Climate cafes helping youths amidst eco-anxiety

Climate cafes helping youths amidst eco-anxiety

By Ashmeeta Subra  June 6th, 2024

Climate cafes are emerging as supportive spaces where young Aussies can discuss their eco-anxiety, find community and be empowered to take environmental action.


Eco-anxiety is a phrase describing feelings of stress related to climate change and environmental degradation that have been reported to be growing in recent years, particularly among younger generations. Fortunately, movements such as climate cafes have provided a space for individuals to cope with the associated distress. 

From her hometown on New Zealand's North Island to Sydney beaches, Shelley Addison-Bell, 29, has always lived near the ocean.  

"But that means I've seen firsthand the effects of climate change," she told ABC news. 

Witnessing the direct effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and decline in biodiversity over the years, Shelley began to struggle with feelings of being overwhelmed and powerless, which took a toll on her mental health.  

However, these feelings began to ease when her friend Jaynika Patel introduced her to the concept of a 'climate cafe' – where young people can gather and express their feelings about the state of the environment, facilitated by science and mental health experts. 

Embracing this concept, their local coffee shop in Manly hosted two climate cafe gatherings, which Shelley said has brought her comfort. Following her own experience, Shelley arranged seats for over a dozen climate cafe attendees in Sydney’s CBD. In Melbourne, senior curator for Museums Victoria, Kate Phillips, will be delivering a series of climate cafes open to the public from June to September 2024.  

Initiatives like this represent a hopeful step towards addressing the mental health impacts of climate change and empowering the next generation to gain a sense of agency and hope for the future. 

If you’re experiencing eco-anxiety, reaching out to someone for support, spending time in nature, or engaging in activities focused on nature regeneration could help alleviate feelings of distress and help you cope with eco-anxiety. National Tree Day, celebrated every 28th July, is a great opportunity for Australians to come together and make a difference for the environment.  

To find a community planting event happening in your area, visit the National Tree Day website

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 


Positive Actions

Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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