch the films without spending 30 minutes in conversations afterwards. The conversations are perhaps the most important part of The Week. That’s where your group will really process the content of the films and make sense of it all. We’ve heard from many participants that The Week really was a powerful inflection point for them. This wouldn’t have happened without the conversation. 

Any tips on selecting the 3 dates for my group?
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Some people choose the 3 dates that they believe will work best and share those dates in their invitation. Other people use an online tool like doodle with a number of possible times to meet and ask people to say which one they could join - to determine which 3 sessions work best.

Do choose the 3 days within the timeframe of a week (that’s why we called this “The Week”!). When you spread out the episodes too much, for example letting a week pass by between episodes, the experience is going to be less powerful. Whereas when you come together 3 times within a few days, it becomes something quite memorable. When you come back as a group for episodes 2 and 3, the previous episode is still fresh in your mind. The emotion is still there. And you might remember what the other group members shared in the previous conversation.

Some people in my group can only come for 2 of the 3 sessions. Can they still join?
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It’s important that people watch all 3 episodes. If one person cannot make it to all 3 sessions, perhaps they can join another group down the road. If you really want that person to be part of the experience, then you could share the link to the episode they’ll miss and they can watch it on their own (in time to join the next session again with the whole group). But we strongly suggest you make this an exception. There is something powerful about the same group coming together every time.  

One person in my group had a last minute issue and can’t make it today. Can I share the episode with them so they can watch it on their own?
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Yes, you can share the episode with them. You’ll need to share your username and password for The Week (I know, it’s not ideal, but it’s the only solution we found). If it’s episode 1 or 2, ask that person to watch the episode in time for your next episode viewing. 

For online sessions, you say to use a Zoom link. Why can’t I use Skype, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams?  
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When you meet with your group, you’ll share a video through screen sharing. Zoom makes it possible for other people to hear the sound of the video you share, whereas with other platforms, people see the images but don’t hear the sound. (If you are certain that your video platform can also transfer the sound of a video, then feel free to use it. The combination Google Meet with Google Chrome can work too, but make sure you’ve tested this before you do it with your group). 

What does it cost?
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  • Free outside the workplace.
  • 20 €/$ at work.
  • 10 €/$ for companies that bring The Week to everyone in the organization or for groups when it’s not paid by the company, but by employees themselves.
  • 10% of your honorarium for coach, consultant, trainer or facilitator.

• If you use The Week outside the workplace – in your home with families or friends, in your community center, church or spiritual group, etc. – you can sign up your group for free. Yes, for free so no one is excluded.

But with this request to all participants: at the end of The Week, if you found it valuable – and if you can –  we ask you to make a 10 $/£/€ donation, or whatever amount feels right to you, so we can keep spreading The Week. We depend on your donations to do so. For larger donations, click here to see how you can make them tax deductible.

• When you use The Week in the workplace (in a for-profit, nonprofit, NGO, or public body), this fee applies:

20 $-£-€ per participant

Your contribution is critical! It helps us fund our core infrastructure and helps us spread The Week.

Reduced fee

10 $-£-€ per participant

• For companies that bring The Week to everyone in the organization (it’s our way to encourage you to do it)

• For groups in “grassroots” mode, when it’s not paid by the company, but by employees themselves.

10%

If you are a coach, consultant, trainer or facilitator and you sell services to clients related to The Week (e.g. , facilitating the 3 sessions or a follow-up workshop), the fee due is 10 % of your honorarium.

We ask organizations who can to support our mission by donating on top of the fee. Please reach out to us if you can make a donation. We have so many ways we can spread The Week into really meaningful places, if we find the resources to do it!

More information here.

The Week@Work

I’m the CEO / a senior leader of my organization. Could we invite the whole organization to watch The Week?
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Yes, other companies have done it. It can be a great way to elevate the whole organization’s energy and engagement.

  • One company did it in a structured way, from the executive committee down. 
  • Another one chose a grassroots approach where groups naturally form throughout the organization. 

You can direct employees at the end of episode 3 towards existing sustainability initiatives. Or use The Week to create a really ambitious environmental action plan for your company. 

Feel free to reach out to us. If we have enough bandwidth, we’ll be happy to think through which approach might work best for you and put you in touch with other organizations who already use The Week.

One more thing: Don’t make The Week mandatory for anyone. Extend a heartfelt invitation, let them know that it’s something that can be hard at first but really meaningful and uplifting in the end. Give them the choice to join. 

I’m an employee / manager. What’s the best way for me to bring The Week to my organization? 
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  • Often, the best way is to start by inviting members of your team to do it with you. If they like it, then you have a positive case example you can refer to when you try to spread it further in the organization.
  • Finding a senior sponsor can be helpful - someone in the executive team, the head of HR or the person responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility. 

The Week@Campus

Why is 16 years old the minimum age?
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The Week is not age-appropriate for children below the age of 16. The reality we share in Episode 1 might be too disturbing for younger children. 

There is lots of material (books, films…) that has been specifically designed for children to wrap their head around this topic that you can use. Taking eco-friendly actions at home or in the broader community is a powerful way to build the children’s sense of agency and lessen their anxiety. It also helps them build useful skills they will need in the future.

We are a student organization. Can we screen The Week? 
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Of course, go ahead. It’s free to use for student organizations (donations are obviously welcome to help us spread The Week!). There are just 2 important conditions: 

  • Respect the age limit of 16 and above. 
  • Make sure people know what to expect, so they can make an informed decision about joining or not. Episode 1 is hard and tells the difficult truth about what’s coming, but the experience ends up being really uplifting. 
I’m a professor. Can I use The Week in my classroom? 
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Yes! We are excited you want to share The Week with students. There are a few important conditions, though: 

  • Only use it with students age 16 and above. For students aged 16 to 18, consider asking for parental permission. 
  • Whatever the students age, don’t make The Week mandatory. Tell them what to expect (Episode 1 is hard and tells the difficult truth about what’s coming, but the experience ends up being really uplifting) and then let them choose to join or not. For those who choose not to join, offer them an alternative that is seen as equally valuable, so there is no hidden pressure to join.  
  • Make sure you have a 90 minute class or longer. Don’t let the students watch the films without the possibility to process them by sharing in a conversation right afterwards! 
  • Try as much as possible to do the whole experience, i.e. the 3 sessions, within a week. Don’t spread it out across 3 weeks. 
I’m a dean or administrator. Can we use The Week on campus?
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Yes, you can use it with staff or students or both. A fee of 20$/€/£ per participant applies for both students and staff. 

  • Only use it with students age 16 and above. For students age 16 to 18, consider asking for parental permission.
  • Don’t make The Week mandatory. It’s a very personal experience and it’s critical that people know that they are free to join or not.  

Someone invited me to watch The Week. What can I expect?

What is it? A film series? A group experience? 
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The Week is a 3 part film series, to be watched as a group. And after every film episode, we invite your group to have a conversation about it.  When you do The Week you’ll meet 3 times for 90 minutes (60 minutes film episode and 30 minutes for the group conversation).
It’s an experience that is quite unique and different from other docuseries.

  • The films are not a traditional documentary. In the films, there are no experts or celebrities that tell us what to do. Instead it’s ordinary people who share how they’ve grappled and made sense of this, and who invite you to do the same. In the films, they’ll talk to you directly and invite you to reflect and decide for yourself what you want to take away from this.
  • The heart of the experience is the group conversation that occurs after each film. That’s where you digest what you’ve seen in the film. Listening to how other people in your group react can help you clarify your own thoughts. We will suggest specific guidelines that make these conversations productive and meaningful and that will help give everyone equal time to speak.
Can I skip one episode? What if I can’t make it to all 3 episodes? 
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No. You should only join if you can do all 3 sessions. The films and conversations have been designed that way. If you only join 1 or 2 of the sessions, some things will simply not make sense. 

Why can’t I watch The Week alone?
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We created films that are not meant to be simply “consumed” before moving on to something else. They are designed to be watched with others. The group conversations after the films are essential to turn the films into a much deeper process than simply watching a documentary series.

Can my kid(s) join? Why do you restrict it to age 16+? 
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These days, news about climate change and the continuous encroachment on nature is everywhere. Most children know about it and many feel some form of anxiety about what kind of world they will inherit. 

We believe that children have both a right to know and also a right to some form of innocence. They are building up resilience, as they grow up, and we should help them find age-appropriate ways to engage with the issues of our times. 

The Week is not age-appropriate for children below the age of 16. The reality we share in Episode 1 might be too disturbing for younger children. 

There is lots of material (books, films…) that has been specifically designed for children to wrap their head around this topic that you can use. Taking eco-friendly actions at home or in the broader community is a powerful way to build the children’s sense of agency and lessen their anxiety. It also helps them build useful skills they will need in the future. 

What about children 16-18 years old? 
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Yes, but for children 16+, we strongly encourage you to watch The Week with a group of adults first. You can then decide if you feel it’s appropriate for your child or children. 

Could The Week be depressing or overwhelming? Things are already hard for me right now. 
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  • If you are currently  struggling with significant anxiety or depression, then it might be wise to do The Week some time down the road. Trust your own judgment.  
  • In the same way, if you are going through a significant change, say you are expecting a baby, see what feels right for you. You might want to focus on the joy of the baby and not engage with The Week right now. The Week will still be here when you are ready for it. 

To help you discern the right choice for you, here is what to expect: 

  • Episode 1 looks at the reality of what scientists predict will happen to us and our children. It’s quite scary. And yet, precisely because it’s scary, we believe we have a right to know. After all, if we have a serious illness, most of us will want the doctor to tell us everything, so we can decide what to do about it, even if the news is shocking at first. 
  • Episodes 2 and 3 help people process the shock. Most people finish the experience with a deep sense of empowerment and inspiration.

About The Week

Who is The Week? Who created it? 
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The Week is a nonprofit, run by a group of people in North America and Europe who woke up to the urgency of the environmental breakdown and felt the need to do something about it.

The idea for The Week originated with a couple, Helene Gerin and Frederic Laloux. After they first experienced their own “U”-shaped journey of grappling with this topic, they decided to share what they had been through with some of their friends. They talked for 3 evenings in a row.  It was during the pandemic, on video calls. The friends who participated were deeply touched. So much so that some of them started sharing the recordings of the video calls with more people. Within a year, through word-of-mouth, several thousand people had gone through this 3-day experience. Some companies started to screen The Week with their employees, a few professors brought it to their classroom, a CEO network screened it, a priest and a faith group organized a session…  

That’s when the idea emerged to turn the 3 zoom recordings into films. An Emmy award winning film team came on board and lots of people volunteered in many different ways to make the films happen. We created a nonprofit in Europe and in the United States, and today we are a small team of people who work to support everyone who wants to organize sessions of The Week at home, in the workplace, on their campus or in their faith groups. 

What’s your goal? 
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We feel that everyone has a right to know what’s happening with the climate and the environment. While many of us have a sense that things don’t look too good, it’s not easy to wrap your head around a topic as big as this one. It can feel abstract or overwhelming. We have tried to create a process that helps us make sense of it all and decide what to do about it. So that we are able to say, in 10 or 20 or 30 years: I knew what was coming and I’m proud of the choices I made. There is no doubt for us that, whether we like it or not, facing the climate emergency will be a defining adventure for humanity in the decades to come. The question for all of us is: What do we do? What’s our responsibility in this adventure? 

Why did you choose to focus on climate and the environment? 
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You could say that The Week is about the climate or the environment, but it’s really about our future; yours, mine, everyone’s. If asteroids or laser beams from space would threaten life on earth in the next 20 or 30 years, we would have made films to grapple with this and to find out how we could protect ourselves from it. So when people say “you’ve created a climate documentary” we still go “Really? I guess you are right”. Because what The Week is ultimately about is protecting everything and everyone we love from perhaps the biggest collective threat we’re likely to face.

So is this… just another climate documentary?
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We don’t think about The Week as a climate documentary. For us, it’s a group experience to make sense of one of the most important and challenging topics of our time. It happens to use a 3 part documentary, but it’s really about everyone in your group grappling together with this topic and deciding what it means to you and what you potentially want to do about it. 

What’s the difference between The Week@Home, The Week@Work, The Week@Campus and The Week@Faith?
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The three film episodes are the same. But we’ve tailored  some of the questions for the group conversations after the film, so that they are specifically relevant for the workplace, for example, or for students figuring out what they want to do with their lives. We also share specific tips and tricks for organizers adapted to each context. 

Why did you focus on the US, UK, France, and Germany?
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Because that’s where the team who started The Week is from. And it’s not a bad place to start, when you realize that Europe and the US have contributed a lot to the problems we're trying to solve, but also have a lot of the resources we need to solve them.

Other parts of the world - like Africa, Asia, Australia-Oceania, or Latin America - are already being affected by the climate much harder and faster, but we didn’t feel legitimate enough to talk about - or on behalf of - places where we don’t have much lived experience. Those of you living in Canada and other European countries might also find The Week relevant.

Do you have a political agenda?
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We have no political agenda. We believe this concerns everyone, whatever our political opinions. The only agenda we have is a livable future for us, our children and everyone else.

Is your science trustworthy?
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Yes, it is. A climate scientist and a conservation scientist advised us from the start of the project. All the facts we share in the films are based on solid science. If you are interested to read the scientific sources for these facts or to go deeper into any of the topics we talk about in the films, you can look up the film notes in the resource section on this website.

Is The Week a nonprofit project? 
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Yes. The project has a nonprofit status both in the United States (through our fiscal sponsor, the Open Collective Foundation) and in Europe. You can make tax deductible donations in the United States, Canada and many European countries. Donations help us pay the costs of our small team and share The Week with more people. 

Who funded The Week? 
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Because The Week is a nonprofit project, we had to finance the films with donations. We reached out to individuals and family foundations who are concerned about climate change, as well as small and large climate foundations, like the Cisco Foundation or the Climate Emergency Fund. We are very grateful to the people and foundations who took the time to understand what we are doing and decided to support us in making the films happen. 

How can we help you and help The Week? 
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In lots of ways! Actually, the whole next section of the FAQ is about how you might help us. 

I would like to helpThe Week

I'd love to become a volunteer and help The Week. What can I do?
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Just contact us and let us know how you think you might be able to help us. What skills do you have and what do you like to do? 

I have an interesting network (in my community, my school/college/university or in the corporate world) and I'd like to help The Week reach a large audience. How can I best do that?
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It's wonderful that you have a network that you can share The Week with.  How you can best go about it… you probably know better than we do! Who is the person (or who are the persons) you think would be best placed to help you? What’s the best way to start a conversation with them? It might just take 5 minutes to think about it, call a few people or send out a few emails to get the ball rolling. If you think we can help in some way, contact us and tell us more. 

I'd love to create subtitles in another language for the films. Is that possible?
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Hell yes! :-) Some people have already volunteered and created subtitles in several languages.  Please reach out to us and we can share a simple process for you to create the subtitles and upload them. 

I'd love to create a local version of The Week (I live outside of Europe and the US). How can I get started?
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Please reach out to us and let’s start a conversation. 

I'd love to support The Week. How can I make a donation? Are donations tax-deductible?
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  • We can accept tax deductible donations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. You’ll find more information here. [Create pdf document based on the prototype website]
  • If you live in Canada or other countries, we might be able to receive tax deductible donations, but only for larger amounts. Please reach out and we can explore things from there. 

What's your take on...

What's your take on environmental justice?
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There is a massive injustice at the heart of climate change, pollution and environmental destruction. The countries who are already suffering most - for example, Pakistan where ⅓ of the country was flooded in 2022 - are mostly poor countries who burn very little of the fossil fuels that are causing the climate to change. 

The same is true within rich countries. The communities who already suffer most from pollution and the consequences of climate change are working class communities, communities of color and indigenous communities, even though they have contributed very little to the cause of the problem. 

To fight a problem and injustice of this scale, we need all hands on deck. That includes

  • People from vulnerable, marginalized and rural communities. It is essential they have a seat at the table. They have much to contribute in terms of people power and hard-earned knowledge of how to find resilience in the face of disaster. 
  • People who are affluent and whose financial and political resources are needed to turn this around. 
  • And everyone in between.

In the midst of this crisis and injustice, there is an opportunity to invent better energy systems, food systems, consumption and production systems, financial systems etc. where everyone’s basic needs - which include health, safety and dignity –will be met. 

Are you anti-progress? Anti-meat (vegans)? 
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No, no and no. Progress can be fantastic – for example when engineers come up with ever more efficient solar cells. Just think about it: a glass plate that produces electricity when you put it up towards the sun!

And progress can be destructive – just think of the algorithms trained to exploit the weaknesses in our brains to make us buy stuff we don’t need or to polarize families and friends into opposite camps.

It’s the same with food production and how we raise livestock. With factory farming, it’s “progress” that destroys the planet and treats animals with such cruelty that you are no longer allowed to see how meat is produced. Regenerative farming is a different kind of progress, where livestock on farms help bring back life to ecosystems, rebuild the topsoil, and help capture carbon from the atmosphere.

Isn't overpopulation the main problem?
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No, it isn’t. As the problems of climate change become ever more drastic, some people will certainly try to find scapegoats, blaming the fast growing populations of Africa or the billion people in China and India. But the reality is that Europe and the United States have emitted 62% of all the gasses that have warmed our planet, when the whole of Africa only emitted 3%. The problem is not overpopulation but the energy, food and production systems we currently have. 

What’s your take on the environmental cost of renewable energy? 
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Switching as quickly as possible to renewable energies is essential to stop burning fossil fuels and overheating the planet. It comes with many additional benefits: 

  • Through technological innovation, wind and solar have become so cheap that almost everywhere, renewable energy is cheaper to produce than energy from oil, coal or gas.
  • The switch to renewables will come with immediate health benefits. Every year 9 million people die in the world from fossil fuel air pollution. In fact, in the United States, ditching fossil fuels will pay for itself, just from the health care savings from having clean air. 
  • According to Mark Jacobson at Stanford, the total mining burden on a planet that runs on renewable energy will drop by about 80 percent, compared to today with fossil fuels. Because once you have the materials to create a solar panel or a wind turbine, it produces energy for decades, whereas fossil fuels get burned and you need to keep digging it out over and over again.

But we have to acknowledge that while much better than fossil fuels, renewable energy is not fully “clean” or “green”. To create wind turbines and solar panels, we need to mine materials from the earth, and mining comes too often with environmental damage and human exploitation. Solar panels and wind turbines also take up precious land. As we enter this phase of massive energy shift, we must use this as an opportunity to minimize our energy use, taking up the least amount of space and causing the least amount of mining burden. We also need to ensure that all mining practices (especially those for renewable energies) are acting with the safest practices for humans and the environment.

What’s your take on nuclear power?
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We have quite different perspectives on this question inside our team - which is ok! From everything we’ve read, it looks like renewable energy alone is unlikely to replace all the energy we currently get from fossil fuel. Renewables would simply absorb too much land for solar panels and wind turbines. 

Nuclear power comes with no CO2 (once you’ve constructed the power plant, that is) but it is expensive. And while much safer in general than fossil fuels (who kill 9 million people every year from air pollution!), it does come with serious risks and the question of how to deal with nuclear waste. Could we reduce all our energy needs to power our lives with wind and solar alone? Will we need some or a lot of nuclear power? Will new types of power plants that are currently in development reduce the risks and nuclear waste? These  are the kinds of questions that lead reasonable people to different conclusions.