What is a climate cafe?

By Carol-Ann Allen

Psychology is not a profession of silence. It is a profession of conversation, of surfacing, sharing, and exploring feelings and emotion

Rebecca Weston, Climate Psychology Alliance of North America

A climate cafe is a facilitated gathering place where supportive connections are made through sharing our feelings about the climate crisis – feelings that may not be so safe or welcomed to share elsewhere. There is no other agenda, no pressure to take action, no need to bring solutions. No expectation to do or fix, just an open invitation to share for a while with others who also care.

At PSC we have long understood that keeping silent about climate distress magnifies the harm this distress can cause. As Climate Psychologist Rebecca Weston explains, if climate distress cannot be shared these feelings remain “unsupported, unacknowledged, sequestered from human connection and left dangling and isolated. And in this kind of silence, all manner of defences kick in. And most of them are not helpful in addressing climate change.

Our café is also a space for deeper listening. Listening is the often undervalued gift of deeper connection. We notice the need to be listened to most when that need is not met. In those moments we can feel the chill of disconnection. Perhaps you too have experienced this chill when your feelings about our shared climate crisis seem out of place or disruptive. Yet being witnesses to each other’s distress, we can experience connection, not being alone, not being crazy.

Climate cafés began as gatherings in actual local cafes. Through the pandemic, like so much else, climate cafes have gone online. While the actual smell of the coffee or temptations in the pastry display may be missing, online cafés have provided opportunities to meet together across distance and borders, and even time zones.

PSC’s cafés are among the first to be regularly offered here in Australia. They provide an opportunity to share local concerns about what is happening here on our frontline continent, in our regions and neighbourhoods. These are small monthly gatherings, modest in scale, a human-sized response in the midst of a global crisis. Yet these small gatherings are not isolated. We gather as part of a growing global community conversation, taking place in hundreds of other small cafes springing up across this precious planet. Concerned people talking and listening together, sharing, connecting, making a difference for each other.

You are very welcome to join us, and experience being part of this growing community of mutual care.

PSC’s climate café is open on the fourth Sunday every month, at 3:30pm AEST. You can reserve your seat around our virtual table here. And please share this link to our café with friends, family, neighbours, colleagues.

Connection makes a powerful difference as we face the climate realities together.

We hope to welcome you soon.

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