Publised date : 05 Oct 2023

John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, has held a Scottish Parliament Member’s Debate on the positive impact of Climate Cafes® 
The debate, which took place today [Thursday 5th October], followed the lodging of a Parliamentary Motion on 14th September, which highlighted the work of Climate Cafes® and recognised the success of this model since the initial launch of the first Climate Cafe® in Dunkeld in 2015. This motion achieved cross-party support.

This also marked the first Member’s Debate that Mr Swinney has led since leaving his Scottish Government role. The date of his last Member’s Debate, which government ministers are unable to lead, was 6th December 2006 on the subject of rural post offices.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: “The community-led Climate Cafes® emerging across Scotland are testament to our shared commitment to addressing climate change at a grassroots level. Whilst it is vital that the Scottish Government continues to lead the way in taking action to address the climate emergency, it is equally important that this aspiration and determination is led, supported and informed by local communities. The ability of Climate Cafes® to create inclusive spaces for open discussion has been pivotal in fostering community engagement, and inspiring action."
"I am particularly proud that the first Climate Cafe® was established in Dunkeld & Birnam, within my own constituency. The success of this community led model has since inspired the establishment of Climate Cafés® across Perthshire, such as in Aberfeldy, Breadalbane Academy, Blairgowrie and Pitlochry, and across Scotland. Indeed, within eight years the idea has been shared to such an extent that we are now seeing the establishment of Climate Cafes® in countries such as Finland, Germany, Zimbabwe, Japan and across the United States.
“It's not just about discussion. These Climate Cafes® have inspired real action on the ground, such as Dunkeld saving over 1 million litres of water in a year and becoming Scotland’s first water-efficient village. This is just one local example of the outstanding, important work that Climate Cafes® undertake.
“From visiting these forums, I am particularly struck by the wide range of attendees. It is particularly pleasing to see so many young people getting involved in Climate Cafes®, and to witness first-hand their leadership, passion and determination to affect positive change within, and supported by, their local communities.
“I was delighted that my first Member’s Debate in almost 17 years was on the impact of Climate Cafes®. This is a subject that is close to my heart and I am immensely proud that such a powerful, well-intentioned and genuinely uplifting movement started within my constituency. It is a story that Perthshire – and Scotland as a whole – can be justifiably proud of.
Jess Pepper, Founder and Director of Climate Cafe®, added:
"It is so welcome that Mr Swinney led this debate in the Scottish Parliament, sharing insights into locally led Climate Cafés®, collaboration and action across communities. By creating informal, welcoming pop up spaces for people to get together in their own communities, Climate Cafés® are inspiring and informing local chat and significant action on climate change - supported by incredible local volunteer Coordinators. 
“From a cup of tea and a biscuit in Birnam, to a global movement, these inclusive pop up Café spaces are generating chat and remarkable amounts of action in communities locally, across Scotland and around the world. Community led Climate Café® chat and action is led by the people who know their place, and what they need or want to do, best.  Local government and public bodies are tuning in to see how they can help.  

“Here in Perth & Kinross, a network of Climate Cafés® are leading and supporting initiatives that are good for our health and planet, creating spaces for all voices to be heard, reducing costs of living and waste, generating positive community connections, and resilience too. Community action can go unseen, so this debate is an opportunity to highlight all that is quietly happening every day across communities, with nothing but a cup of tea. And from a simple start, the magic of chat and inspiration generating action in local Climate Cafés® can now be shared through connections between Climate Cafés® - across regions, countries and even the world - supported by the Climate Café® Hub in Little Dunkeld.”


Attached is a copy of Mr Swinney’s speech that opened the debate, along with a picture of Mr Swinney and Perthshire Climate Cafe® activists who attended the debate

Copy of Mr Swinney’s Scottish Parliament motion -

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