sUStain: transforming climate concerns into Active Hope

sUStain is a pioneering climate anxiety project, which provides support for adults and young people, in partnership with UEA, the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) and other partners. 

First piloted in 2019, we now offer a range of support around climate distress (such as eco-anxiety and climate grief and many other feelings about our changing world).   These emphasise our connection to each other (the “us” in sUStain) which is crucial in helping us face this enormous global challenge .

We offer: 
  • One-off workshops and creative awareness events exploring these approaches to normalise these concerns.
  • Monthly 'Climate Cafe' drop ins co facilitated by UEA students where feelings and thoughts can be shared
  • A 6 week programme based on mindfulness and elements of the Active Hope approach (following the best-selling book Active Hope: How to face the mess we are in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power by Resilience expert Chris Johnstone and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy). This course has recently been evaluated by the University of Bath.
  • There are also opportunities for group participants to be mentored to continue run their own Active Hope book groups – we hope to offer this again in future.

What is Active Hope? The Active Hope element of this approach, is radical in that it does not require us to feel hopeful to take action, or paradoxically, to focus on the outcome. This frees us to try new, creative ways to resolve issues. We can use gratitude, mindfulness and a whole range of resilience practices to resource us to do this.  

We are currently working proactively with students at UEA and residents in North Norfolk directly affected by climate change thanks to funding from our fundraising efforts. 
We are also able to offer our activities in collaboration with various partners in Norwich and across Norfolk and Waveney. Over the last year these have included The Sainsbury Centre, Norwich Theatre, First Light Festival, The Natural History Museum, Anglia Ruskin University as well as sessions for Cambridge City Council and Natural England. Please do contact us for further information.   


Active Hope in Challenging Times Workshop

BBC News Coverage: Don't let doom win project tells worriers

A new project has been launched to address rising climate anxiety in students at the University of East Anglia.

At the opening in Norwich, students told BBC News they felt
hopelessness, anger and despair about climate change.

They worry how they will live in a world with an unpredictable climate and the destruction of nature.

Read more here


More about Climate Cafes

Climate cafes offer a friendly, facilitated space to talk about how you are feeling about the climate emergency over a hot or cold drink and some cake. Talking with like-minded others can help us find, or revive, our agency and compassionate resourcefulness, rather than leaning into despair, shame and helplessness.
  • Monthly Climate cafes at University of East Anglia (UEA) 
  • Monthly Climate Cafes in Norwich now take place at Norwich Millennium Library
  • Climate Cafes- North Norfolk

Dive into Conversation: Climate Cafe & Focus Group in Sheringham! 
May 7th Quaker Meeting House:  17:30-19:30
17:30 – 18:30 Climate Café
18:30--19:30 Coastal Community and Erosion Focus Group
Please feel free to come along to one or both!
Are you feeling the weight of concern about coastal erosion, the climate crisis, and extreme weather events? Seeking a friendly space to share your thoughts and emotions?
Join us in a friendly and informal space to talk about our feelings about the climate emergency over a cuppa and some cake. Talking with like-minded others can help us find, or revive, our agency and compassionate resourcefulness, rather than leaning into despair, shame and helplessness.
🍰 More About Our Climate Cafes:
🌱 Expressing your worries and hopes in a relaxed environment
🌊 Connecting with fellow community members who care about our environment
•This is an open, respectful and confidential space where people can express their views safely.
•The focus is on our thoughts and feelings about climate change, rather than what we or others are doing about climate change. Action is important, of course, but we don’t focus on it here.
Come join us for an uplifting gathering where we'll explore these pressing issues in a supportive atmosphere.
Plus, we're hosting a Focus Group to help Norfolk and Waveney Mind develop better emotional support services for coastal communities. Your voice matters in shaping these initiatives!
This event is FREE and open to everyone. No matter your background or expertise, your perspective is valued as we work together toward a brighter future for our coastlines.
Ready to connect and make a difference? Reserve your spot today here.

Let's come together, share ideas, and take steps toward a more resilient tomorrow. See you at the Climate Cafe and Focus Group!
Contact us at for more information or any questions!




Active Hope Book Groups

Book discussion group exploring 'Active Hope- How to face the Mess we're in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power'.

Were you inspired by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone's book Active Hope? Want to explore it in more detail, in a small informal group? Come along to this book group.
This will be the first of a series of up to six sessions. This first one will be on zoom and future sessions dates and location are still to be decided. Could be face to face if participants can travel to central Norwich.

More details about the book are here. 
Register here.


Would you like to join our free Climate Cafe's, events or courses?
For further information about the project, please contact Azza Dirar, Project Co-ordinator at


Get involved with the project as a volunteer!

There will be more exciting opportunities available for students at UEA to volunteer with this project.

We are looking for student volunteers to take an active role in steering the sUStain project, co-designing workshops and helping to run climate anxiety cafes. Research has shown that giving yourself agency within climate anxiety can improve your own wellbeing, as well as benefiting others you are supporting. And there are also opportunities to continue aspects of the project into the future. 

For more information about the project and opportunities available please download the link below.


Coffee & Geography - Georamblings

Kit chats to Rebecca Nestor & Caroline Fernandez about tacking climate anxiety, active hope through conversations, knitting, TV box sets amongst other things!

Rebecca is a climate activist and climate psychologist, and a recovering doctoral student at the University of Essex. She works mostly through the Climate Psychology Alliance, where she is on the board of directors and lead on climate cafes, but also a freelance organisational consultant and facilitator. Rebecca’s work is about supporting those facing the climate crisis. She lives in Oxford and regularly splashes about in the Thames.

Caroline is Project Coordinator for sUStain. She is a networker, food grower, environmentalist and chirpy ex Londoner, now living in Norfolk. Eldest of eight siblings, Caroline loves to travel the world through food, loves speaking German, and has family in India.



For more information about climate anxiety, including our partners, please see:




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