#goodnews – Dragons! (Is winter coming?)

So, gonna start printing occasional bits of good news, to offset the horror that is the continuing and escalating incompetence and delusion that is Manchester climate tosh…

The first bit is a press release that got sent a couple of weeks ago, about a dragonfly reintroduction scheme…

 

Home Sweet Home for White-faced Darter

White-faced Darter - Kevin Reynolds

There is excitement at Cheshire Wildlife Trust as they have just seen what they believe to be their first ‘true Delamere’ white-faced darters emerge.

Chris Meredith, Delamere Conservation Officer at Cheshire Wildlife Trust explained the importance of this year’s survey results. “Sightings this year are really significant. We know that we have had white-faced darters successfully emerge from our work introducing mature larvae to the site, but this is the first year where we have not introduced new larvae to the pool. This means the adults that are emerging this month are either from larvae that were at an earlier stage and have therefore survived for a longer period or are in fact the result of adults breeding successfully at our site.”

Over the last few years an ambitious programme has been underway to re-introduce this rare species to Delamere Forest. The return of the dragonflies comes after several years of dedicated work to reinstate and improve lost habitats at the well-known forest in partnership with the Forestry Commission, along with a carefully planned series of white-faced darter translocations.

As one of the UK’s rarest dragonflies, the white-faced darter had been absent from Cheshire for over a decade and are only found at a handful of locations in England. The project began in 2013 and involved collecting the tiny vibrant green larvae from healthy populations at the Natural England National Nature Reserve sites of Fenn’s and Whixall Moss in Shropshire and Chartley Moss in Staffordshire.

The larvae of these small blood-red and black insects, a specialist of lowland peatbogs, were introduced to a mossland pool, in Delamere Forest. Studies confirmed the pool had suitable water quality and vegetation to support this species with its submerged sphagnum moss for the nymphs to hide and prosper and the common cotton-grass and soft rush to provide the ideal ladder for emergence.

“We are thrilled with the results of the project so far and although still early days we are very happy that the restoration work started by the Forestry Commission in the 1990s has improved habitats so that they are once again capable of supporting a wide range of species, including the rare white faced darter” Adrienne Bennett, Ecologist at the Forestry Commission stated.

The nymphs of the white-faced darter develop and feed underwater for at least two years before emerging, and taking to the wing to find a mate and breed so the Trust will have to wait a little longer to find out whether Delamere once again has its own self-sustaining population of white-faced darters. The pool will continue to be monitored regularly through tracking flying adults and also by counting the empty larval cases the dragonflies leave behind on vegetation when emerging from the water.

The white-faced darter reintroduction project is a partnership between Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, the British Dragonfly Society and Cheshire West and Chester Council, with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Linley Shaw Foundation.

Connecting corridors have been cleared between mossland sites in Delamere Forest to encourage specialist species, including the white-faced darter, to move around the forest. The long-term hope is that the series of mossland pools that are being restored as part of Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s and the Forestry Commission’s WREN FCC Biodiversity Action Fund funded Delamere’s Lost Mosses Project will encourage this species to expand. “The creation of several breeding populations is important for the long term sustainability of the white-faced darter in Delamere Forest as their breeding pools will change over time,” explained Chris Meredith.

The conservation work undertaken in Delamere is currently a short-listed finalist in the CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) Large Scale Conservation Best Practice Awards. The winner will be announced on 21st June.

A dragonfly re-introduction scheme has only been attempted once before in the UK.

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Uni of #Manchester prof on air quality – 40 thousands premature deaths a year in UK.

EXPERT COMMENTARY: “40,000 premature deaths a year in UK caused by poor air quality”

Professor Hugh Coe is Professor of Atmospheric Composition in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester and a leading expert in air pollution.

Today (Thursday 15th May) is the first ever National Clean Air Day and Professor Hugh Coe says it is imperative we reduce air pollution in our towns and cities.

“Poor air quality in our cities has been estimated to lead to over 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. The main health effects that are known to arise from poor air quality are heart disease and poor lung function. However, infant development, cognitive function and other diseases and conditions have also been linked to air pollution, though these links are not yet well proven.”

Prof Coe says those living in ubran areas are at the highest risk levels: “To minimise the effects of pollution on our health we need to decrease the levels of pollution in our towns and cities and also reduce our exposure to the pollution,” he says.

“The closer we are to car exhausts the greater our exposure, so living close to major highways, working for extended periods near to major traffic routes, spending a long time in a car in traffic where emissions are taken into the car through the front grille all increase our risk.”

So what makes air pollution and contaminants so dangerous and what causes it? “Oxides of nitrogen and tiny particulates less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, that’s less than ten times the width of a human hair, exceed legislated guidelines many times each year across our cities affecting people who live and work there.”

Diesel vehicles are a particular issue according to Prof Coe, “these oxides of nitrogen are emitted largely by road vehicles and, in recent years, it has become apparent that reductions in emissions from diesels under test conditions are not being translated into on road reductions under real driving conditions. This has led to us experiencing large concentrations in our cities.”

Prof Coe adds whilst the vehicles on our roads are undoubtedly the primary source of air pollution, there are also other contributory factors: “Particulates arise from vehicle exhausts but also from other sources such as wood burning in homes in winter, commercial cooking, non-exhaust road emissions from tyre, engine and brake wear and resuspension from road surfaces.  Construction makes a substantial contribution also.”

But Prof Coe adds there are some simple ways the public can help reduce emissions: “Things like not adding to pollution during the school run and exposing children to harmful pollution are extremely beneficial. Think about the journey, do you really need to use your car? And it’s not just the school run. We need to consider how we can commute to work in a cleaner, but efficient way and to think more carefully before we use our vehicles.”

That is why Prof Coe believes events like National Clean Air Day need to be embraced by the relevant authorities and general public: “The first ever National Clean Air Day aims to inform us of how we create pollution, how we can minimise it and also how we can reduce our exposure to it. The day is to encourage us into action to reduce our reliance on using our cars wherever we can, so we are not fouling the air for our neighbours.”

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Activist Training in #Manchester 24-8 July. Deadline to apply 18th June!!

from here.  Looks good.  Please forward to any young folk (18-25) that you know…

Applications open – Demand the Impossible, Manchester 2017

Demand the Impossible is a one-week course in Manchester from July 24th-28thFREE, including lunch and travel, but places are limited. Venue: Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Manchester M47HR. Click here for directions. Application deadline: June 18th, midnight.

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Protest, political activism and ideas to change the world

The world is in crisis. Eight men own as much wealth as half the world’s population. Racists and fanatics are on the rise from the US and Europe to Russia, Syria and Turkey.

In Britain after Brexit, some of the most conservative forces in society have taken power. The Conservative government has brought the NHS to its knees and anti-immigrant politics is on the rise. Young people face job insecurity, spiralling education costs and a deteriorating welfare state. Meanwhile, the racist and misogynist Trump is in the Whitehouse and fascist Marine Le Pen came close to winning the French presidency.

At the same time, there is resistance. Millions took to the streets worldwide immediately after Trump’s inauguration in one of the biggest ever international days of protest. The Black Lives Matter movement has taken off on both sides of the Atlantic. There has been mass opposition to austerity in the UK and across Europe.

If you want to understand what’s happening better, and explore how we can change things, Demand the Impossible is for you.

  • What are the underlying causes of the huge social and economic problems we face?
  • How can we build movements for social change?
  • Can we imagine a world beyond exploitation and oppression?
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What does Demand the Impossible involve?

  • Sharing ideas with like minded young people.
  • Talks from inspiring campaigners and thinkers, exploring ideas through interactive discussions, activist skills training and film screenings.
  • Plan and carry out your own campaign as part of the course.

Topics covered

  • Brexit, Trump and the rise of the far Right
  • Protest, social movements and political change
  • Capitalism and alternative economic systems
  • The housing crisis and homelessness
  • Policing and racism
  • Young people and mental health

Widening participation

We welcome applications from everyone aged 16-25 but we prioritise making Demand the Impossible available to people from less privileged backgrounds. We use the governmentWidening Participation criteria as a guide in reviewing applications. That doesn’t mean you can’t apply if you don’t meet the criteria  though – there is some flexibility.

Apply here.

For more information on how Demand the Impossible started, what its aims are and what the course is like see our About page.

NB this is nowt to do with Manchester Climate Monthly, and you can bet your bottom pound that they won’t be using novice lines,

or talking about the problems of sage-on-the-stage, of ego-foddering, of the smugosphere, of the emotacycle.  But still, it looks good!

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#Manchester “Clean Air” Day, 15th June. BCAG statement

Manchester has awful air quality, in breach of European Union regulations.  Fortunately we are solving this problem by… leaving the European Union (#takebackcontrol).

So, this Thursday is “Clean Air Day”   . This event is happening.

MCFly has received the following press release from the estimable Breathe Clean Air Group, which has been campaigning vigorously for years.

 

The Breathe Clean Air Group welcomes Greater Manchester Clean Air Day. Although this event focusses on traffic air-pollution the group has appealed to the organisers and GM Mayor Andy Burnham not to forget air pollution caused by industry, power generation and domestic wood burning stoves.
“Air pollution from traffic exhausts is mainly nitrogen dioxide, which is an irritant and toxic gas, and affects the development of children’s lungs” said Pete Kilvert, Chairman of BCAG. “This is bad enough, but air pollution from industry, power generation and wood burning can contain heavy metals, other more toxin chemicals and Particulate Matter. The Particulate Matter, especially from burning biomass and from domestic wood-burning stoves, can get deep into the lungs, then transfers into the bloodstream and can lodge in the body’s organs, including the brain. This can cause heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Recent research has also linked Particulate Matter air pollution to Alzheimer’s disease and autism.”
The Breathe Clean Air Group has been campaigning for nearly seven years to stop the construction of the Barton Renewable Energy Plant in Davyhulme. “This is in fact an Incinerator which will burn the Peel Group’s waste wood and plastics and dump it into the air that we breathe” added Pete Kilvert. “Its poor technology, outdated filtration system and under-sized chimney stack will spread its pollution throughout the county and will create massive ill-health impacts. It will operate 24/7 for the next 25 years or more.”
The Group is also concerned that Davyhulme has been designated air pollution capitol of Greater Manchester with continuing offensive odours from Davyhulme Wastewater Treatment Facility, planning permission granted for huge storage tanks of toxic chemicals, coalbed methane fracking and the nearby Port Salford facility.
“It’s time that Greater Manchester and Trafford Council recognise the dangers of air pollution from industry, power generation and domestic wood burning and do something to reduce it,” added Mr Kilvert.

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Training on Class and Social Movements: Devon, 3-6 August escaping the #smugosphere

Class matters. It really really matters. If environmental social movement organisations continue to ignore it, continue to not understand all the hidden injuries of class and do something about them, they will continue to condemn themselves to irrelevancy.

So, what is to be done? Well, there is some training on offer. I suspect it will be quite good. If anyone from Manchester goes, it would be GREAT to have a follow-up from them, either as an interview with MCFly, or else a meeting with people who give a damn.

Details here

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skillfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society?

If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

Our lead trainer is Betsy Leondar-Wright, one of the co-founders of Class Action in the US. She has facilitated over 100 class and classism workshops since the 1980s, including three weekend Class Action Trainings of Trainers.

We have two UK co-facilitators who will be helping to adapt US tools to the UK class system:

Oluwafemi Hughes is a highly-experienced equality and diversity facilitator from a working-class background.Milan Rai is an activist and trainer from a professional-middle-class background.

This Training of Trainers is intended for class-aware people who are ready for an advanced workshop because of their experience in raising others’ awareness, whether by leading workshops or community dialogues on other oppression issues, by teaching about economic inequality, by doing educational work in the context of workplace or community organising, or in some other consciousness-raising setting.

If you have experienced marginalisation due to your class, race, gender, religion, nationality or immigrant status, disability, age or other identity, you are enthusiastically invited to apply. Diversity is our strength.

Space is limited, so not everyone who applies will be able to attend.

Fees (£60-£220 for individuals) cover food, accommodation, handouts and training.

Please contact Peace News if you are employed by an NGO and would like to attend.

Scholarships are available.

Location & timings

Step-free-access residential space near Tiverton in Devon. 7pm on Thursday 3 August till 4pm on Sunday 6 August.

Because of our experiential approach, it is not possible to come late, leave early, or break in the middle of the workshop.

How to apply

Please read the full information on the PN website and then fill in the application form linked there. Please do apply as soon as you can – the final closing date for applications is 30 June.

– More info from Milan Rai on 07980 748 555 or via skillingup AT peacenews.info. Please read the full info on the PN website before contacting him!

https://www.peacenews.info/node/8735/exploring-class-training-trainers

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Corbyn, #Manchester City Council and #climate change – what next?

corbynWho knew?  Some of us hoped for a hung parliament, but how many of actually believed it could happen?  We misunderestimated the young – they actually came out to vote.  Massive kudos to all those who encouraged that, who went canvassing in the Bury constituencies.*

It’s very hard to know what will happen next.  [“Thoughts on what next #2ndGE2017]

But this much seems clear to me.

a) Regardless of whether there is another General Election before May next year, thanks to the Corbyn effect, it is going to be even more difficult for “minor parties” (i.e. the Lib Dems and Greens) to get seats on Manchester City Council at the May 2018  “all-out” local elections.  (A recap – Manchester City Council has 32 wards, with 3 councillors per ward. Councillors serve for a four year term.  There are rolling elections, so usually 32 councillors are up for re-election each year, with one year ‘fallow’.  Because Manchester’s population has grown so much, the electoral boundaries are being redrawn.  Next May there will be an ‘all-out’ election where all 96 seats are up for grabs.  The candidate who gets the most votes will have a four year term. The second will have to stand for re-election in two years, and the one who comes third will be up for re-election in 2019.  Therefore, while there MIGHT be a few Lib Dems and even theoretically some Greens who are elected in 2018 (though I think there will be fewer than there otherwise might have been, since people will assume – wrongly – that in voting for Leese’s lot they are somehow supporting Corbyn’s agenda) – , they are likely going to be crushed in 2019.  And we will return to what we have had for ages – the drastically unhealthy situation of a one-party state (currently Labour have 95 of the 96 councillors).

b) Manchester Labour will manage the tensions with whatever government is in control in London, as it has done so well for the past 25 years or so.   These guys are survivors.

c) The environmental groups will continue to fail at building the actual infrastructure of resistance and monitoring.  They will continue to hold exclusionary meetings with bad formats, they will continue to be part of the emotacycle.    Canvassing is one thing, and it’s great that people are doing it. But if/when Corbyn gets in, there will be bureaucratic backsliding, compromises and all the rest of it.  We need to be preparing for that NOW, learning how to counteract the techniques of the bureaucrats and the elected members who blithely promise and never deliver.  That work is less of a buzz than en-masse canvassing. It’s a long slow depressing grind.  I totally understand why people don’t want to do it.  But if it isn’t done, you end up where we are now…

d) In the absence of infrastructure of monitory democracy, there will be periodic spasms where promises are made, exhortations “we all have to do our bit”. The next one will be the Mayor’s Environmental Summit (I’ve still not received my invite).  And these will add up to nothing.

Meanwhile, there are moves around ‘radical municipalism’.  As per the last blog post on this site, there is a “Steady State Manchester” meeting about the elections on Weds 14th June.

June:  Let’s talk about the elections!

Wednesday 14th June 6.30-8pm
Lounge at Manchester Methodist Hall
Central Buildings, Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JQ

Also, this morning “Plan C” posted a promise of, well, read for yourself

Footnote

  • Manchester Climate Monthly is not in anyway affiliated to any party. Editor not a member, blah blah blah.

 

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Upcoming event: #Manchester “let’s talk about the elections” 14 June

From Steady State Manchester

June:  Let’s talk about the elections!

Wednesday 14th June 6.30-8pm
Lounge at Manchester Methodist Hall
Central Buildings, Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JQ

We’ve now had both the Greater Manchester Mayoral election and the General Election. Together these define a new context for our work towards a more Viable Economy in Greater Manchester. So what are the opportunities and risks of the new situation.

In both cases there has been some move away from the formerly dominant models of how to develop and manage the economy and the spaces we live and work in. There is a renewed emphasis on social justice and fairness and those who did best in the elections were critical of much of standard policy formulae of the last 35 years. But in both cases there is still an emphasis on so called “economic growth” and a technological optimism about the serious challenges facing, not just people in Greater Manchester and the UK, but humanity in general.

Steady State Manchester is not a party political organisation. Our collective has members of the Labour, Green and Women’s Equality Parties, as well as unaffiliated people. Many of us, party members or not, took part in campaigning and in hustings events and we do share what is (perhaps unhelpfully) called a “progressive” outlook. But we share an understanding that continued expansion of the “economy” will not deliver social and economic justice, and worse, that it means a suicidal race to economic and environmental catastrophe.

So join us on Wednesday 14th June for an open discussion to explore what the new context means for us and how we can both use the opportunities and minimise the threats involved.
Wednesday 14th June 6.30-8pm
Lounge at Manchester Methodist Hall
Central Buildings, Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JQ

No need to book.

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