Greater #Manchester Pension Fund consultation ends Friday 4th September… #climate #fossilfuels

Consultation on GMPF’s ethical investment policy closes on Friday 4 September.  Building on work done earlier this year by Steady State Manchester, Manchester Friends of the Earth, as part of a national campaign on fossil fuel divestment are trying to get GMPF to divest from fossil fuels and re-invest in sectors that have positive impact – for example renewable energy and low carbon housing.
To take part in the campaign, which involves an easy to send email, please follow this link.
And please share it with others who might take action, especially members and beneficiaries of the GM Pension Fund.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upcoming Course – “Politics, Campaigning & Communities”

Politics, Campaigning & Communities Course

Tuesday 22 September for 10 sessions

Nazarene Theological College, Dene Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2GU. 

For those who want to change the World but don’t know where to start!

Lectures, workshops, discussions and exercises, empowering and equipping everyday people to be effective activists for change.

The course costs £90 to take part, and you can sign up here

Posted in capacity building | Leave a comment

Upcoming Event: “Leave it in the Ground” #Manchester, 27th August

As part of this, at the Whitworth, on Thursday 27th August 2015

Grand Hall
Time: 15.00 – 21.00 hours
FREE event

Session 1 (15.00–16.45 hours)

Oliver Ressler, Leave It In The Ground (2013)

UK premiere
18 min

In recent years, countless extreme weather events clearly indicate that climate change is not only a future phenomenon but is already taking place. In the Global South, climate change aggravates the crises of poverty, violence, and unrest that result from the legacies of colonialism and neoliberal capitalism. Leave It In The Ground describes the climate crisis not as a technical and scientific problem, but as a political problem. The film discusses how ecological and humanitarian disasters caused through global warming might topple old orders and open up possibilities that could lead to long-term social and political transformations, both positive and negative.

Aviva Rahmani, Blued Trees (2015)
World premier
5 min

In February 2015, some New York State residents, angered by the abuse of eminent domain in service to fossil fuel corporations, enlisted eco-artist Aviva Rahmani to create the Blued Trees Symphony installation. The Blued Trees film documents the June 21, 2015 launch of an innovative, creative strategy to contest fossil fuel proliferation.

Creative Resistance? Resilient Futures?
Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion / Q&A
75 min

A public discussion led by a panel, including members of both the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s Arts and Environment Network, and the International Eco-Art Network: Dave Pritchard (Chair), Wallace Heim, David Haley, Jane Trowell, Basia Irland, Aviva Rahmani, Margaret Shiu and James Brady.

Questioning what we really understand by ‘restoration’ and ‘resilience’ – ecological, social, economic and cultural – facilitating an open social space where interdisciplinary exchange, debate and broadening of that understanding can emerge. This event will unite the worlds of arts, culture and ecological science, allowing the mutual exploration of the practices, philosophies, concepts, languages, ethics and aesthetics of the subject. A core focus of this discussion will be how various forms of creative activism and grass-roots social solidarity movements become effective agencies for resilience and restorative change.

Session 2 (17.30–21.00 hours)

Basia Irland, Ice Receding/Books Reseeding (2007 – 2015)

Basia Irland
Ice Receding / Books Reseeding (2007–2015)
European premiere + artist’s talk*
16 min

The devastation we humans cause rivers is extraordinary and the need to educate and activate local communities is vast. A green future cannot be mapped without healthy watersheds. The cartography of the next generations must include communities working together to insure clean, viable river systems. The documentary film, Ice Receding / Books Reseeding emphasizes the necessity of communal effort, scientific knowledge, and poetic intervention to deal with the complex issues of climate disruption and watershed restoration through the release of seed-laden ephemeral ice sculptures into rivers, creeks, and streams.

*The screening of this film is followed by a rare and exclusive public talk by the eminent ecological artist.

Deeper Roots
Artists/Curators discussion
60 min

An informal discussion session led by a group of artists and curators, working in the field of interdisciplinary socially-engaged arts practice in the North West of England. They will open-up a conversation about the ethics and values of collaborative work with urban communities, with the vision of nurturing creative roots for socio-ecological resilience. Issues of urban regeneration, social cohesion, and radical place-making will be key points of reference in this dialogue. This discussion will feature representatives from three projects in particular: Guild, Tearing Stuff Apart, and A Tale of Two Cities.

Ursula Biemann, Forest Law (2014)

Ursula Biemann
Climate Quadrilogy (2012–15)

Comprising four video works:
Egyptian Chemistry (2012), Deep Weather (2013), Forest Law (2014), Subatlantic* (2015)

World premiere
92 min

In a series of research-based, videographic investigations, this quadrilogy presents a planetary perspective on the complex ecological dynamics and consequences of humanity’s colonisation of Earth’s life-sustaining, natural matter. From Egypt, Canada to India, Amazonia, and the Shetland Isles to Greenland and to the Caribbean Isles, these video works take us on a global, geo-political journey across contested lands and oceans.

*This event also marks the official European premiere of Biemann’s new video work, Subatlantic.

Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

“Does Local #Climate Information Stimulate Action?” Probably Not…. Tyndall Centre

For these individuals, hearing about likely local impacts of climate change was demotivating. Instead of spurring action, hearing the local projections about increased flooding and other likely local outcomes made self-enhancing people care less than their similar self-transcendent value oriented peers who read about global outcomes.

We had expected that giving self-enhancing people information about local climate impacts that could affect their personal status (e.g., through reduced incomes in the Vermont skiing industry) would highlight the importance of climate change and thus lead to increased action. But perhaps those high in a need for status, enhancement, and power, feel particularly threatened by reading about the local impacts of climate change.

From here.

Posted in academia | Tagged | Leave a comment

Muslims of #Manchester – happy to promote your #climate work – get in touch.

The same goes for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, younameits, pagans, atheists.

The email is

The reason I name-check Muslims is that there’s a very good piece by Arthur Neslen

Islamic leaders issue bold call for rapid phase out of fossil fuels

The Istanbul declaration was made by Islamic figures from Bosnia to Indonesia and follows a ground-breaking Papal encyclical last month. Heads of state, corporations, and all peoples are addressed in the Istanbul call, which carries a universal and startlingly bleak message.

“We are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet,” the statement says. “This current rate of climate change cannot be sustained, and the earth’s fine equilibrium (mīzān) may soon be lost.”

“What will future generations say of us, who leave them a degraded planet as our legacy?” the religious leaders ask. “How will we face our Lord and Creator?”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

talktalk is jokejoke – phoned me back to hassle me?! SORRY, WRONG WEB SITE!!


Posted this on manchesterclimatemonthly, when it should, obviously, have gone at!!

Epic fail.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“So we bleat on…”; Q&As/P&As and the pathological meetings of academics and activists

This article outlines the very familiar pathological pattern of meetings at which dialogue is lauded and then slaughtered, the usual attempts to fix the pathologies, and then describes why they usually fail. It closes out with what COULD be done, and why it won’t be (it’s a conspiracy!!)

The pathological meeting

preening macawsWe have all been there –  at meetings (of activists or academics)  at which ‘the most important thing is your questions.’  (e.g. public events or seminars/panel discussions).

The set-piece speeches over-run, with most/all of the speakers exceeding their agreed limits, and so

  • disrespecting their own promises and discrediting themselves,
  • disrespecting the chair (who is either lower status to the speakers and can’t stop them, or equal status and won’t upset their mates)
  • disrespecting the audience.

So instead of, say, 45 minutes for questions and that oh-so-important discussion, suddenly there are only 25.

But wait, then it somehow gets even worse.  Because the so-called “Question and Answer” session runs like this; the chair just asks for a show of hands.  Hands belonging to the ‘usual suspects’ go up.  Mostly (usually) male.  Mostly people with long and glorious records in academia (lots of citations in journals) or activism (lots of citations by police).  These usual suspects then do P&A – Preening (talking about themselves and their pet ideas/ideologies/tactics/causes/concepts) & Attacking (“if you read my paper in…/”But in 1862 Marx said that…”).

Their ‘questions’ (at best thinly-veiled speeches) ramble on, and then the speakers ramble back.  The energy drains from the room.  The clock ticks down. People leave (if it’s polite to do so – happens more at activist meetings than academic ones, in my experience).  Women who realise that their questions are as good as the men’s don’t have the time to get their questions into the room.

The event organisers are happy (people turned up!), the speakers are happy (they got fed!) and a minority of the audience are happy (they got to preen/attack!).  Lots of other people aren’t so happy, but have no way of voicing their frustration.   Over time, they stop coming, either physically or mentally…

The failed attempts to ‘limit’ this

  • The chair pushes notes with ‘5 minutes’ across the table to the speaker, who may or may not acknowledge (old white tenured male versus young female grad student; no contest)
  • The chair asks people to limit their speec… sorry, questions, to two sentences
  • The chair explicitly calls for women to stick up their hands and ask questions
  • Questions are written down and sent up to the front for vetting .

This usually fails because;

The speaker (by definition high status) thinks they are the most important person in the room, the P&A folks thinks their contribution is the most important and women who were thinking of asking a question are now being patronised, tokenised and ghetto-ised, which tends to intimidate and demotivate.  The vetting tends to get done along Party Lines, and isn’t this supposed to be an open forum anyhow?

What could actually happen (any 2 of these innovations would be transformative. Doing them all in one session would probably blow people’s minds).

Why none of these innovations will happen

Humans don’t do change; ‘We’ve been doing it this way for years, it works’

Event organisers like being able to get elite speakers along, it makes them look important. They are providing the captive audience/ego-fodder for the elite speaker.

Panellists like treating the audience like ego-fodder.  It’s one of the tacit rewards of being high-status.

Some of the audience LIKE being ego-fodder, sleeping with their eyes open and entering into a tacit agreement of passivity with the organisers.

[None of this needs to be conscious to be perpetrated and perpetuated.]

These innovations would undercut the power of our lords and masters. They would resist, and not like the entrepreneurs who were trying to take away their privileges.  They wouldn’t necessarily be able to articulate it, but they’d know it nonetheless…  Career-limiting move for the innovator, therefore, and for little or no gain.  Thus do sub-optimal social ‘strategies’ and rituals continue…

“So we bleat on, boasts against the current, boring stiff ceaselessly into the future.

Posted in academia, capacity building, Democratic deficit | Tagged | 3 Comments