@kidlit4climate – who, what, how you can get involved #YouthStrike4Climate #climate

Emma Reynolds, the brains behind @kidlit4climate kindly answered Manchester Climate Monthly’s questions.

Tell us a little about yourself – who are you, how did you get into the children’s illustrator/author job, what have been some of your books/projects?

Hi! My name’s Emma Reynolds, I’m a children’s illustrator and author based in Manchester. I have a background in children’s animation as a character designer, and I’ve also taught at Stockport College on the illustration degree. I am now a full time freelancer working on my first illustrated children’s book out in 2020 with Simon and Schuster. My books are inspired by nature, adventure and animals.

When did you first become aware of the seriousness of climate change (when did it emerge from the “background noise”). What other things have you been involved in?
I’ve always been keenly aware of endangered animals since I was a child, and in the 90s when my friend and I were 9 we organised a craft fundraiser to sponsor a rhino at our local zoo. I’ve known climate change was an issue for a long time, but ‘the big fear’ I would say hit me around ‘Blue Planet 2’ time in 2017 when the impact humans were having was driven home. Boiling point for me was three weeks ago (very recent!) on an unusually hot February day, and that’s when I decided I wanted to do more, and started the #KidLit4Climate campaign.

What are your favourite kids’/young adult books that engage with climate change?

Lily Williams makes brilliant accessible books about climate change. In her series ‘If Sharks Disappeared’ and ‘If Polar Bears Disappeared‘, they explain how one animal’s role in the ecosystem affects others around them, and of course eventually humans too. The books end with lots of things we can do to help as individuals, which I think is important as climate change is overwhelming, and tangible steps are important.

 

 

 

Tell us about how long the #KidLit4Climate campaign has been going. What was the initial impetus? What have been the successes so far, what have been the difficulties/challenges?

It is very new! Three weeks ago I was walking through Manchester on a February morning in temperatures we normally only experience in summer, and I thought ‘When am I going to do something? I don’t want to look back and wish I’d done something sooner.’ I don’t claim to be a climate expert, but I knew that this campaign was something I could amplify within my field of work, so I decided to go for it and start there.

#KidLit4Climate is a campaign for authors, illustrators, publishers and bookshops to stand in solidarity with the young people we make our books for. I invited people to share the logo and voice their support, and to create an illustrated protestor to form a ‘Virtual Protest’ to coincide with the global climate strike on March 15th.

I was honestly expecting to receive about 20-30 illustrations over two weeks from people I knew. By the end of the first week I had been sent over 1,000 illustrated protestors from 45 countries worldwide from every continent, even Antarctica! Three weeks in and there are over 2,000 illustrated protestors, which is incredible. The campaign is ongoing!

 

What it shows me is how people are desperate to show their support for the youth climate strikes and the young people we make our books for, and this gives them an outlet for that. It has been wonderful feeling a sense of community and hope from so many countries, with many world renowned authors and illustrators showing their support.
I hope that lots of young people see that we are listening and stand with them, and that we can continue to amplify their message as the strikes and campaign continues.
You can see all the illustrated protestors on the instagram hashtag #KidLit4Climate

 

What kind of ways can people be involved?

The campaign is ongoing, and all of the ways to get involved are here on the website –
emmareynoldsillustration.com/kidlit4climate
Follow us on Twitter KidLit4Climate 
And on Instagram KidLit4Climate
Watch the video here
to see what we’ve been up to so far!

Anything else you’d like to say.

KitLit4Climate exploded in a way I wasn’t expecting, and as such it is evolving all the time. I’d like to thank each and every person that has sent words of support for the young people striking, and created an illustration to stand with them for our planet.
I would love to directly amplify young people’s messages – So if you’re a campaigner reading this, please email me at kidlit4climate@gmail.com I’d love to hear from you and make this a key feature across our social media. Thank you so much for all that you’re doing. We stand with you.

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Things to know about Angeliki Stogia #GMGreenCity

You’ll hear a lot from/about Angeliki Stogia, the Executive Member for the Environment today.  But perhaps not this.

“Cancelling quarterly #climate reports the right decision, sends the right message” says #Manchester Environment boss.

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, the Executive Member for the Environment of Manchester City Council, has stated baldly that cancelling the quarterly climate reports was the right decision. It sends, she says, the right message about how seriously Manchester City Council takes climate change.  No, you read that right. It’s not a typo, or a misrepresentation.  And we’ve got the tweet (screengrabbed below) to prove it.

 

and this, in response to a FOIA.

foia about speeches

 

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Things to know about Andy Burnham #GMGreenCity

You’ll hear a lot about and from Andy Burnham today. But possibly not this.

Andy Burnham says we all will have to reduce our #carbon footprints. Flies to/from Paris. Twice. #climate #Manchester

That was last year.  Recently, the Good Mayor was in Cannes, talking about how important climate action is.  So I tweeted to ask how he got there. No reply, of course, so had to resort to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Sent: 19 March 2019 09:33
To: Enquiries <enquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk>
Subject: FoIA re flights

Dear Sir/Madam

last November you kindly provided information about the flights of Andy Burnham and the lack of a policy about not flying.

Recently I saw that the Mayor had given a barnstorming and inspiring speech about the importance of climate action. In Cannes.  It’s great to see he has a Cannes-do attitude.

I asked Mr Burnham on Twitter how he got there and back, but for reasons that escape me, he declined to acknowledge the request for such basic information.

Therefore, using the far more time-consuming route, I am writing to you.

1) Please provide a list of all flights taken by the Mayor and by Alex Ganotis on GMCA business since the 22nd September 2018.

2) Please provide copies of correspondence where Mr Burnham asked his staff to investigate the lowest carbon dioxide means of international travel, and the replies he received, if such correspondence exists.

3) Is it still the case that no policy/protocol/guidance etc that is in place about their travel and the minimisation of carbon, and that it is all down to price/convenience?

Please provide me with a reference number for this request and the date by which I can expect a reply.

Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Marc Hudson

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“Do More Faster!” says #Climate “Action” “Network” re #GMGreenCity

Manchester and Greater Manchester bureaucrats and poltiicians have been making shiny promises about climate change for more than ten years.  After a couple of years, when it becomes clear that the old promises haven’t been kept they

a) blame someone else (usually the Tories, with some justification) and

b) make some new shiny promises.

Activists either don’t know this because they are new, or do know it but don’t talk about it because a) they’ve been colluding in the old promises or b) it’s too terrifying to realise that there are no adults, just a bunch of men (and a sprinkling of women) in suits spouting gibberish with nice powerpoints.

And so we come to the latest iteration, the latest shiny bullshit. As the stark realities of what faces us become too big to ignore, the incentive from the politicians and bureaucrats to double-down is irresistible.  And people will want to believe that matters are in hand.

Recently Steady State Manchester hosted an excellent analysis of the latest Five Year Plan” . You can read it here. The tl:dr is this –

Looking back at my earlier comments on the GM Springboard Report in August 2018, I find that most of the criticisms made there apply equally to this plan, namely:

1) There is insufficient information about the main sources of GHG emissions in GM;
2) There is no substantive information about what has been achieved in GM so far in reducing GHG emissions (reference to earlier strategies or plans is lacking);
3) Key responsibilities for taking the various actions proposed are not assigned;
4) The plan does not recognise the crucial role of putting an end to the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, irrespective of whether this occurs in GM or not;
5) Priorities for action seem to be identified on an ad hoc basis rather than on a strategic basis such as in terms of how much a proposed action is likely to contribute to reducing GHG emissions.

Peter Somerville, 12.3.19

 

Okay, so now Steady State and other groups have announced a grandly named “Climate Action Network”.  No website (but to be fair, it’s only been three months, and it’s not like websites are easy, or the issue matters at all, is it?).  No jpg or pdf of the leaflet.  No hashtags for their call out for action.  No meeting scheduled for the week after the summit.  What could possibly go wrong?  Thank god the activists are “on it”, and innovating where business and government is not, or else I’d begin to worry…

 

Do More, Faster!

Our Response to the GMCA 5 Year Environment Plan

We’re facing a climate emergency.

The science tells us how much carbon we can afford to emit to keep the climate safe.  We need to live within this carbon budget.

But the GMCA 5 Year Plan fails to deliver, using up the budget twice over.

We have to do more, faster.  We therefore call on Andy Burnham and the 10 council leaders to:

In the next 3 months:

  • Declare a Climate Emergency and appoint a Climate Emergency Commissioner with the responsibility and resources to deliver rapid carbon reductions.
  • Accelerate the actions in the 5-year plan to deliver in line with the Tyndall carbon budget, and act now to deliver a 15% reduction this year.
  • Instruct the GM Pension Fund to sell all holdings in companies involved in the exploration, extraction, refining and distribution of fossil fuels within 2 years, starting with the most polluting (coal, tar sands and fracking).
  • Call on the Government to:
    • Make carbon reduction a statutory duty for local authorities and provide the powers and funding to deliver rapid action.
    • Accelerate grid decarbonisation by rapidly scaling up the deployment of renewable power.
    • Introduce an immediate ban on coal and unconventional oil and gas extraction (including fracking and coal bed methane), and end all direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuel extraction
    • Reintroduce a zero carbon new build standard, and make retrofit of existing buildings an infrastructure investment priority.
    • Bring forward the date for phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2030, and introduce a scrappage scheme for the most polluting vehicles.
    • Scrap HS2 and the national road-building programme, and invest instead in walking, cycling, buses, trams and local rail services.
    • Announce an immediate moratorium on airport expansion, update aviation policy in line with the Tyndall Centre carbon budget, and introduce a Frequent Flyer Levy.

 

In the next 6 months:

  • In each local authority area:
    • Run a series of Carbon Literacy workshops to inform and inspire people to act on climate change, starting with all councillors and council staff
    • Collaborate with the public sector, businesses and community members (making particular effort to involve women and BAME communities) to develop local action plans
  • Set up the GM Environment Fund and provide initial funding to give communities the financial support they need to deliver their local action plan.
  • Accelerate delivery of high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure across the region.

 

In the next 12 months:

  • Re-regulate our buses to deliver a cleaner, simpler, more frequent and affordable bus network.
  • Implement a low-carbon Clean Air Zone as soon as possible, which covers all types of polluting vehicles including private cars.
  • Set a cap on flight emissions at Manchester Airport, supported by the introduction of a Climate Emergency Levy for departing passengers to contribute to the GM Environment Fund
  • Set up a Climate Emergency Capital Fund, funded by investments from the public, businesses and the GM Pension Fund, to finance a GM-wide programme of retrofit, renewables and energy efficiency measures.
  • Work with employers and education partners to deliver a Climate Emergency Skills Programme to enable the rapid roll-out of retrofit, renewables and energy efficiency measures.

 

This response has been drawn up by the Greater Manchester Climate Action Network (GM-CAN), a coalition of local climate activist groups.

Let us know your views by tweeting us @GMCAN3 or emailing gmclimateactionnetwork@gmail.com.  If you or your organisation would like to endorse our response, visit: bit.ly/gmcan-endorse

 

Fine, great. And if I were Burnham, or Leese, or Stogia, or Atherton reading that I’d say “Or else you’re gonna do what?”

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Interview with Ishaa Asim, #climate activist. #YouthStrike4Climate #SchoolStrike4Climate

Ishaa Asim, a member of the Manchester Youth Council, kindly answered some questions about her activities. See here for an interview with Emma Greenwood, and here for one with George Hassall.

Was the March 15th event bigger than you thought? What was your favourite thing about it?ishaa amin
The event was bigger than I thought, as there were so many people and posters everywhere! I loved seeing people speak, so many shy people took to the stage to pour their hearts in to the cause, which they believed in. I loved encouraging others to find their voice in the march.

When did you first start learning about climate change – was it in school, from your parents? Did Greta Thunberg have a part to play?
Climate change – as a member of the Manchester Youth Council, I’ve been involved with the issue for some time. I take inspiration from my Year 8 Geography lessons, where we learnt about key aspects of the world and how it is so damaged. It made me want to help and do something to protect it!

What next after the 15th March strike?
The next strike for Manchester is Friday 12th April, like last time I will be assisting and organising people to make sure they all get a chance to speak and be heard. This time there will be a protest in main roads to attract attention, which is controversial. I will hope to work with my team to make sure there are two aspects; one direct and one non direct action. Students will be able to choose whether they want to peacefully protest or do something direct but still legal.

This is the tricky one – what sort of help/advice/support would you like from your parents, existing activists, adults? How is that best offered (I call it the POG problem – “Piss Off Grandpa/Grandma”)
Young people need all the help they can get, as we can only do so much! We need adults to understand our perspective and think of the future, be selfless and think of what will happen.

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#Manchester councillors asked to explain position on #SchoolStrike4Climate #climate

Following up from this morning’s story about Manchester City Council failing to meet a deadline to respond to a request for information about its cstance on the climate strikes, comes this:  Parents of children who are taking part in these strikes are asking their councillors their position.  Whether you are a parent or not, I urge you to contact your councillors. You can find out who they are here.

After the two (excellent!) letters, both published with the permission of their authors., I publish the text of a Freedom of Information Act request sent this morning to Chorlton High School.

Birgitte Johnson  letter to Councillors

We are getting in touch as we would like Manchester Council to follow Edinburgh Councils lead in supporting our children to strike school this friday by authorising their absence and not threatening to penalise parents if their children wish to strike. See here the article demonstrating how Edinburgh is supporting the school strikes .

We have been told by my daughters’ school, Chorlton High that they are not able to authorise her absence this Friday for the strike and that any potential further unauthorised absences (strikes) will result in a penalty fine.

We are facing a climate emergency and as Cllr Mary Campbell from Edinburgh stated ‘the future will depend on how willing we all are to listen to children and young people whose futures are most at risk, versus some politicians or vested interests who want to delay or do nothing.’

As a city that prides itself on revolutionary change and having recently witnessed the celebrations and tributes to Emmeline Pankhurst and the suffragette movement I believe the city council needs to show our city’s children that we truly respect and honour their voice and support their right to demonstrate in the face of a climate emergency.

We are urging Manchester City Council to authorise absence if children wish to strike and leave school premises if the parents will be responsible for the child or young person for safe guarding purposes. Furthermore promise not to penalise the parents of children who strike school in protest at our governments lack of action on climate change.

Our government needs to be reminded that these young peoples futures are at stake.

Adults have let them down. They should not need to take this course of action but this is the only way our children can collectively make their feelings known.

Around the world children and young people feel they must and we should be proud of our city’s children who want to be part of this protest.

From Rose Arnold
Hello,
I am writing to ask you as my councillors what your position(s) are on the climate strikes?
Manchester Council has taken an aggressive approach by contacting all the schools to tell them not to authorise absence for attending the climate strike. Now Chorlton High is following your lead by threatening parents with fines.
Today the news includes the story that in 25 years Britain might well run out of water. It is morally wrong to stand in the way of these children and young people fighting for their futures. They face destruction, death and horror. They need to know that we were all fighting too, not standing in their way.
I would very much appreciate a response as to your views on this matter and ideas about what could be done to move to a supportive position such as Edinburgh have.
Regards
Rose Arnold
Text of FoIA sent this morning.
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to request the following information
  • Copies of all correspondence between Chorlton High School and Manchester City Council concerning the “School Strikes” that took place on February 15th and March 15th, up to March 18th 2019.
  • The responses sent to parents who enquired about the school strike (obviously with any specific information  that would identify either parent or student redacted!!)
  • Copies of all memos/emails sent to teachers who enquired to the Head/Management Team  (obviously with anything that would identify individual teachers or students redacted)
  • Copies of all advice sent ‘in general’ to parents about the school strikes, up to and  including March 18th 2019
Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Posted in Climate Strikes, Manchester City Council | Tagged | 1 Comment

#Manchester City Council breaks law on #climate FoIA about #SchoolsStrike4Climate

Manchester City Council has not disclosed its stance on the Climate Strikes, while simultaneously talking up just “how much it is doing” on climate change.

On February 13th, before the first School Strike, the following request for information was sent-

Dear Sir/Madam,
I have heard a rumour that the City Council has instructed schools that they cannot give leave to students/parents for children to take part in the February 15 “climate strike”.
I am writing to request

  • all legal advice sought/received by the Council around this issue (including internal deliberations/discussions within the City Solicitor’s office, or whoever is responsible)
  • copies of all correspondence between schools and the City Council pertaining to the February 15 2019 “Climate Strike”.
  • copies of minutes of internal deliberations held by Council officers and elected members on the Executive about the stance of the City Council.

Given that the City Council has the goal to create a “low carbon culture” I am particularly interested to know if any officer or elected member suggested at any point that the City Council SUPPORT the strike.

Many thanks and Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

An automated reply was received on the 14th.

Dear Mr. Hudson,
Re: Request for Information – Reference No: CHS / B9DLBD
Thank you for your request for information received by Manchester City Council on 13 February 2019
Please note that it may take up to 20 working days ( 13 March 2019) for the Council to consider your request and to provide a formal response.
If this timescale needs to be extended to consider an exemption you will be notified and kept informed.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely
[redacted name]
Democratic Services
PO Box 532
Town Hall
Manchester
M60 2LA

And since then, as of March 19th… nothing.

This from a council that is going out of its way to tell people how concerned it is about climate change, from a council that that recently congratulated itself on putting up a statue of an activist now safely dead almost a hundred years.

They have utter contempt for us all, and they will continue to spout nonsense for as long as they can, aided by their pet fig leaf “activists.”
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