Sometimes you can say a lot in 140 characters…
Sometimes you can say a lot in 140 characters…
Manchester City Council’s officers and members have shown stunning incompetence since 2009 (well, earlier) on climate change. They have been relentlessly incapable of keeping their own promises, let alone taking on good ideas from outside of the walls of Castle Grayskull. It’s a pattern that repeats in other fields too, I’m told. There’s just a very very sick culture at play, driven by targets (often missed) and a desire not to let those higher-up know that things are going wrong. The austerity cuts probably also led to ‘evaporative cooling’, with competent staff leaving or taking early retirement, since the selection process for who would stay was not based on merit but on toadying ability.
This quote below, which is not about Manchester City Council, might as well be.
Organizational culture has an important influence on an organization’s innovativeness; it is of specific importance whether tradition or continuous change is a value in the organization (Kanter,1985). People try to adjust to a certain culture and if changes are desired, the individuals will be much more motivated to search information about possible changes and improvements.However,strong cultures tend to be xenophobic and reluctant to everything that is different, hinder the process of change and foster inbreeding (Kotter,1996). These kinds of cultures are unfavourable to innovation,especially if the ideas for innovation come from outside the organization,which is known as a Not Invented Here(NIH) syndrome (Fagerberg,2004).
Since organizational culture also influences the employees’ perception of the external environment (Oden, 1997), consequently, they are also reluctant to assimilate and use external information because they are incapable of recognizing their value, even though they might be aware of them. Therefore, these kinds of cultures leave little room for the absorption of the external sources of knowledge,especially if they contradict the existing beliefs (Van DenBoschetal.,1999).
Murovec, N. and Prodan, I. 2009. Absorptive capacity,its determinants,and influence on innovation output: Cross-cultural validation of the structural model. Technovation, Vol. 29, pp.859–872. page 862
What is to be done?
Well, social movement organisations could have a look at their OWN absorptive capacity, couldn’t they?
There have been some defining moments in the UK anti-fracking movement this year and big fights against fracking are on the horizon. What better time for an event to provide space for groups to meet, share skills and collaborate with each other?
Join us in Manchester on September 24th for a free national meet up of anti-fracking groups and activists – a day of workshops, inspirational speakers and updates from the fracking struggle across the country.
Strong local communities have kept the UK free of fracking for five years and we want to make sure it stays that way. As more and more communities start to mobilise around the country, we want everyone to benefit from what we as a movement have learned so far.
Join skill shares on topics such as:
· How to respond to planning applications
· The media and fighting fracking
· Local campaign strategy
· Getting your councillors to oppose fracking
· Know your rights
More trainings sessions are being put together that will help build knowledge and sharing success stories, alongside other useful training sessions, to skill up fracktivists around the country.
This is a chance to share the skills you and your community have to stop fracking as well as learn new ones from others who have been fighting the industry for a number of years.
Register for your free ticket and find out how to take action together in our communities, and link up with others across the country who are on the frontline facing the threat of fracking.
Co-hosted by Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Greater Manchester!
Book your ticket here: https://uniteagainstfracking.eventbrite.co.uk/
It is widely accepted that mismanagement of the Walshaw Moor blanket bogs for intensive grouse rearing has contributed to three severe floods in Hebden Bridge over the last four years, and downstream in the Calder Valley.
Some households and businesses have still not recovered from the terrible Boxing Day flood last year, when the town centre was under up to five feet of filthy water.
Protesters are calling for Richard Bannister, the owner of Walshaw Moor Estate, to urgently take ecological conservation and restoration measures that will significantly reduce peak flow in Hebden Water.
Although as an EU Natura 2000 site Walshaw Moor has the highest possible level of environmental protection, the landowner’s agreement with Natural England permits so-called “cool burning of heather, as well as extensive track building and draining within 50 metres of the many grouse shooting butts gouged out of the peat.
Supported by £2.5m of taxpayer subsidies via Environmental Stewardship payments for “restoring” the moors, the owner of Walshaw Moor, Richard Bannister leaves vast swathes of precious peatland scarred with vehicle tracks and drained and burnt dry – although the permitted “cool burning’ is supposed not to damage the sphagnum moss that grows on moorland peat and is vital for the survival of the blanket bog.
This is all so that unnaturally large populations of red grouse can be nurtured as live targets for ‘guns’.
Leeds University research, led by Dr Lee Brown and published in 2014, confirms Ban the Burn campaigners’ criticisms of the Walshaw Moor Estate burning.
In all areas that the Leeds University researchers looked at over a period of five years, permitted cool burning destroyed the sphagnum moss and left bare peat.
It also lowered the water table so the peat dried out, oxidised and became a source of net carbon loss – rather than a net carbon uptake through taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and sinking it into the peat. This worsens climate change.
Dr Joseph Holden’s 2015 update to this research confirmed that the destruction of the sphagnum by permitted burning on blanket bog also increases the amount and speed of water runoff during the worst 20% of storms, so worsening the risk of flooding in areas below the moors.
In response to a complaint from local residents’ group Ban the Burn, the European Commission has started a legal process against the UK government for:
The UK government had two months to respond to the EU Commission letter, which was sent on 29th April 2016. This is the first step in a legal process. But with the UK vote to leave the EU, Yorkshire and Humberside MEP Linda McAvan has said it is unclear whether the European Commission is following up the process.
Hebden Bridge residents are determined to keep up the pressure to protect and restore the rare and valuable blanket bog and in doing so, to reduce the flood risk to the town and the downstream Calder Valley.
PHOTOS are attached.
1. Heather burning on Walshaw Moor Estate
2. Stink pits for trapped animal corpses on Walshaw Moor Estate (please credit to Animal Aid)
3. Grouse butts and burnt moorland on Walshaw Moor Estate
NOTES TO EDITORS
The studies referred to in the press release are:
1. Brown, L. E, Holden, J. and Palmer, S. M. (2014) Effects of moorland burning on the ecohydrology of river basins. Key findings from the EMBER project. University of Leeds.
Dr Brown’s comprehensive five year research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council with additional support from Yorkshire Water.
A two page Executive Summary and full report of key findings are both downloadable (pdf files).
2. Impact of prescribed burning on blanket peat hydrology
Authors: Joseph Holden, Sheila M Palmer, Kerrylyn Johnston, Catherine Wearing, Brian Irvine, Lee. E Brown
First published: 21 August 2015
Published in Water Resources Research
The study is online here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014WR016782/full
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The goal of giving everyone who lives, works or studies in Manchester a day’s “Carbon Literacy” training looks to be dead in the water.
At the July meeting of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, the City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Kate Chappell, conceded that it was a “difficult programme to roll out across large institutions” and that there was a question over whether the City Council would commit to it in its current form. She pointed to public exhibitions (such as the “Climate Control” exhibition at the Manchester Museum) as one way forward.
Members of the scrutiny committee did NOT point out that the roll out of Carbon Literacy was in the Manchester Labour Party’s 2016 election manifesto, but instead voiced their frustration that the training kept getting cancelled at short notice. (MCFly first reported this in August 2014).
Nobody pointed out that at in late 2014 the chair of Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee agreed that a “lessons learned from only getting 25 councillors carbon literate instead of the target of 60” should be produced.
You can see the recommendation here.
The report was, of course, never produced
Back to now: the agreement of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee was that they might “scrap an unnecessary and unachievable target and get a new one”, with a report back a “couple of meetings time.”
If this comes to pass – but seriously, who could defend the record of carbon literacy training in this city? – then it is just another retreat from the giddy “ambition” of 2009.
A very brief list of retreats would include
If you ever get the Council to admit its failings, they will Blame The Tories. Every time. Regardless of the facts of the matter.
There is no point engaging with these people. They lack both the willingness and the capacity to act at the speed that is required. But ward-based community “resilience” will ALSO leave many vulnerable people in horrible positions, when the shit really starts hitting the fan. What is needed is a broad-based, intelligent, learning social movement that is capable of winning small battles but is also able to build its own capacity to act. There are things that could be done, but they won’t be, while we lounge about in the smugosphere. So it goes.
Next up: MCFly takes a big dose of humble pie (nom nom), after making wildly inaccurate predictions about what would happen at the NESC meeting. Watch this space