“Facing the climate crisis is so much easier in good company”

“Facing the climate crisis is so much easier in good company”
Katharine Lewis
16 April 2024
3 minute read

Climate cafés are simple, hospitable, empathetic spaces where fears and uncertainties about our climate and ecological crisis can be safely expressed. Katharine Lewis of Helston Climate Action group shares about project, made possible by Transition Together seed funding, to roll out a network of climate cafes across Cornwall.

Last Saturday was the first of Climate Café facilitator training workshops organised by Transitioners in Cornwall. Our venue was Friends Meeting House in Marazion, West Cornwall, a beautiful old meeting house sits on the hillside overlooking St Michael’s Mount, and seemed a fitting location for our first training. We have held several Climate Cafés there and have had such a warm welcome from the Quaker community.

A table set with a cloth, vase of daffodils, a candle, jug of water and small items from nature, a pine cone, stone, sprig of rosemary, a shell.
The table is set for the climate cafe facilitator, with water, light and items from nature.

Fi and I arrived at low tide to find notices on the seafront saying that the Mount was closed today, the incoming Storm Kathleen making passage to the island impossible. The meeting house was warm and cosy though, and we just had time to set up the space and put the kettle on before people started arriving.

When we advertised the workshop we didn’t know who would come, who would want to train to be able to hold a safe and supportive space for their communities to explore feelings and emotions around the climate & ecological crisis.

Participants in the training eating a meal together and getting to know each other.
Participants brought many different gifts to the training – and enjoyed getting to know each other over a meal.

But the most wonderful people came, all bringing their own unique gifts: community builders, crafters, teachers, cake bakers, a sailor and mothers. People skilled in deep listening, non-violent communication and facilitation. Those with experience of burnout and grief, land-spirit connection and a deep love of the earth. Big picture thinkers, soul midwives and lovers of silliness. People with an interest in the psychology of change, willing and able to sit through difficult conversations. Those bringing the belief in the magic of being together and sharing.

Those bringing calm.

Facing difficult truths is the motto of Climate Psychology Alliance, whose training we are delivering in how to host and facilitate Climate Cafés, spaces where people can come together to share how they are feeling. Because facing the climate and ecological emergency and the difficult emotions that come with this, is so much easier in good company. And when those holding these spaces are themselves supported. This is the Community of Practice we are growing here, through this project. While the tide comes in and the storm arrives.

The tidal island of St Michael’s Mount on a stormy day was a fitting backdrop for the training session.

The next Climate Café facilitators training will be in Truro on Saturday 1st June, and in North and East Cornwall later in the year. Please get in touch via wellbeing@ccan.earth if you are interested to join us.

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