Aberdeen Climate Action runs a monthly Climate Café on the first Tuesday of every month, between 7-9pm. Our Climate Cafe started on the 7th November 2017 and has run every month since, bar April 2020, when lockdown struck! The Climate Café concentrates on a different topic each month and is a fun and informal way to gain more knowledge and understanding and learn about projects, going on in the North East, which empower and encourage sustainability and help combat climate change.
The Cafe also gives people an opportunity to interact with those who have made these projects happen and be inspired. Topics have ranged from the initial cafe on community energy to innovation in food growing, community greenspaces to the law around climate change, with occasional forays into more practical workshop style cafes on, for instance, how we can create a sustainable North East and even to open mic nights and a climate comedy stand up Christmas Cafe. The Cafés are fun, innovative and inspiring and they support and encourage those taking action on climate change and enable development of useful networks and informal mentorship.
While normally, the Climate Café takes place in the Café Bar of the Belmont in Aberdeen City Centre, at present it takes place online via Zoom. You can sign up to attend each Climate Café on Eventbrite and will then receive the zoom link by email. Just follow Aberdeen Climate Action on Eventbrite.
Our usual Climate Café model is to have three speakers talk for 15-20mins each followed by a long and lively question and answer session with a mingling before and afterwards. Each Climate Café is on a different topic that relates to climate change, providing knowledge on that topic and showcasing local, practical and positive projects that demonstrate how changes for a sustainable net zero planet can be made. For example, our very first climate café had talks from Greenmyres Renewable Energy Ltd, a local wind community energy company and ACEnergy, a local community hydro scheme and a researcher from the James Hutton Institute on community renewable energy schemes. You can see more on our past cafés and also what the future cafes will be.
One of the main aims of our Climate Café is that it provides not just knowledge and inspiration but also is a source of support and networking. It is a space where people feel safe to discuss what matters to them and get to know those that also care about those topics. It is a place to make connections and where partnerships can grow. One of the main successes of the Climate Café is the way in which it has encouraged and supported the start-up of local community climate action groups and sustainable projects. It is out of the Climate Café, and ACA, that NESCAN (North East Scotland Climate Action Network) was born. Climate Week North East also has grown in large part thanks to the Climate Café, with groups and speakers in the cafes often then taking part in it.
Some of our Climate Cafés are a bit different. We have had a few open mic nights, a comedy stand-up Christmas special and also some consultation workshop cafes. The one with the most impact was when we all met to determine what a ‘pathway to a Sustainable North East’ could look like. This was not just within one event, but over several, and from those consultations a report was created and taken to our local authorities. The report also was disseminated to Scottish Government and referred to in several parliamentary consultations responses. A later Café featured both Local Authority Department heads talking to the report and giving assurances to report back on progress towards meeting some of its suggestions.
Alison, Bob and Adam
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