Upcoming Event: Policing of Barton Moss Camp. 24th February #Manchester

Weds 24th February, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester.


Posted in Campaign Update, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Event: Road from Wigan Pier Sat 6th Feb. Wigan.




How can we shape our local Northern economics using grassroots projects, networks and ideas to inspire collective action & economic resilience?

Join some of the UK’s most enterprising individuals and organisations for a day of discussion and planning on how WE shape the future economy of the northern powerhouse.


10am – Chairman’s opening: Stephen Armstrong journalist (the Guardian, Sunday Times, Elle, GQ, Wallpaper) and author – The Road to Wigan Pier, Revisited

David Fernandez-Arias, Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign for Democratic Devolution 

Setting a new economic scene – “The Northern Powerhouse” – What does it mean for local people and economies? What are the opportunities? Threats.

Laura Outhart, Transition Network

REconomy – creating new livelihoods and developing new ways of providing essential goods and services is the essence of a resilient local economy. Hear how other groups are already running projects & enterprises and learn the practicalities of creating your own. 

Pam Warhurst, Incredible Edible, Todmorden

The local food economy – Incredible Edible is becoming a worldwide brand. Learn how the incredible Pam Warhurst did it back then, and keeps doing it now.

11:00 – 11:15 Questions

11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break

Kath Godfrey, Positive Money

Positive Money – A new economic model for the country?  What can we do to help at a local level?

Professor Mark Burton, Steady State Manchester

Regional Currency/Innovative Technology Platforms – What is the “Manchester Social Platform” and what are “Community Loyalty Points”? Mark Burton describes a new initiaitive that is under development. 

Donna Hall, Chief Executive Wigan Council

Mission Impossible? Battered by funding cuts of more than £100m since 2010 and with another £60m to go, how is it possible for a council to stimulate and sustain a local economic recovery? Donna Hall explains “The Deal”. 

12.15amCOLLECTIVE WISDOM: Open forum and questions to panel – Questions from everyone, to everyone


1.45pm – Stephen Armstrong 

The Road FROM Wigan Pier – where does it lead? Stephen will set the scene for the afternoon session, inspire collective action and push for a clarity of goal outcome that we can all walk away with at the end of the day

2pm – Introduction to the afternoon sessions

Purpose – work with others to explore ideas sparked by the morning sessions. How could these work in the NW, what are the next steps needed?

How it will work? – groups of up to 10 people around a table with a leader / facilitator. Groups will be asked to capture three key opportunities and three key challenges related to the idea they are exploring. A scribe will be allocated to capture these. 

A few pre-determined world cafe sessions will be hosted by the mornings speakers to dive deeper into the opportunities, and guests will be invited to lead their own sessions if they would like to do so. 

2.15pm – World cafe sessions

Session A: Mark Simmonds – Building a Transition Enterprise – from beer mat to business plan

Session B: Debate with Donna Hall, Chief Exec of Wigan Council – “Devloution and The Wigan Deal – what’s in it for you? How could it be used to stimulate Wigan’s local economy and how could it be exported beyond Wigan’s boundaries as revenue-producing service that community-based organisations might profit from?”

Session C: Mark Burton Mark will ask participants to challenge the possibility of a “non-monetary exchange system to promote community action and share resources that would otherwise be wasted.” 

Session D: tbc

Session E: tbc

Session F: tbc

3.15pm – Tea Break

Round table trouble-shooting to sort out the smaller problems;  the Big Nettles to grasp will be identified and parked

3.30pm Sharing of opportunities and challenges identified by each group, then discussion with morning panellists of how to tackle some of the common key challenges

4.15pm – Stephen Armstrong 

What we need to do today; tomorrow; and over the next six months – summary of next steps

4.30pmThankyou and goodbye

(Free creche facilities are available if pre-booked)

Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (GMT) Add to Calendar
Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) – The Mill at the Pier. Trencherfield Mill. Heritage Way, Wigan WN3 4BF GB – View Map
Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Greater #Manchester Low Carbon Hub hasn’t done its Carbon Literacy Training

[UPDATE – if you’re coming here because of a LinkedIn post, please email mcmonthly@gmail.com with the details of it! I am #curious.]

The board of the Greater Manchester “Low Carbon Hub” (LCH), which aims to guide the city to a low carbon future… has not done its “carbon literacy training.”

The LCH has been existence for 5 years (it was known as the “Environment Commission”, before a meaningless rebranding of the type Manchester excels at).  It is allegedly there to drive the low carbon economy, (inward investment mostly, it seems), drive retrofitting of houses (awkward now that the Green Deal has collapsed) and push for a ‘low carbon culture’, including carbon literacy training.

“Carbon Literacy Training” was spruiked in 2009 as one way that Manchester would develop a ‘low carbon culture’. The “Manchester Climate Change Action Plan” of 2009 set a goal that everyone who lived, worked or studied in Manchester (roughly 1 million people) would have received a day’s “Carbon Literacy Training” by the end of 2013.  In mid-2015 it was revealed that so far the number was… 5 thousand. Oops.

Now, an investigation by Manchester Climate Monthly has revealed that, with the exception of the person who co-created “Carbon Literacy”, no-one on the crushingly white Low Carbon Hub board has as yet done the training

We contacted all of the members of the board, via email, twitter of phone call.

The new chair of the Board, Sue Derbyshire, who also leads Stockport Council stated “I hope I remain open to learning new things and in fact enjoy that, however as an individual I am not motivated by completing courses and receiving certification for knowledge, although I acknowledge that has a role for many people and organisations.”

Robin Lawler, chair of Northwards Housing, told us via twitter that he would be completing the training on February 18.

Helen Smith, of TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) told us “I am new to the Board and to date have not had the opportunity to undertake the training.  I am on the list for the next opportunity, which I hope will be soon.”

Mark Atherton, who has performed secretariat functions for both the LCH and its predecessor stated that “I can confirm that I have not been blessed with the opportunity for carbon literacy training.”

The following people did not reply to emails sent on 24 January

Steve Rumbelow
Chief Lead Exec


Julian Packer


Anne Selby

Via info@lancswt.org.uk

Prof Nigel Mellors

University of Salford


Cllr Eunice Smethurst


Cllr Elaine Sherrington


The following people did not reply to twitter messages sent on 29 January

Louise Blythe

BBC Media City


Alison Gordon

New Economy Director of Project Development


The following people’s gatekeepers were contacted and told us (29 January) that  responses would be forthcoming.  At time of publication they have not arrived.

Steve Johnson – CEO of Electricity North West
Roger Milburn – Arup
Paul Maher – Siemens
Ian McAulay – Viridor

MCFly says:

While it’s a good step that the Low Carbon Hub is now having its meetings in public (the previous Chair, someone called ‘Richard Leese’, unilaterally decided the meetings would exclude members of the public) this latest debacle is troubling.

If the Low Carbon Hub is not going to lead by example, why should anyone take it seriously? If the people behind the Carbon Literacy Training can’t even get Manchester City Council and the Low Carbon Hub to do their training, why should we take their claims for a bright future seriously? Srsly?

Posted in Low Carbon Hub | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Event: “Disaster Dialogues” Mon 15th February #Manchester

from here.

Disaster Dialogue: Three myths in our dealings with disasters, climate change and development

Starts: 16:00 15 Feb 2016
Ends: 18:00 15 Feb 2016
What is it: Seminar
Organiser: School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Who is it for: Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public, University staff
Speaker: Terry Cannon, Gemma Sou

The Disaster Dialogue series, hosted by HCRI, is a regular multi-disciplinary forum that responds to the urgent challenges posed by disaster events, including their interface with climate change and sustainable development. It provides an opportunity for the disaster scholars, practitioners and students to dialogue and exchange ideas about the state-of-the-art research on disaster risk reduction and resilience capacity development.

In this presentation, Terry Cannon discusses key areas of work that overlap between development, climate change and disaster preparedness, in relation to three myths. The first is that people share the same priority for severe natural hazards with outsider “disaster managers”. Most people do not, because they have other priorities (of everyday life). Many people interpret risk through culture and religious beliefs, which are also ignored in DRR. The second is the myth of “community”. Does it actually exist, or do we pretend it is there in order to enable us to do our work? From this I explore the problems that arise when we do use the notion of community in what we do, or what others do. This is linked to the assumption that people are “rational” in the way we assume, and that evidence is collected and acted on. Instead, we need to take account of different rationalities (rather than irrationality) and the significance of emotions and experiences in determining behaviour in relation to “evidence”. The last myth relates to whether governments actually care about their people. When we do research to provide evidence for policy (“policy uptake”) we are making an assumption that there will be a rational, logical process that links our research to policy design and implementation. But what if the responsible organisations (national governments and international organisations) don’t actually care, or are constrained by factors that make evidence-based policy irrelevant? In all this the missing element is any consideration of power relations as the major determinant of what does and does not happen.

Suggested reading:

IFRC, 2014, World Disasters Report 2014 focus on Culture and Risk, Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, http://www.ifrc.org/en/publications-and-reports/world-disasters-report/world-disasters-report-2014/ (free download) – especially chapters 3 and 4.

Cannon, Terry & Detlef Mueller-Mahn, ‘Resilience, vulnerability and disasters’ Natural Hazards, 2010, 55:621-35.


Terry Cannon

Role: Research Fellow

Organisation: Institute of Development Studies, based at the University of Sussex

Biography: Terry has a background in development studies, and specialises on rural livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, vulnerability analysis and adaptation to climate change. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK, and previously worked with International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), University of Greenwich (London) and the Natural Resources Institute (UK). He recently co-edited and co-authored the World Disasters Report 2014 focus on Culture and Risk, and is co-author of At Risk: natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters (with Wisner, Blaikie and Davis), which is one of the most widely cited and used works in disaster risk reduction. He is currently working on a project in Bangladesh on cyclone preparedness and how to protect livelihoods as well as lives.

Gemma Sou

Role: Lecturer in Disaster Management

Organisation: Humanitarian and Conflict Response (HCRI)

Biography: Gemma received a BA in International Relations and Politics at the University of Sheffield (2008), an MA in Urban Planning with specialism in cities of the Global South (2009) at the University of Manchester and a PhD in Development Studies (2014), also here at the University of Manchester. She has worked on diverse projects for BBC Worldwide, the ESRC and DFID, the Ford Foundation, Goldsmiths University of London, The Natural Environment Research Council, the World Bank and UNOY Peacebuilders, based in The Hague. Broadly speaking her research focuses on the experiences of marginalised groups in cities of the Global South and their representation in development discourse. She focuses particularly on multi-scalar approaches to address disaster risk in ‘Southern cities’, the intersection of disaster risk management and broader development processes and how vulnerable groups are embedding disaster risk management into social and cultural norms at the grassroots level.

Posted in academia, Preparedness | Leave a comment

Floods, climate change and council pension fund investments. #Manchester

From press release:

Local campaigners are calling on Greater Manchester’s local authority pension fund to learn the lessons from the recent floods and redirect investments away from the fossil fuels that cause climate change.

The terrible flooding that hit parts of Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Yorkshire and other areas highlights the urgent need for divestment from fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels creates the global warming that is changing our climate. Expert opinion is that climate change makes such extreme weather more likely.

The Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) has a legal responsibility to invest wisely on behalf of its members working for local councils and other organisations. This means protecting the value of assets, ensuring a reasonable return and ensuring that investments do not contribute to risks. (1)

But as Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, recently warned the potential losses from falling share prices for fossil fuel companies were “potentially huge” as their reserves of coal, oil and gas become “stranded” as they cannot be burned if the world is to tackle climate change. (2) The GMPF lost an estimated £148 million over the last 18 months on its investments in coal mining (3).

Chris Smith, from local campaign Fossil Free Greater Manchester, commented:

“The hundreds of people across Greater Manchester who were affected by the recent flooding must be wondering why the Greater Manchester Pension Fund has £1.3 billion invested in coal, oil and gas companies.

“If GMPF is serious about securing a prosperous future for pension scheme members, it must divest from companies like Shell and BP, whose products are making climate change worse and flooding more likely.”

Over £1bn of Greater Manchester pensioners’ money is currently locked into these damaging fossil fuel companies, according to Platform, Community Reinvest, 350.org and Friends of the Earth. Nationwide, this data shows local council pension funds have £14bn invested in fossil fuels. That’s more than double the estimated £6bn cost of this years’ floods so far. (4)

In 2014, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund decided to divest from tobacco stocks because of public health concerns. (5) Public Health England have highlighted the health risks associated with climate change. (6)

Public health considerations should mean they now begin to divest from fossil fuels to encourage the needed rapid transition to a carbon neutral economy.  Money released by phased divestment could be diverted to renewable energy and energy conservation as well as to preparation for the impacts of climate change.

Fossil Free Greater Manchester is campaigning for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund to freeze its investments in fossil fuels and then carry out a managed programme of divestment over a five year period. (7)

Fossil Free Greater Manchester are encouraging local residents to support their campaign by signing an online petition at http://bit.ly/divestgmpf

Posted in Campaign Update, press release journalism | Tagged | Leave a comment

“Community Energy GM” – #Manchester #solar

From press release:

Something amazing is happening right on our doorstep…and it’s called Community Energy GM (CEGM)

18 of our local community organisations in Greater Manchester – youth clubs, community gardens, disability charities and furniture recycling centres to name a few – are working together to fundraise for their own solar roofs.

This is all part of their plan to make a future for themselves and guarantee that they’ll still be supporting our communities in years to come. I think we’ve all felt the pinch over the last few years but these panels will provide them with some extra resource to ensure they can continue doing the work they do. The work that makes Greater Manchester the wonderful place it is!

To make it happen though they need to raise £3,000 each. A challenge, yes. So, let’s make it easier for them! Can you help us support them by doing one or more of the following actions:

  • Spread the word on social media. You can either retweet this post or share one of the drafts below on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Do you have a newsletter, mailout or blog going out in the next few weeks that could feature CEGM?We have images saved here for use and can easily put together some text too. Just let us know on 0207 388 6688 or email cecily@1010uk.org.
  • Donate – can you spare £5 to kick start their fundraising? Donate here – www.cegm.org.uk.
  • Do you know anyone else in Manchester that may want to get involved? Please feel free to forward this email on if so. Anyone is welcome to take part – the more the merrier!
  • Any other ways you can help? If you have any other thoughts or suggestions then let us know – a meeting with the CEGM team or a suggested event or venue, we’d love to hear from you on cegm@1010uk.org

The groups are going to be investing the £3,000 they raise into a larger co-owned solar roof through a community benefit society (bencom). Later in the year, you’ll be able to invest too. Fancy it? Register your interest atcegm@gmcvo.org.uk

For now though, let’s start them on their journey with a bang. We’ll keep you updated but in the meantime you can check their progress at cegm.org.uk.

Thanks so much,

Ali Crush, 0161 277 1022, alison.crush@gmcvo.org.uk

Posted in Energy, press release journalism | Leave a comment

On renewables versus fossil fuels- games incumbents play… #Manchester #climate #LootingTIvoryTower

lootingivorytowerHere’s the latest “Looting the Ivory Tower” blog post, by Sarah Warren. Sarah worked in the NHS for a number of years and is currently studying with the Centre for Alternative Technology in North Wales, towards a MSc in Sustainability and Adaptation.

Geels, F. W. (2014) ‘Regime Resistance against Low-Carbon Transitions: Introducing Politics and Power into the Multi-Level Perspective’, Theory, Culture & Society, 31(5), pp. 21–40. doi: 10.1177/0263276414531627.


Their argument in a tweet: “Incumbent UK energy companies effectively obstruct the transition to renewables by exerting influence over government, who in turn set terms for debate.”
Should activists pay attention?: Yes. Current UK energy policy is being dictated by nuclear and fossil fuel industries, and addresses none of the key issues: energy security, high energy prices, climate change.
Should activists try to read the source material, or is this summary All A Busy Activist Needs To Know? Summary suffices

What’s the issue (and why should we care)?
Why isn’t the transition to renewable energy taking place more effectively, based on current rapid technological developments? What is the role, if any, of players in the incumbent energy companies?

What do they have to say?
The traditional way of thinking about new technologies penetrating a market is that innovations gradually build up momentum, then as they begin to change the market landscape, this creates pressure on the incumbent market players, destabilising them and creating a window of opportunity for the new players. However, Geels considers the penetration of renewables into the UK electricity market, and argues that the incumbent regime actually actively resists the incursions of the new players. The established market players form an alliance with policy-makers oriented towards maintaining the status quo – because of their close mutual dependency. Companies use overt lobbying, but ministers also begin to internalise the points of view of incumbent industry, as a result of close working and frequent meetings.

How convincing is their methodology?
Convincing. Geels illustrates the article with data demonstrating that UK coal and nuclear generation are both increasing. He also considers what other writers have had to say about political power, and about the framing of media coverage – which has moved on since the financial crash from focusing on climate change, to a much greater concern for short-term cost.

What would a critic say?
A highly-regarded and much-cited paper by a world-leading scholar in the field.

What else could they have said?
Paper seems pretty comprehensive. I guess he could have looked at other industries or countries, to establish if the same issues arise – although these are dealt with in his wider body of publications.

What are the implications for local activism?
Fracking continues to be pushed hard by government, and will require concerted and determined direct action from the whole community to resist. Meanwhile, obstacles (both financial and planning) are being put in the way of renewable development – so these will require very active and imaginative support from the whole community to have any chance of success.

What else do these people refer to that looks interesting?
Hess, D. J. (2014) ‘Sustainability transitions: A political coalition perspective’, Research Policy, 43(2), pp. 278–283. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.10.008.

Levy, D. L. and Newell, P. J. (2002) ‘Business Strategy and International Environmental Governance: Toward a Neo-Gramscian Synthesis’, Global Environmental Politics, 2(4), pp. 84–101. doi: 10.1162/152638002320980632.



For sake of transparency – The author of the paper under discussion is the PhD supervisor of the editor of Manchester Climate Monthly.  So, accusations of sycophancy etc etc.  The author of the review (Sarah Warren) was not asked to write what she did!

For the sake of the pedants- don’t write in about the tweet being too long.  “Incumbent UK energy comps effectively obstruct transition 2 renewables by exerting influence over govt, who in turn set terms for debate.”

Posted in academia, Looting TIvory Tower | 3 Comments