climate cafe

Climate Cafe Listening Circle

A climate café listening circle is a simple, hospitable, empathetic space where fears and uncertainties about our climate and ecological crisis can be safely expressed.


Why do we need climate listening circles?

As it becomes more evident that the climate and ecological breakdown are a clear and present danger to our safety and wellbeing, we increasingly need to talk about what our changing world means for us in terms of impacts at personal, family and societal level. To have these practical conversations many of us need first to be supported in exploring some complex feelings and thoughts which may often be taboo and hard to talk about.

With sturdy enough support structures in place, most people can sustain challenging feelings without either dissociating and numbing or going into blind panic. They can engage with difficult truths whilst staying connected and grounded.

A climate café listening circle aims to be such a structure - a container that is strong enough to allow the exploration of fear, anxiety, and other emotions such as anger, helplessness, sadness, grief or depression.

We use the word ‘cafe’ to evoke the simple friendliness and warmth that happens when humans share food and drink together (or imagine doing so, in an online setting).

In this friendly setting, the circle:

  • focuses on feelings rather than action
  • is not a space for discussing or debating climate policy, climate science or climate action.

The design of our climate cafe listening circles owes a lot to the pioneering work of Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid, who set up the Death Cafe movement based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz. We have adapted and developed their model drawing on our deep experience of climate psychology. 

What happens during a climate listening circle?

The focus of discussion is participants’ thoughts and feelings about the climate and ecological crisis. There are no guest speakers and no talks, and it is an advice-free zone. Whilst the climate and ecological crisis is usually the main focus of the circle, we realise that other related preoccupations - personal, social or political - need a space to be explored. This can happen here too.

Our circles are open to anyone aged 18 or over who is worried about the climate and ecological crisis. 

If you are under 18 and need support, please follow this link for resources that we hope may help, including access to our list of practitioners offering three free sessions of therapeutic support to those who feel they would benefit from it. We have also been developing programmes of support for young people. You can find out more about those here.

If you are a parent/carer of a child or young person, you may wish to check out our Parent/Carer/Guardian Climate Circles which are currently running once per month.


Who will be leading the Climate Café Listening Circle?

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Two people facilitate each circle - they come from a pool of more than fifty facilitators from within our membership.

Training and ongoing supervision for our facilitators is provided by a small, experienced team headed by Rebecca Nestor, Gillian Broad and Linda Aspey, who lead our organisation’s Climate Café Listening Circle offering.

How do I book a place?

Our climate café listening circles are held online. Follow this link to our Eventbrite page to find a date that suits you or check our events calendar which also lists listening circles held by CPA Scotland, and other independent offerings from our trained members. If the date of your choice is fully booked, please join the waiting list as places do become available at short notice and we endeavour to hold additional circles simultaneously when we can. The waiting list also helps us understand the level of demand.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to get in touch.

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About Us

We are a diverse community of therapeutic practitioners, thinkers, researchers, artists and others. We believe that attending to the psychology and emotions of the climate and ecological crisis is at the heart of our work.


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