Cuppa for Climate event in Leixlip, County Kildare

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Written by Cuppa for Climate organizer Natasha Page-Wood

Friends of the Earth’s Cuppa-For-Climate fundraising campaign had been on my mind since its launch on Earth Day April 22nd 2023. Cuppa for Climate is an initiative for people to get together to talk about the climate crisis and explore positive actions for change in a friendly and informal way - while supporting the work of Friends of the Earth. This can be done with your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues or in your local communities. 

I love the concept of raising awareness and mobilising local communities to take climate action.


An organic process – pre-event meeting of minds

The following July I was thrilled to be accepted onto my local Tidy Towns committee after volunteering with them since September 2022.

At the first committee meeting I met a local artist, Clodagh, also fresh on the committee.

We shared the same vision of reviving the community spirit in our town through nature and art.

Pictured above from left to right: Clodagh(Organiser), Cinera (from Cindy’s Deli and Grocer) , Natasha  (Organiser)

I told Clodagh about the Cuppa-For-Climate fundraising campaign and that another committee member, fellow climate advocate + digital guru, JR, had arranged for Tidy Towns to sponsor it.

Clodagh loved the idea so with her on board we got the ball rolling and set a date for our Eco-Art event to coincide with Heritage Week.

We’d about a month to get organised!

On one of the weekends leading up to the event, I met Yaneli at an eco-printing workshop and we got chatting.  She was interested in being part of the event.  She spoke to her husband Oscar (as a duo they are Xiuh Medicine Music) and they were happy to donate their time and talents too to perform their Indigenous Mexican music on the day, I was over the moon!

Clodagh then introduced me to Ed Gilligan a local nature enthusiast and we got chatting to Cinira a local Afro-Portuguese-Spanish fusion café owner, specialising in plant based food and voila we had our local multicultural climate crew to make a day of it!  A magic weaving together of beautiful humans from diverse backgrounds who care deeply about the planet. 

As with all events the work leading up to the event wasn’t without its challenges, but when the day arrived we were ready with a wild and wonderful line up of immersive experiences for people to enjoy throughout the day.

Event schedule

  • Clothes swap
  • Ed’s nature talk and walk
  • Clodagh’s climate clay workshop
  • Xiuh music’s Mexican dancing
  • Cinira’s make your own Empanada
  • Tash’s nature circle
  • Xiuh medicine music

The day arrived

The art was up, upcycled vases with foraged flowers from my garden and the natural areas not far from the church were arranged and Cinira’s delicious eats, which she’d been up all night making, had arrived.

We were ready!

The setup stress melted away as attendees filtered into the event.

Hosting like-minded artists and fellow nature / climate lovers was a joy.  


Once greeting attendees and introducing them to the event and its purpose I allowed them space to wander round the exhibition, interact with the art and sample the refreshments on offer.

Things heated up midday with footfall at its peak.  This coincided with Xiuh’s Mexican dancing which was perfect timing for a fair audience while some of us plucked up the courage to join in at the end (as did I with my 2 left feet, lol!).


An ode to the artists

Post rhythmic dancing fuel was in order, spectators were hungry too, Cinira’s delicious eats were grazed on while the chats were mighty and connections sparked.

Locals who may not usually be interested in the climate crises mulled over these messages while studying the profound artworks Clodagh had consciously curated.

These pieces express nature’s dualities: 

Sue Carr’s oil painting of sunflowers brightened the room, representing resilience while her upcycled piece of old t-shirts woven together named ‘Waves’ brought calm to the space.

Leonore Kelly’s drawing represents her hands and feet titled ‘Grounded’, giving us a sense of gratitude for these and allowing us to be mindful of the present moment.

Clodagh Kelly’s complex pencil drawing of a bog landscape on Fabriano Paper, framed with recycled mesh from the Acre Project Celbridge (previously used to cover soil from growing vegetables) with an oak sapling in a broken ceramic pot made by Emily Kelly a Leixlip based fibre artist, examines the dualities of nature’s resilience and  struggles in an Anthropocene era.

[The oak sapling’s sidestory: Clodagh planted a number of acorns in a garden box.  Sycamore got into the box too, for every oak sapling a more aggressive sycamore sapling grew.  The sycamores thrived to the oak’s detriment.  Clodagh took the decision to pull the Sycamores and the Oaks started to flourish at a slow, steady pace.]

Clodagh’s mental, physical and emotional efforts to bring these pieces together is enormously appreciated.  It was a challenge to get these setup as the space was in use right up until the evening before and innovative thinking was required to showcase these without damaging the space, allowing movement of the pieces on the day as well as being relatively easy to put up / take down, phew!  Quite the feat and I’d like to honour this here.

Midday / early afternoon busyness started to dwindle, but we grabbed the few attendees still available for Cinira’s ‘make your own empanada’ which was great fun for kids and brought out the childhood playfulness in the adult participants. My heart sang to witness their laughter and continued chats.


Lessons learned

Unfortunately (lessons learned!), after some brief swapping of clothes, the few attendees still at the event needed to take off home so the last 2 scheduled experiences for the day didn’t take place. 

One of these being my nature circle where I draw on The Earth Charter to build bridges and reconnect with nature, ourselves and each other in a natural setting, to understand, reconcile and celebrate the goodness and necessity of diversity.

We live and learn, trial and error my mantra! It was a true labour of love by fellow locals from the community for the community.

I’m more than happy with how it all came together for my inaugural curated event, soulful relationships formed and crucial climate themes explored.

Localization in action!

I’d envisioned it to be a holistic heritage happening and that it was.

My cup overunneth with gratitude and respect for all who contributed creating the event and attending it.

Thank you Friends of the Earth for initiating a local climate campaign and especially to Ruth Jedidja for making the time to come along to our event, your support is invaluable.

By Natasha Page-Wood – event curator and Founder of The Gentle Travel Guide