A place for “raising awareness and providing a spot for folk to give feedback.”
“This could be a real chance for real engagement on the key issues – from energy prices to biodiversity to making do and mend – all in a positive and forward-thinking way.“
Could the Sidmouth High Street host its own Climate Café”?
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There is such a Café at Seaton:
A café is friendly, warm, human – and a chance to connect with others over a hot drink. It is not a place to debate climate change or policy. There are no lectures, advice or any expectations that you will join a group or take any action.
However, some might feel it a little too ‘doom-and-gloom’ to be talking about ‘climate breakdown’, however urgent that might be:
Nevertheless, there are several different models on offer:
Pepper says the climate cafes she has helped start around the UK are meant to be less formal than activist groups – and, ideally, more welcoming to people not already committed to climate advocacy. Some, such as those held by Aberdeen Climate Action, serve as an informal outreach arm of an existing climate group, with each cafe bringing in guest speakers and connecting like-minded people.
Sussex Green Ideas, meanwhile, is more like a fair, with booths and stations to fill up reusable toiletry bottles. Carrie Cort, its organiser, said her group recently adopted the festival-like format and dropped “climate” from the event title because, with all the hardships of the pandemic, they thought it was better to “focus on the future that we can achieve if we take action”.
Another breed of climate cafes are billed as “action-free” spaces. These are smaller affairs, led by trained facilitators who guide the attendees through free-flowing conversations about their climate-related feelings.
In other words, such a set-up could offer some sort of ‘public visible space’ for current issues around sustainability, resilience and community issues.
And it does not have to follow any specific model.
As a commentator says:
“The notion of renting an empty shop on the High St as a base/show-case for green projects has circulated for some time.
This could be a real chance for real engagement on the key issues – from energy prices to biodiversity to making do and mend – all in a positive and forward-thinking way.
The question would be finding enough volunteers to staff the pop-up place – but there are lots of local groups who might be willing and able to provide someone once a week for a couple of hours.
We have so many stories to tell and share – so raising awareness and providing a spot for folk to give feedback (post-it notes on a board or whatever) could provide some of that key momentum we’re looking for.”