Best to get the disclaimers in first; I have nothing against UniLife (“the free magazine for The University of Manchester”). It is well-designed, well-written and has lots of useful information in it about what has been going on and what is coming up at the University of Manchester.
The latest issue (Vol 9, no 8) is the usual 24 glossy full colour pages. Stuff about musicians, writers becoming professors etc etc. Listings of upcoming events.
And the recent “Ecocities” event, about adapting Manchester to be ready for the shitstorm heading our way? Bottom of page 4. Two sentences.(1)
Again, nothing against the editors here. They do not, after all, set our societal agenda, but rather follow it, just as much as anyone else. Still and all, it’s revealing (and terrifying) that – even at an elite academic institution like Manchester University – the habitability of planet Earth gets the footer of page four while pretty much everything else – “A right Royal celebration” “’Biggest ever computer conference to honour Alan Turing’ and “Britain’s oldest battlefield?’ – get far more space and attention.
How far climate change has fallen in three short years. The “let’s put all our eggs in the Copenhagen basket” is beginning to look a little silly, no? The question is, what will make us all – academics, journalists, bureaucrats, capitalists and Joe and Jane Punter, wake up and smell the coffee? Answers on a post-card please…
(1) The organisers of the Ecocities conference will no doubt be delighted with the amount of press coverage their event received – two sentences in UniLife, nowt in the Manchester Evening News [Update 7/6/12 - and this, ferretted out by a reader with Google News at his pawtips]. And of course an at-distance kicking by MCFly. On the basis of this overwhelming success, they will be surely be re-hiring the same London-based PR company for future events.