October 12, 2021
Climate science is complicated and most people find it nigh on impossible to grasp all aspects of it, let alone work out what they can do about it. Which is presumably where the fast growing network of Climate Cafes has sprung from. Climate Cafes are completely informal local places where local people gather, ask questions of themselves and others, and share and discuss ideas for action amongst themselves. A simple but brilliant idea that is spreading fast across the country.
What is a Climate Café?
Climate Café is a space, for people to get together to talk and act on climate change.
Our Cafés are informal, inclusive spaces where everyone is welcome to join the conversation and get involved. Often they are local in their focus, connecting with wider climate action nationally and globally. Importantly, Cafes are apolitical and non judgemental. In communities, work places or educational spaces, a pop up Climate Café may be a place that offers an opportunity to get together for a regular chat and update on climate matters.
Most of our Cafés choose to meet monthly for a couple of hours. Many Cafés like to bring in external speakers to inform the conversation and action. Some Cafés choose to do this every time, while others choose to have more time to chat. The chat in Climate Cafés often leads to exciting ideas, projects and action. They are a great place to feature and connect with local projects and initiatives, support new businesses and hear from others taking action.
Each Climate Café will be unique to the people and place it is in.
At the moment our Cafés are meeting virtually, using zoom, and this is allowing connections to be made more widely too!
Why start a Climate Café?
Climate Cafés are a great way to get a climate conversation started in your community or work place. All of our Climate Cafés have got started with a presentation from a Climate Reality Leader that updates on the latest science, impacts and solutions.
For many, a Cafe is a great way to start the conversation. For those who have an established project or programme of climate action then a Climate Café can just be a space where everyone can come together for a cup of tea and a chat about their work or the wider world.
What do I need to start a Climate Café?
A Climate Cafe is simple to get started. We recommend that you work with 2-3 others in your community, who may be connected to different networks – that’s a great way to ensure that your Cafe gets going with a diverse range of voices and different perspectives.
Some Cafés meet in a local Café, if there is a good space and they are happy to host a gathering. Others meet in a community space, a community centre, town or church hall where you may need your own kettle, tea, coffee and biscuits.
When choosing your space, consider whether it will be accessible to everyone – check access arrangements; what acoustics are like; will everyone be able to hear each other; can you provide tea and biscuits for free, or a small donation and who will tidy up?!
When safe to do so, it’s great to support local Cafés and businesses, especially as we recover from the pandemic. Do consider whether drinks will be affordable for everyone and if your host venue are happy for you to sit chatting for a while.
Many are happy to host a Climate Café, and some may even provide a quieter space or a group discount, but always worth checking out the venue in advance and being thoughtful guests!
What is it like to go along to a Climate Café?
Climate Cafés are relaxed and informal, so you should be able to just drop in, have a cup of tea, and a chat – just like any Café. Every Climate Café should feel really welcoming, open and inclusive to all. It is a space where you should feel informed, inspired and able to get involved.
A Climate Café is not really a meeting space for lots of papers and minutes or actions! The role of the Co-ordinator(s) at a Cafe is to ensure that everyone gets to contribute and the conversation moves through the topics people are interested in. Expect the chat to be wide ranging and solutions focused, with a positive focus on what we can do!
In lots of Cafés, a project or event idea may come out of Café chats. If so there might just be updates at Cafés, with separate meetings to progress the project. Those who choose to be involved in a project can be, while the Café continues to be a place for conversations.
Co-ordinators may take notes on what everyone would like to chat about at a future Café, ideas for speakers, information to send or a need for more tea and biscuits, but that’s about it!
All Climate Cafés are responsible for providing a safe space to meet, and following current government guidance in relation to COVID 19. Climate Cafés are currently meeting online.
Where can I find a Climate Reality Presentation?
If you would like to set up a Climate Café in your community, we will be able to provide you with a starter pack and put you in touch with a Climate Reality Leader who can share a presentation on the latest science, impacts and solutions to the climate emergency we face.
Click here if you would like to find a Climate Reality Leader to do a presentation to help you get started or contact us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange that for you.
Here we share some helpful tips about setting up a Climate Café, learned from our experience over several years, with different Cafés and different places.
Climate Cafés can play a valuable role in celebrating and connecting people to local climate action. Instead of competing with all the amazing climate action happening already, they create spaces to connect with, learn more about and join others. Invite inspiring individuals, local businesses or projects along to share their story!
Climate Cafés can be a great way to keep the climate chat and action going. Tackling the Climate Emergency is going to take us all, and together we can think bigger and smarter! Sharing news, ideas, resources, actions can generate new ideas and energy.
Get Creative! Whether it is decorating new mugs for your Café, painting a banner for a march, sharing stories or making bunting to bring to Glasgow in November – getting creative gets everyone talking and brings new people into the conversation.
Be inclusive! If there are people missing from the conversation in your community, find out where they may feel more comfortable, what topics may be of interest and go to them. In terms of discussion topics, think of fresh prompts, talks and insights to interest everyone.
Here we share some additional resources which you may find useful – shared by Climate Cafés, for others that may find them useful.
The Climate Reality Project: – Request a free presentation from a Climate Reality Leader.
Check out our useful links for reliable climate resources too.