Franke James’ Green Conscience Workshops

by Franke James

Franke James green conscience workshop at Sierra Club Canada

students cutting magazines to create their green conscience artwork, photo by Franke James

“Your workshop was an awesome experience! It really made me re-examine my bad eco-habits and I realized that I don’t have to be an artist to express an environmental message through visual communication. Thanks, Franke!” Laura Woodward

At each Green Conscience Workshop, I start by explaining my Six Tools for Climate Change Art. The tools are intended to help anyone express themselves visually (even the most analytical “I-can’t-draw-a-straight-line” kind of person). Many people today are anxious about climate change and feel powerless. Making art can help you express your concerns — and share your ideas with friends, family — and possibly even a much wider circle.

I first developed the Six Tools for a presentation at the McMichael Art Gallery in 2007. Here’s what I wrote back then (and recent events have shown it to be truer than I ever imagined!),

“Artists can make a difference in the world. Think of this: If any one of us stands up and tells a group an idea we have, it may spread — or it may disappear into the ether. A far more effective way to make an idea spread is to give it ‘tangible form’. By creating climate change art our influence can stretch far beyond the boundaries of our personal circle. If others find our work to be moving they will share it with others, until our voice is amplified and our message reaches millions around the world. Unlike the scientist, we artists have the freedom to weave facts, opinions, thoughts, emotion and color all together. We can instill passion and motivate change. That is our palette.”

Take a look below at the students Green Conscience artwork. (And don’t miss the short videos where you can hear them describe their artwork themselves.)

And then think about yourself — “What’s bothering your green conscience?”

Green Conscience Workshop: Sierra Club Canada

My green conscience is bothered by…

All the stuff I buy!

My green conscience is bothered by…

Me leaving the lights on!

Iffat's green conscience artwork about conservation starting at home, photo by Franke James

My green conscience is bothered by…

My love of travel!

Fiona's 3D green conscience artwork about air travel, photo by Franke James

My green conscience is bothered by…

My wasted food!

Annie's green conscience artwork about food in the fridge, photo by Franke James

My green conscience is bothered by…

My eating meat!

Traffic light green conscience artwork about eating meat, photo by Franke James

My green conscience is bothered by…

My love of magazines!

2011: Six Tools for Climate Change Art

Six Tools system and illustrations by  Franke James

Six tools for Climate Change Art? What’s that about? Many people reading this — maybe even you — will claim, “I’m not an artist or an activist. I can’t even draw a straight line… How can I make climate change art?” Here’s an overview of my Six Tools from 2007 to the present…

2010: Ontario High School: What’s Bothering Gr.10 Students’ Green Consciences?

In May, I took the train to Belleville, Ontario and did a Green Conscience Workshop with Gr.10 Students from Moira High School. Below are three short video clips of students talking about what is bothering their green consciences. My main direction to them was to create artwork about something that impacted them personally — the more personal the better (not an easy thing for 16-year olds to do!). See the full post here.

Too Many TV’s Left On

Consuming Too Much Stuff

Clearcutting in My Backyard

And what did the teacher think?

2010: University of Colorado

Photo of workshop by Kevin Gilford at University of Colorado

In March, I spoke at the University of Colorado, for their Legacy Lecture Series. Below are a few short video clips of UCCS students talking about the artwork they created in my afternoon Green Conscience workshop. Thanks to Kevin Gilford at UCCS for the two photos of the workshop. (More to come on that trip and what I learned!)

Recycling Challenges in Colorado Springs, UCCS student, March 2, 2010

Meat-lover versus Planet-lover, UCCS student, March 2, 2010

Air pollution: UCCS student, March 2, 2010

Photo of Franke James by Kevin Gilford at University of Colorado workshop

2010: Canadian Ecology Centre

What bothers Science teachers’ green consciences? Here are a few short video clips of Science teachers talking about the artwork they created in my Feb.23/10 Green Conscience talk & workshop at the Canadian Ecology Centre. (See the full visual essay.)

Our Ride-on-Mower


Convenience packaging


I’m a POP-o-holic


Related posts:

More artwork and videos: What bothers Science teachers’ green consciences?

Visual Story: My Green Conscience in North Bay

Feedback from Science teachers: Read…

2010: Ottawa Workshop

Following my keynote speech, I gave a Green Conscience workshop for the science teachers. Below are some of the works created in the class by the Ottawa-area teachers.

My green conscience is bothered by…

photo by  Franke James

“My green conscience is bothered by waste. Lots and lots of waste.”

photo by  Franke James

“My green conscience is bothered by all the food that’s wasted.”

photo  by Franke James

“My green conscience is bothered by cars driving everywhere!”

photo by  Franke James

“My green conscience is bothered by asking my students to use so much paper!”

photo  by Franke James

“My green conscience is bothered by flying around the world!”

photo by  Franke James

“My green conscience is bothered by pollution in the air and water!”


My green conscience is bothered by bottled water.

photo by     Franke James

2009: Overview of Six Tools

Six Tools You Need for Climate Change Art (and Action)

Includes Twitter interviews, Bates College Workshop, and more.

The Ontario Teacher’s Federation “Climate Change Camp” at McMaster University has resulted in Sparking Your Green Conscience being integrated into a lesson plan for Ontario teachers. It will be available as a teacher resource on the OTF website in 2010.

2009: Workshops and Interview

2007: The Start

The Original Six Tools Presentation

Six Tools system and illustrations by  Franke James

Franke presents Six Tools for Climate Change at the McMichael Gallery.


“Rarely do the talents of a professional artist and educator come together in equal measure as they do in the work of Franke James. Her Six Tools for Climate Change presentation at the McMichael was the ideal vehicle for presenting complex material in a compelling and accessible format for everyone in attendance. Franke has the rare skill of presenting important abstract concepts with immediacy and relevance through her art. Simply outstanding.” Scott McDonald, Director Education and Programmes, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

“Thank you for the delightful presentation at the McMichael last week. My daughter does not consider herself artistic. Or did not until you showed your Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art presentation. Like you, she has a quirky sense of humour and sees the world a bit differently. You showed her how one can use WORDS and humour to make art and influence people! Many thanks for your energy and inspiration.” Carole, Parent

Questions about the Green Conscience Workshops, please contact Franke…

Contact Franke James:

40 Responses: 10 Comments and 30 Tweets

  • Tim Visher says:


    Great interview of @frankejames on her blog. Every time I see her in my feed reader, I get all giddy! :)

    Tim Visher


    RT @frankejames Q&A: Why make climate change art? Can artists help people see the writing on the wall?


  • GreenpeaceCA says:


    @GreenpeaceCA RT @frankejames: Q&A: Why make climate change art? Can artists help people see the writing on the wall?

  • […] woman named Franke James uses art to communicate the ideas in her head.  Through her blog, My Green Conscience, James uses visual images to express what words could not quite do.  She explains that she tried […]

  • Orsi Antal says:

    Dear Franke,

    Browsing on the net we were looking for “creative/motivating green communication” pictures.. We found your great site and were fascinated by your VERY cool idea of the green conscience artwork!!

    Just to be direct and short:
    Do you think we could use your idea to make our own green conscience pieces of climate art, involving large families all around the small country of Hungary?

    We are a Hungarian NGO called GreenDependent Sustainable Solutions Association and we’re currently running a Climate-club for local families in the town of Gödöllő. From May 2010 we’ll be doing a project titled “Big family, small footprint” with the Large Families Association of Hungary, educating and motivating big families all around the country to change the way they use energy and measure and watch their consumption.

    As a “let’s face it!” exercise we were thinking to try the “when does your green conscience bother you?” question with the families and ask them to make small posters about their answers. We would later share the final pics on the site of the project and also put a few of them in the final publication which will contain the case studies of the most “climate-conscious” families. The members of our association would do the exercise first, so that we could give an example of what it all looks like. We love the idea of doing it ourselves too, because creating a green conscience picture can also show that green activists are not perfect and harsh green at all, they have to fight their own consumer, lazy, wasting attitudes, such as curing spring depression with 15minute showers in the bath….

    Is there a way to “borrow” your idea for our Big family project and try it with small and tall family members?
    Of course we would refer to You, your site and your work!!

    Thank you very much,

    Best regards from Hungary,

    Orsi and Edina
    GreenDependent Association

  • […] “What’s bothering your green conscience?” Now, I give Green Conscience presentations and art workshops at Universities and schools in Canada and the USA. I shoot video of students talking about what’s […]


    i would like to be your friend at facebook….


  • Hi Franke James,

    i am an artist and Art Educationist based in Africa (Nigeria) on 10/10/10
    we broke the Guinness World Records for the Largest painting by Number, we
    had 350 volutees painting for 350 hours, and the painting ended 10/10/10

    i have been looking at browsing through your webpage and i found your work
    of Art so amazing.

    Please we will need your technical support for our next campaign in
    Nigeria for children (350,000 children) making paintings on how to reduce
    C02 to 350.

    we look forward to hearing from you.

    Adetunwase Adenle
    Project Coordinator

  • […] make spectacular artwork that they are proud of. It is very exciting to witness! (Watch short video clips of students talking about their art.) Click on the links below to see examples of the Six Tools in […]

  • […] driving! I watched her turn her driveway into an unpaved paradise . I’ve admired her workshops that provoke and inspire young adults and their green consciousness. I’ve even recommended her as a keynote to my daughters college and to the corporation I work […]

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