Hitchcock Climate Action Series

An adult engagement program at the intersection of climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice.  Bringing partners and community members together  to address critical community issues through a practical workshops, discussions, and deliberative forums. 

This program series aims to help us come together as a community and region in the face of climate change.  We will be asking the questions –  How can we engage adults in building a sustainable and resilient future for the valley? How do we build community capacity for civic engagement, civil dialogue, and deliberation in Amherst and surrounding communities?  How do we do this in a way that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative as our Living Building challenges us to do?   We will be telling the stories of creative problem solving; exemplifying for adults the great work we do with children we do the work of developing  hopeful creative problem solvers for now and the future. 

Coming Together in the Face of Climate Change: Laying the Groundwork by Building Hope, Practicing Action, and Improving Communication 

All programs are at a Sliding Scale or Suggested Donation

All We Can Save Book Circle (Virtual)

January – May
Register to receive the Zoom link

2nd and 4th Mondays of the month, 7:30 – 8:30 PM
Beginning Monday, January 22, 2024

Are you hungry for deeper dialogue about the climate crisis and building community around solutions? We are too. All We Can Save Circles are like a book club, but a cooler, deeper, extended version. Let’s strengthen the “we” in All We Can Save. Circles were created by Dr. Katharine Wilkinson.  Join us for this bimonthly book circle, must commit to most dates.  Please submit interest here or email casey@hitchcockcenter.org.  Some copies available to borrow from Hitchcock. 

More about the book: 

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and solutions for the Climate Crisis
Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial “table.” More than a problem of bias, it’s a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone. 

Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on each other or our collective future. We must summon truth, courage, and solutions, to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility. Curated by two climate leaders, this book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.


Climate Cafe at Hitchcock Center (In-person)

Sunday, April 21, 2 – 3:30 PM
Free to attend

One of the biggest challenges of the climate crisis is knowing what to do with the complex set of emotions regarding the planetary emergency. Where is it safe to talk about the fear, outrage, and grief? The idea is that the more comfortable we become with these difficult feelings, the more able we are to cope with our situation. Climate Cafes offer a structured space for informal open, respectful discussion of emotional responses and reactions related to the climate.

The Climate Cafe is a facilitated, welcoming space for people concerned about the climate and ecological crises, and their impacts on the global, local, and individual levels. We call it a Cafe because we aim for an informal and open discussion (and participants are welcome to bring a beverage to enjoy during the meeting). This is not a lecture, nor is it a therapy group. Each participant will be welcome to speak or not to speak as they feel comfortable. The Climate Cafe fills an important and often unmet need: a safe space for people to speak about their emotions stemming from the climate and ecological crises (CEC). Many people have been deeply concerned for decades about the climate and ecological crises, and some are just beginning to feel concerned as we experience more direct impacts in our area and as the news of climate-related disasters continues to increase. Many fall somewhere in between. Everyone is welcome, no matter where they fall on that continuum.

Climate Cafes focus on feelings rather than action. We recognize the importance of taking action to bring about a better future, and many local groups exist for this purpose. This group exists to fulfill a different need, that of building emotional resilience in the face of uncertain times. We also believe that, in the words of the Climate Psychology Alliance, “the more we recognize and tolerate feelings arising from the climate crisis, the easier it will be to connect with others, act in collaboration, and envision a just and equitable solution.” The facilitators will provide resources for anyone who would like to learn more about ways to work with climate emotions, as well as local opportunities for action, after the event.


Sadie Forsythe, LICSW, is a climate-aware therapist based in Amherst, MA, offering individual therapy and monthly climate cafes, as well as consultation for organizations looking to add a psychological lense to their climate work. Sadie is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance of North America, Group Facilitators Hub and Climate Cafe Facilitator Training committees. She holds a Certificate in Climate Psychology through The California Institute of Integral Studies.

Hannah Harvester is a Conway-based artist and educator who has been facilitating eco grief and climate anxiety support circles since 2023. She is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance of North America.

Both Sadie and Hannah have completed Climate Cafe trainings led by Climate Psychology Alliance of North America, and hope to bring more and more local opportunities for individuals to come together to share and process climate-related emotions.

“Sadie and Hannah co-created a safe container for each of us to express feelings often not understood or supported by family and friends” (John C., Conway)
“It was a lovely, warm conversation” (Kate M., Greenfield)
“really powerful and wonderful” (anonymous, Greenfield)

This program was supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Conway and Colrain Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

The Project Drawdown Roadmap: Screening and Discussion

*Cancelled* Will be Rescheduled this Fall 2024 – stay tuned for more information

The Drawdown Roadmap is a science-based global strategy for accelerating climate solutions. It points to which climate actions governments, businesses, investors, philanthropists, community organizations, and other should prioritize to make the most of our efforts to stop climate change.  The Drawdown Roadmap charts a path to accelerate climate solutions before its too late.   Come join us at Hitchcock center to watch this short film followed by a discussion of what this looks like locally.


Climate Justice Stories: Screening & Discussion

Wednesday, June 5, 6 PM

Stopping climate change as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible requires that all communities – particularly those most vulnerable and least represented in the current dialogue – have a seat at the table and a role in implementing solutions. Drawdown Stories exists to pass the mic to diverse climate heroes often left out of the solutions conversation – Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, blue-collar workers, and women. 

This program, spreads awareness, shapes attitudes, and sparks action for the broader climate community, including educators and their students, as well as other future climate leaders, through the power of story. Come watch some documentary shorts about some of these inspiring stories.

At Home Rain Barreling

with Mary & David Dunn
Sunday, June 2, 2pm – 3:30pm  ( Rain Date June 9)

Mary and David are extraordinary volunteers at the Hitchcock Center.  They have built and maintained the rain barrel systems we use for our Discovery Yard and Teaching Gardens. This program will  join Mary and David Dunn at their home in south Amherst to see how to effectively add rain barrels to your home landscaping.  See them demonstrate materials, winterizing, etc.  This will teach homeowners how to set up rain barrels at home to preserve the precious resource of water and manage through increasing periods of drought ( though not this year!)  Registration required, donations appreciated. 

Women in Climate Stories: Screening & Discussion

Wednesday, August 7, 6 PM

Drawdown’s Neighborhood is a climate solutions short documentary series passing the mic to climate heroes who often go unheard. “Each of us has a climate story to tell. By passing the mic to underrepresented people working on the frontlines of climate change, we hope to share as many as these stories as possible while reshaping who society sees as climate heroes.“  This set of Drawdown Stories from Drawdown Neighborhoods centers the voices of some of the women leading the solutions movement. Come watch these documentary shorts with us.

Community Forum: Improving Communication Deliberative Dialogue (In-person)

with HCE’s Executive Director Billy Spitzer
at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment
Registration required, donations appreciated

Join in a deliberative dialogue about different ways in which we can get to a “net zero carbon” future. Deliberation matters because democracy depends on community members coming together and making well-thought-out decisions on what we can do together to solve tough problems like climate change. A pre-reading will frame the issue, lay out several approaches based on values people care about, describe benefits and trade-offs associated with each choice, and pose some reflective questions. In small groups, participants will have an opportunity to share their personal perspectives and listen to others, weigh options and wrestle with trade-offs, and identify areas of common ground. A moderator will help to set ground rules, ensure that all perspectives are heard, and identify areas of agreement and uncertainty. We hope participants will keep an open mind, listen to one another, disagree with curiosity, and focus on learning.

Link to register coming soon.


The Bigger Why of our Climate Action Series 

When we built our Living Building on our Welcome Wall 

we invited you- 

to join us in creating and imagining a world in which children think electricity comes from the sun and composting toilets are normal. 

A world where every decision has been made with the safety and health of all life on earth in mind.  

A world where everyone has access to safe fresh local food and water. 

A world where what we create and do as humans adds to the web of life, restores it, is regenerative.   

A world where diversity, competition, and cooperation among a community’s members, natural and human, is the source of the community’s resilience. 

This is our next step in this process.  

The Hitchcock Center is uniquely poised to use the living building and outdoor learning spaces as inspiration for what a sustainable and resilient future for the Valley could look like, and to use our expertise and rootedness  in the community to facilitate conversation and change on a community level that is inclusive and equitable. We need leaders, citizens, and residents to have the knowledge, skills, and values to successfully engage together in building a greener, just, and more economically vibrant future. We need municipalities in our region to come together to create a sustainable and resilient vision for the future of the Connecticut River Valley, from Greenfield to Springfield.

“Use your voice to talk about why climate change matters to you, here and now. Use it to share what you are doing, what others are doing, what they can do. Use it to advocate for change at every level. Use it to vote and to inform decisions your school, your business, your city, and your country can make. Talk about it in every community that you are part of and whose values and interests you share.”

– Katherine Hayhoe (2021) Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World

The Need for Public Discourse on Climate Change

We are all experiencing the impacts of climate change more each day, in our own communities and around the world. Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication shows that 70% of Americans understand that climate change is real, human-caused, and happening now. Yet, only 35% discuss it even occasionally with family or friends, leading to a lack of public discourse and civic engagement to address one of the most critical issues of our time. 

Informal science education centers such as the Hitchcock Center are ideally situated as boundary organizations in their communities who can bring together diverse partners, and hold unique authority and social position to promote solutions at a civic scale. 

Increased public discourse is a critical precursor for action: “Americans who hear about global warming in the media or talk about it with their own family and friends are more likely to perceive global warming as a risk and support policies to reduce it,” (Ballew et al., 2019; Howe, et al., 2015). And, discussing climate change with family and friends is the only predictor of climate change’s absolute and relative importance as a voting issue (Campbell et al., 2021).

A major reason why these conversations are not happening is because many people don’t feel hopeful about our ability to address climate change, and don’t see how they can be part of the solution. That is why it is so important for us to help people to reconnect to and learn from nature’s efficient and sustainable systems, to develop a problem-solving mindset, and share a positive vision for the future.

More about Deliberative Forums

Deliberative forums…

Translate »
Hitchcock Center for the Environment