Interview with #climate striker: Charlotte Lastoweckyi of #Manchester

strike-logo-EN-colorThis Friday, 20th September, there’s a (global) climate strike.  Last week saw an interview with Emma Greenwood. Now, Charlotte Lastoweckyi answers the same questions…
So, what has been going on over the summer with the school strikes – what sorts of activities have been undertaken, what sorts of groups have been offering what kind of support?
Over the summer we had been discussing plans and trying to come up with some ideas to make this strike one that can accommodate everybody whether they be a little kid or an elderly person. We also didn’t want to go a head with plans without coordinating with the trade unions as of course they’re also striking with us. So i attended meetings and gave talks about what it means to strike. We also decided to hold an emergency strike on the 26th July to highlight the irregularity of the heatwave that summer.
The next big thing is the September 20th strike. What is planned for Manchester? How can people get involved in planning, or supporting the folks who are planning it?
We hope that this next strike will be very impactful, as it will show a united front between young people and adults, i believe that it will definitely highlight what extreme measures people are taking to actually be heard by people in power. The support from everyone has been incredible, people coming up to us and messaging us, saying that they support us and that they’re going to come out in their lunch is very empowering. We’re planning speeches, singing, arts and crafts and of course a march!! We have just figured out the route and we’re very happy about it.  People just talking about the youth strike and sharing our message helps us so much and we are deeply grateful for those people who do.
Here’s the tricky one (as per earlier conversation) – how is the ‘movement’ stronger on September 21st than it was on September 19th because of the strike? What new relationships have been created, what existing ones strengthened? How are the skills, knowledge and passions of ‘new’ people harnessed?
I think that the sense of community and the relationships have grown from strike to strike, we hope that this continues with the next one coming up. If you look back in history there isn’t a time where one generation and another explicitly come together for a common cause on a scale this big. As we’ve been working so closely with some incredible people with the same motivations, those bonds won’t go away so easily and will continue to flourish the more we work together. I think that young people like me have breathed new life into this movement and have become a catalyst which has motivated people to come together and fight even harder.  The network that we have created is forever growing and changing for the better.
Are the monthly school strikes going to continue to happen? If so, same format, or new format(s)?
Definitely, we haven’t achieve everything we have set out to do! We are only human, we adapt and change to our situations, we make mistakes. Every strike we get feedback about what went well, what didn’t work as good, this definitely helps us massively as we try and make the strikes the best that we can be. The place is always consistent as it is so symbolic our striking past but the times and the schedule of things does change as we’ve found that new things sometimes work however sometimes they don’t and we take that into account when organising the strikes. We’ll never stop coming together and demanding change!
Anything else you’d like to say/suggest/ask back.
What do you want to say to the next generation? Do you want to say that you stood by the sidelines or that you were on the front-lines for change? As a person of only 17 i want to tell my kids and grandkids that i was on the right side of history and stood up for what i know was right.
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Compelling short film “Help”, made for #GlobalClimateStrike – plus interview with director and producer.

This highly effective film is worth your time. (and is worth sharing)

The producer and director kindly answered a few questions about the film.

Who are you both (you and the director). What films have you made before/been involved in?
Director of cult classic film GHOSTWATCH Lesley Manning, and BAFTA Award winning film producer Annalise Davis.

Annalise and Lesley: We made SEVEN3 together in March (another climate change short). And we’ve made lots of feature and short films before that.

Tell us a bit about where the impetus to make this film in support of the climate strike came from? Were you approached/commissioned? By who? Did you pitch? Was it part of a competition.
Annalise: I was in a state of mild paralysis over climate breakdown until Extinction Rebellion and Parents for Future came along. It was cathartic to meet people who are as worried as I am, and I realised that doing something is always going to be better than doing nothing.

And so I decided to make the film and pay for it myself. It feels like such an urgent issue that there isn’t time to find the money elsewhere, and we did it on a shoestring. Not even a string, more like a thread. We’re lucky to know amazing film-makers, and work at the fabulous National Film and Television School, which also supported us. Then in the edit a minor miracle happened, we were given a grant from Our Kids’ Climate, which made a big difference in paying for the footage we had to use.

Lesley: Annalise approached me and I jumped at the opportunity. I am very proud of the fact that all crew and contributors have brought their expertise because of the issues, so no commissioner, no pitch, no competition.

Annalise: Lesley is also a great director to work with, that helps too!

Tell us a bit about the conceptualisation of the film – was it hard/time consuming to come up with the final idea? What other ideas would you have liked to use?
Ben Lyle, the writer, initially came up with the idea of a burning house, and all the adults are ignoring the fire as they’re on their phones, laptops etc. Only a kid is seeing the fire and trying to get them out. Fabulous idea, but needs lots of money! So his next idea was this one, which he came up with fully formed. It was conceived as predominantly a performance piece, and so finding an extraordinary actor was key…

Tell us a bit about the making of the film – the casting, the production (how long did it take).
Lesley: Julie [Hesmondhalgh] is such a clever actor, sensitive and intuitive, I was thrilled when she said she would do it.
Annalise: Julie was a godsend, and we’d worked with James already on SEVEN. In terms of location, Lesley had her heart set on a dream corridor, which she’s always liked the look of. We thought we’d never get it, as it’s in the centre of London. But we contacted the owner, and he was extraordinarily helpful. All along the way, people have been unbelievably generous with their resources and time.
We shot it in a day, post production was two weeks.

What impact do you hope the film will have?
Lesley: To make people think and hopefully feel.
Annalise: To make people feel and hopefully think.

What about beyond 20th September? Are there other films you want to make? Other projects around the climate strikers etc that you want to be involved in?
Lesley: Always! There are always films I would like to make!
Annalise: Making films, especially short films, is hard, but I love it. There are so many more I want to make, and in the pipeline. Watch this space…

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“Electric Vehicle Discovery Day” in #Oldham, 14th September 10 to 5.

Octopus Electric Vehicles is an EV leasing company based in London. It is hosting an Electric Vehicle Discovery Day in conjunction with Transport for Greater Manchester in Oldham. It is on Saturday the 14th September between 10 and 5, at Oldham Town Hall.
The aim of the event is to help the people of Manchester experience EVs and promote a transition to a cleaner, less harmful method of transport.
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Interview with #climate striker Emma Greenwood #Manchester #YouthStrike4Climate

Interview with Emma Greenwood below (see previous interviews with her, and other youth climate strikers, here).

So, what has been going on over the summer with the school strikes – what sorts of activities have been undertaken, what sorts of groups have been offering what kind of support.
Many of the Youth Strike team have utilised the summer to plan the (what we hope to be) very impactful General Strike 4 Climate that is coming up on Friday  20th September. We also held an emergency climate strike on the 26th of July in response to the extreme heat that was being felt across Europe. Some of the strikers also attended union meetings to try and build support for the strike in September to make it as impactful as possible.

The next big thing is the September 20th strike. What is planned for Manchester? How can people get involved in planning, or supporting the folks who are planning it?
The General Strike 4 Climate on the 20th is looking very big and very impactful (not to jinx it ;)). We have been overwhelmed by the support from unions, NGO’s and community groups in helping organise the strike to ensure it is the best and most accessible it possibly can be for everyone. We are planning speeches, signing, chanting and a large march around Manchester from 1pm-2pm when we will be joined by workers who are using their lunch break to stand with us and take a stand.

Regarding support, the best think you can do to help us is raise awareness about the strike. Share the posters with everyone you know and get talking! Try and slip conversations about the climate into every conversation you have (its much easier than you think). We need as many people from all branches of society to come and support us and show those in power how much the safety of our planet means to its citizens.

Here’s the tricky one (as per earlier conversation) – how is the ‘movement’ stronger on September 21st than it was on September 19th because of the strike? What new relationships have been created, what existing ones strengthened? How are the skills, knowledge and passions of ‘new’ people harnessed?
The strikes have in so many ways brought communities together, especially Manchester. We have had unions, workers and young people all working together to achieve the same goal. It is not very often you see adults and young people working together, but the Youth Strike has helped build and strengthen communication/ team work between us to ensure that our planet is safe. Never (that I know of) have so many people from across society come together and united for one thing.

We are using this network that is being built to utilise and develop peoples skills to help strengthen the movement. We allow people to explore their passions and skills, something that modern day society so often restricts. I like to see the youth strike as a space where individuality can be explored and consequently flourish as people feel they can truly be themselves. For years so many people have wanted to raise their voice and the international Youth Strike movement has allowed them to do this.

If you think back to this time last year, so many people were concerned for our planet but had no way to voice it or felt they couldn’t. Over the past year, the climate crisis has become mainstream. Every day people are taking a second thought about the environmental consequence that their actions are having, that is in itself is a huge step forward. ME must become conscious of the problem so that then we can change it. The Youth Strike Movement has by no means ‘solved’ the problem, but it has definitely accelerated the process.

Are the monthly school strikes going to continue to happen? If so, same format, or new format(s)?
The Youth Strike movement is constantly adapting and changing to work with the current social and political climate. Every strike something changes and develops in order to harness current affairs and use them to make a statement. In the future a strike may not be the way to do this, but that doesn’t we will stop fighting. We will come together for as long as we have to in whatever form we feel with have the best impact.

Anything else you’d like to say/suggest/ask back.
What do you feel has come from the strikes? As a young person who’s only been around for 15 years 8 moths and 3 days, I haven’t seen how society has changed over the years. Looking back over the years, on a wider scale what changes do you think all of the organisations working together for climate justice has caused?


And in response to that, in a personal capacity as editor of Manchester Climate Monthly.

Firstly, nothing in what I say below is ANY criticism of the youth climate strikers.  It’s a sign of grotesque failure by people in their 30s and above that you guys are having to skip school and spend loads of time and energy fighting fights above your weight division.  The reason you are having to do that is social movement organisations have, over decades, failed to reflect, to innovate, and have let themselves be stuck in sordid smugospheres and empty emotacycles.  

To (not) answer your first question – I think it’s too early to tell what has come from the strikes (and the Fridays for Future/XR activities), or what will come that is permanent and to the scale of the challenge.  But I worry that – from personal experience that

a) there are a hell of a lot of people who are not actually that bothered at all about the climate crisis (or feel powerless to do anything, don’t believe that anything can be done).

b) there isn’t the focus spreading skills and using formats beyond one-person/clique-at-the-front-being-the-expert

c) there is much more attention being paid to mobilising than movement-building, and that history has shown (though she is not necessarily a perfect guide!) that cycles of mobilisation usually last 3-4 years, and end with a big pretty political promise that is not kept,…

d) that here in Manchester we’re already seeing the predictable political responses – fine declarations of Climate Emergency that are followed by… nothing.  And we in the climate movement have to take that on, and develop the skills, knowledge and networks to stop it being quite so easy for the Council to get away with that. 

I think we adults have to stop using Saint Greta as an excuse not to reflect, to think, to act differently than we have been.  




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Job Alert: People Powered Retrofit: Adviser/Service Manager Deadline 10 Sept

Job Title: People Powered Retrofit: Adviser/Service Manager
Deadline: midday, Tuesday 10th September 2019
Time: 0.8 – 1 FTE (Flexible)
Location: Manchester, UK
FTE: £28,428
Start date: ASAP
Duration: 12 months fixed term contract (with possibility of extension)
Status: Payroll/PAYE

How to apply: email with a CV and maximum two-page letter outlining how you meet the requirements set out below.

Carbon Co-op ( is an award-winning and fast growing not-for-profit, social enterprise based in Greater Manchester, UK. We pilot innovative low carbon projects and provide support services to our householder members and the wider community.
We are recruiting for a new member of the Retrofit Team to work on the People Powered Retrofit project. You will be joining a small multi-disciplinary team involved in a variety of projects. The work on People Powered Retrofit requires close collaboration with project partners including architects at project partners URBED.
People Powered Retrofit is funded under the BEIS Retrofit Supply Chain pilot programme and is a unique, community focussed service to assist Greater Manchester owner occupiers in retrofitting and refurbishing their homes to high environmental standards.
The end-to-end service incorporates advice, assessment, design development, specialist investigation, retrofit co-ordination to assist with procurement and QA, and evaluation. It is delivered by Carbon Co-op’s interdisciplinary team and a range of freelance assessors and co-ordinators.
We require a new staff member to act as a Retrofit Advisor for householders and to manage the service delivery aspects of the during the first pilot year of the service. As the service grows the team will grow accordingly.

Carbon Co-op is a self-management workplace. We work within collaborative teams and have no formal hierarchy. Each member of staff has responsibility for their own decisions while also consulting and working with other team members. You will work within the Retrofit Team and on People Powered Retrofit be answerable to the PPR project manager.
New staff members must be comfortable operating within this framework. To find more information about self-management, go to:

Equal opportunities
We’re an equal opportunity employer and we have flexible working practices. We encourage applications from anyone with suitable skills, no matter their background or ability. If you are interested in this position and feel you have the skills required to contribute to the organisation, then please apply!

Flexible and remote working
We’re looking for someone who can work between 0.8 and 1 FTE. A lot of the team at Carbon Co-op also work between 3 and 5 days a week and we’re flexible around when the work is done (as long as it fits the business need). Please tell us what work commitment you are looking for. This can vary over time if agreed with the rest of the team. Most of the People Powered Retrofit work is Greater Manchester based and so the potential for remote working is limited.

Outline of the role
This role involves two related aspects, an advisor role and a service manager role. The Retrofit Advisor is the first point of contact for householders, setting expectations, signposting and helping orientate clients. The Service Manager aspect ensures smooth progress as householders travel through their customer journey, overseeing the interactions between householders and other team members such as assessors or retrofit co-ordinators.
The below describes the desired essential and desirable characteristics of the applicants we are seeking. Given the dual aspects of the role we understand that some candidates may have some strengths in one area or other.

i) Qualifications
• Post-16 qualification in a related field
● AECB Carbon Lite Retrofit or Retrofit Coordinator Qualification
● Masters level qualification in sustainable and low-energy building.

ii) Skills and experience
● Knowledge/experience of construction industry, preferably eco/green building
● Can demonstrate experience of creating good quality written content eg blogs, leaflets, online copy etc.
● Can demonstrate clarity in the use of written communications ie email, letters, texts.
● Can demonstrate effective use of aural communication in person and remotely by phone.
● Has experience of managing/coordinating jobs roster/carrying out traffic management

● Account management experience
● Experience of performance monitoring and evaluation of buildings and customer satisfaction in a construction industry setting
● Sales experience, preferably in a consultancy context (eg lead generation)
● Experience of setting up new client orientated systems and processes

ii) Person specification
● Ability to communicate complex technical concepts in an understandable and engaging way to lay people
● Able to manage client expectations at an early stage
● Excellent people skills
● Ability to talk confidently to other project stakeholders eg householders, contractors, planners, architects, engineers, building control officers etc
● Ability to communicate sensitively, including conflict management and resolution
● An excellent problem solver able to think around issues and devise simple solutions
● Highly organised
● Ability to manage time and financial budgets
● Can demonstrate ability to deliver clear, consistent and regular communications without being prompted
● Understanding of when to seek clarification from other colleagues or experts.
● Takes a considered and proportionate approach to risk.
● Is able to work independently
● Comfortable taking part in knowledge exchange and group learning exercises
● Can critically reflect on projects and participate openly and honestly in project debriefs and take on board constructive criticism from colleagues.
Legal right to work

By the time you commence your employment you must have a legal right to work in the UK.

For more information
Contact: Jonathan Atkinson,

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Upcoming: Trees not Cars occupy Central Retail site – Sat 7th #Manchester

“Trees Not Cars
group are occupying the Central Retail site every Saturday. Next Saturday (7th), they have organised for skateboarding company, HUF, to bring a big H to the site for people to skate.

“The broader campaign around Central Retail Park is, of course, highly relevant to climate activism and our skateboarding project also plays a part in this. The building of new skateparks is not a sustainable practice for future societies in the UK due to the use of large amounts of concrete in their production and in being ’destination’ places that many people have to travel to, often by car. Manchester City Council has a bylaw against skateboarding in many parts of the city centre, with penalties of £500 for anyone committing this offence. We believe that skateboarding provides a safe and active form of transport, and a means of playful activity for children and adults. We also believe that public space should be democratically available to citizens, which includes the provision of space within the city for play and other forms of ’non-productive’ and commercially-inert activities.

“A group of us have recently started a collective of skateboarders who would like to change perceptions of skateboarding, to campaign against criminalisation, to encourage inclusivity in Manchester’s skate scene(s) and to create, develop and repair new and existing skate spots and public parks.”

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Interview with Jessie Tomlinson, 15 yr old youth #climate striker and #ExtinctionRebellion activist. #Manchester

Here’s the latest interview with a youth climate striker, Jessie Tomlinson. You can read older interviews here.

Who are you?
My name is Jessie Tomlinson, I am a 15-year-old High School student, Extinction Rebellion member, school striker and youth activist, living in South Manchester.

When and how did you first become aware of climate change?
I have always been aware of climate change: as a young child I was conscious of a hazy justification of the way my parents raised me (to use public transport and eat less meat) but through the eyes of childhood the prophesised “global warming” seemed an abstract threat. I think that it was following the first mass protests in London in April this year that I really felt a call to arms. I was filled with a sense of panic that could no longer be pacified by turning off light switches and re-using straws anymore. I had to act.

Talk about your involvement/activities so far- highlights, lowlights?
One of the first things I had to do was get out on the streets for one Friday afternoon every month and stand with striking young people all over the world. But I felt that sacrificing a couple of ours ever 30 days was not an equal opposite reaction to (lets be honest) the looming apocalypse and, afraid of being consumed by apathy – the inevitable anaesthetic for feeling frightened and alone – the next thing was to join a movement.

Every movement ebbs and flows and I was swept to my first Extinction Rebellion meetings on the crest of a great wave of public enthusiasm. It was a chance to meet people from all over Manchester who were just as scared as I was and being surrounded by such brave people gave me the warmth of solidarity and hope. I was part of a fresh batch of eager people power and with so many flocking to join Extinction Rebellion, it became clear that there was a need to decentralise, and digress into affinity groups. So probably the biggest project I have worked on so far has been (along with a team of people from my local area) planning and materialising a launch event for Chorlton Extinction Rebellion group- still taking its first baby steps. I was on a panel of XR members answering questions in a debate style format from the 60-100 or so people who turned up. It was nerve wracking, but necessary, to represent my age group which has been such a fiery catalyst in getting the media attention to the fight against the climate crisis. Our feedback was encouraging, many people voicing the sense of hope and love in the room.

Other than this, my time since Easter has been spent familiarising myself with the way XR functions: making my way to the Monday Manchester meetings and Tuesday Chorlton meetings, attending a meeting with the Co- founder of XR, Roger, seeing the heading for Extinction talk that we offer (twice), reading the newsletters and XR book ‘This is not a Drill’, taking a Carbon Literacy course, attending meetings with Senior Leadership staff at my school to open discussions about how to make the school more sustainable and of course, constantly continuing to strike from school. I am determined to fill my brain with the skills and knowledge I will need to take part in the August – September Northern Rebellion, to make every word I say and write considered, informed and articulate, so it counts.

What would you say to adults who say that you should be in school, learning about things so you can tackle the issue when you’re older?

I would politely point them in the direction of Greta Thunberg’s Ted Talk, because I won’t try and better her expression of the feeling of all youth climate activists: why should I be studying for a future that might not exist?

What practical support would you like to see older people offering to the youth?
I think I will answer this question on a personal level, and then regarding all young people. I am already so certain in my convictions about climate change: I have reached a level of awareness that there is no going back from. It is too late for me to bury my head back in the sand: I can see in lurid clarity our broken poisonous system and I know I will have to fight it all my life. I do not need adults to help me form any more judgements on this: it is enough for me to know that life on earth will cease to exist unless I act now. What I need from older people is the wisdom that accumulates throughout years of experience: how to be persuasive, assertive and yet compassionate in communication, how to confidently speak in public, how to run a campaign for radical social change. This is the help I need.

But I am well aware that not everyone my age is at the same point of conviction. So, for the many young people who are just unaware that we are effectively going through the motions in a burning house, I want the adults to educate, educate, educate. I want climate change to underpin the entire National curriculum, I want everyone to be talking about it all the time in homes and schools across the world so that every young person knows the truth: that we all have to be superheroes now.

The last school strike was quite small and, anecdotally, some students are staying away because they have “been there, done that” or because the police intimidation tactics have worked. What forms of new protests/ activity do you think students and young people need to think about?
I would say that the young activists who organise the strikes need to keep the strikes attractive. The issue here is that it is a long and arduous battle to root in every teenager the urgency that is needed to sacrifice time and energy to protest, especially in the current political climate where everyone is still in denial. We need the numbers on the streets and we are running out of time. So, the strikes need to be re-marketed to tap into what makes young people tick. Maybe one month we set up a temporary skate park and everyone has a lovely afternoon skating with their friends, but with climate banners in school hours. Another month the strike could be publicised as a mini pop up festival, with live performances from young people. Yes, the level of organisation would require more effort, but the fact is that we can’t afford to let momentum slip- and I know so many people who would be willing to put in the extra hours.

Lastly, I would just like to send a brief message to anyone reading this. If you care about anything at all, then you also care about climate change. If you care about gender inequality, class inequality, homophobia, transphobia, racism, hate crime, war, poverty, discrimination, if you care about injustice, in whatever form, then remember this: the equality you are fighting for will never exist without the ground we’re standing on. So let’s fight for that first, together.

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