The idea is simple: meet with other people and take turns expressing how your knowledge and experience of climate breakdown makes you feel.
Guidelines for a good Climate Beer
- Try to get a diverse mix of people.
- Plan on doing a series of Climate Beers, or doing them regularly. The first time you might have a smaller crowd than you expected. Have a good time anyway, and stick with it.
- Let attendees break the ice for 10-15 minutes as latecomers arrive.
- Pick an amount of time each person gets to speak and stick to it. You want the “official business” part of Climate Beer to last no more than an hour.
- Between 4 and 12 people works well. For larger groups (up to 30) you might want to pass a microphone.
- Aside from grunts of assent, during a given person’s turn everyone else listens.
- The only exception is the facilitator, who can gently steer someone back to their emotions if they stray (to e.g. advertising their work for example).
- Lead with the facilitator and your more experienced Climate Beer people first to set the tone.
- Take risks. Say what you really, actually feel. Whatever that is.
- People may cry. Hold the space. Let it happen. It’s OK. This is worth crying about.
- There are no “wrong answers.” Different people feel different things. If anyone tries to invalidate someone else’s feelings, gently put a stop to it by reminding the group that there are no wrong emotions.
- You can’t “fix” what someone feels. Just acknowledge. People feel what they feel. The Climate Beer itself is the healing.
- After everyone has their chance to speak, encourage them to go out into the community and engage with the public about climate breakdown. The best way to deal with these difficult feelings is to act. Maybe have some ideas for what people can do (see below for starters).
- We find that alcohol helps but isn’t essential. You can have climate coffee, climate potluck, climate fondu, whatever floats your climate boat. We aren’t beerist.
Climate Beer was designed originally for climate scientists, who are masters at repressing their feelings and compartmentalizing their brains as they study the breakdown of civilization and our living planet in real time. But it is for anyone! Just get your peeps together and do it.
What people can do
It’s very late. We need a massive climate mobilization. We can only get that if enough members of the public demand it. So we need to wake them up. We need to raise our voices and make them strong and compelling.
- Talk climate every chance you get. Even in the supermarket checkout line.
- Join climate action groups. There are many, with different (and complimentary) tactics and goals. Ask around. This empowers you for many reasons. But it also helps you stay sane.
- Walk the talk. This is the “traditional” stuff, you know, fly less, eat less meat, bike more. Once you start letting the reality of climate breakdown percolate down to your emotional core, it might not feel good to keep burning the stuff. More importantly, walking the talk will make your voice more authentic and powerful.
- Engage politically. Vote, of course, but do much more than that. Go to city council meetings. Run for office. Climate strike. Engage in nonviolent civil disobedience. Etc.
- Self care. Get enough sleep, eat well, get exercise, meditate.
- Get creative.