After attending the Global Convening of Youth on Eco-Anxiety in June, TRPs fabulous board of youth member, Shamim, was inspired to host her own climate cafe.
A climate cafe is a facilitated space for people to come together and share about their climate emotions. It’s an important step in feeling seen, heard and understood, which we believe is key to helping us cope with eco-anxiety.
Shamim wanted to create a space to share and explore climate emotions because she recognised that young people often keep quiet about their climate anxiety. She says that in Tanzania it’s rare for young people to have a space to talk about how they feel at all, let alone in relation to the climate crisis. That makes unique and beautiful spaces like this invaluable.
This session was really important because it helped the group to really understand what climate anxiety is, how each person in the group experiences it and where it comes from.
The group of eight young people met at a cafe in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Shamim facilitated the discussion. They shared feelings of grief, overwhelm, stress, fear, burnout and anger. Most of these young people come from rural backgrounds but have had to move to the city for education and work. They spoke about how much agriculture has deteriorated in their homes. They spoke about floods and droughts and members of the group expressed that they hadn’t realised the feelings they have in relation to these events are related to what we call eco-anxiety, or climate anxiety.
By the end of the climate cafe the group were saying they felt excited, relieved, cared for, focused, happy and hopeful. It’s incredible how powerful the act of holding safe spaces can be. We’re feeling inspired by Shamim’s climate cafe and excited that this group of young people left the session saying they want to replicate the space and to create more opportunities for young people to better understand and cope with their climate emotions.
Shamim said ‘the climate cafe was an eye-opener and I am looking forward to having as many as possible. The climate crisis is out there and unless something is done then it’s just here to stay. I would advise other young people to speak up, to encourage others to speak up and to always be a good listener. I have been in that dark space, I have been through anxiety and it has been rough and tough. I almost gave up but you know, just looking at those faces and how they were expressing themselves and speaking, it gave me hope. I have a long way to go to bring more young people onboard because I wouldn't want them to be in the dark spaces that I have been through. This climate cafe is one of my greatest experiences.’
We are celebrating Shamim for her courage, determination and care and can’t wait to see what she does next.
Check out Shamim's reflections