Job Alert: Veg Box People are recruiting #Manchester

from here

Veg Box People are recruiting!

Veg Box People Team

Veg Box People is seeking a highly motivated and driven individual to join our small, committed team, working to revolutionise the food system in Greater Manchester and beyond!

Veg Box People is one of Manchester’s fastest growing organic veg box schemes working closely with local farmers and producers to supply organic veg, fruit, bread and eggs to collection points in Bolton, Manchester and Stockport.

We are now looking for someone with excellent interpersonal and organisational skills to join our team, to help us make our fledgling co-operative enterprise work both financially and as a model of a fairer food system.

So, if you want to join a coop, are passionate about local food, know your veg and want to help grow a business that you part-own, this unique opportunity can’t be missed!

          Job Title: Co-op Member

          Hours: 30 hours a week

          Salary: £15,912 per annum (pro rata 30 hours) plus 2% employer pension contribution.

To apply, download the job description and application form below. Return the application form and other relevant information to by Sunday 19th March.

          Closing date for applications:    Midnight on Sunday 19th March.

          Interviews will take place on:     Wednesday 29th March.

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Energise Festival – Manchester, Sat 1st April #carboncoop

energiseCelebrate low carbon, diverse and just communities at Carbon Coop‘s Energise Festival.

A day of music, food, talks, workshops, poetry, theatre, films, family friendly activities and more.

Come along to be inspired, learn practical skills and have fun.

Headline talks, workshops and music includes:

* George Marshall (COIN) and Sheila Menon (Reclaim the Power debate ‘New Popularism – threat or opportunity?’.

The last year has seen seismic political shocks in the form of the Brexit vote and Trump’s election. But it has highlighted the vast range of opinions and view points within our society. In the context of climate change, what does the rise in popularism mean for people committed to taking effective collective action to re-shape our society.


* Louis Barrabas

Louis is a writer/musician, dubious pundit, co-founder of Debt Records and Captain of Dirt-Swing band The Bedlam Six.

* DIY Culture Workshops

For the builders and the fixers, get involved in building your own solar panel, learn the art of retrofitting from our advisors and visit the Manchester Repair Cafe (tbc).

Full programme to be announced
The festival is part of the Energise weekender featuring….

* Green Open Homes

For 3 days people from Greater Manchester who have made energy saving improvements open up their homes to share their experiences. Look out for guided bus tours of the open homes on Sunday. Or book your place on a specific house tour on the Green Open Homes website:

* Three Acres and a Cow

This performance connects the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with current issues of fracking and the housing crisis via the Enclosures, English Civil War, Irish Land League and Industrial Revolution, drawing a compelling narrative through the radical people’s history of Britain in folk song, stories and poems.
Part TED talk, part history lecture, part folk club sing-a-long, part poetry slam, part storytelling session… Come and share in these tales as they have been shared for generations.
Book here: (coming soon)

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Event report: #Reclaim the hour #Manchester #ReclaimMCR

NB This post is nothing to do with/about the excellent “Reclaim” project

On the plus side, this time there were chairs to sit on and decent speakers. On the downside, this time there was no wine to wash down the general incompetence and the same delusional self-congratulatory irrelevant wankery by the so-called “Manchester Climate Change Agency.” (It is not actually an ‘agency’ in the sense of a statutory body which can be forced to release basic information about itself’; instead it is a community interest company with delusions of competence, entirely funded by Manchester City Council).

The event called “Resource, Reuse, Reclaim” and was held in a noisy and hard-to-find building on Manchester Metropolitan University campus. The forty or so (overwhelmingly white, and young but for a few old farts like me) people were treated to a rambling introduction that pointed out that we are toast (sort of – it was mostly about the increase in resource use since the 1950s, what Anthropocene scholars call (though this wasn’t mentioned tonight) ‘the Great Acceleration‘.

There was of course nothing on the Great Deceleration in Manchester since 2010 – the endless broken promises and missed targets of the Council and the ‘Steering Group’ that created this so-called ‘Agency’; the broken promises on carbon literacy training, the abolition of the stakeholder conference (it was supposed to be annual, and a day long. After one in 2010, they couldn’t get their shit together to do one in 2011, held two half-day wastes-of-time in 2012 and 2013 and then abolished it), the failure to EVER hold the promised elections to the Steering Group, the failure to hold meetings in public, the failure to put up minutes, the failure to achieve anything etc etc etc. No, mustn’t talk about how far off track we are. Because you know, blaming the Tories only works for so long…

Instead we had four excellent (and props – all female) speakers. There were people from

  • Stitched Up – sustainable fashion, teach you how to sow look good on a (carbon) budget
  • Unicycle – stopping landfills filling up with students’ detritus, making people feel good
  • Freecup – trying to decrease paper cup stupidity (272,000 a day in Greater Manc?!)
  • Emerge – lots of stuff.  Need vollies to stop food ending up in landfill.

Then there was just too much time for some closing “observations”. The person opened (and this is verbatim) “I’m going to do a terrible job…”

Yes. Yes, indeed.

And then it was over. People headed for the door, I was one of them.

So why go? Because it aggravates a few people? For the giggles and shits, as the young folk say? Or because I want to confirm that they still don’t know anything, and are still incapable of learning? Or d) all of the above. But hell, apparently I am supposed to be “constructively dissenting” , or whatever that means. So here goes, not that they are willing or indeed able to listen.

  • Name badges to lower the difficulty of mingling (lots of people do struggle and either sit on their own or clump with someone they know, making it even harder for newbies to meet. That I am having to type this in the general direction of people who claim to want to create networks is embarrassing for everyone.
  • Have a high-energy start. Thank people for coming, get people to talk to the person next to them/behind them.
  • If you’re not going to talk loudly enough either a) shut up or b) use a microphone, especially if the acoustics are shit.
  • Actually mention the existence of the Climate Change Action Plan, and the so-called “Strategy”. Mention the decarbonisation goal and the ‘creation of a low carbon culture; goal. Explain that the only things that have happened towards the former have been from the national level – the decarbonisation of the electricity grid and improvements in appliance efficiency- the Manchester “climate “policy” gains have been non-existent. Explain that the latter is dead in the water but desperately needs reviving.
  • Mention the hashtag at the beginning of the event, not the end.  Social media #epicfail as the young people tweet…
  • FILM the goddam event and put the videos up on youtube.
  • If you have speakers who are supposed to keep to time, keep them to time. One way to do this is pecha kucha – 20 slides, each of 20 seconds, equally 6 mins 40.
    A bunch of slides for what the project is, what it does, then four at the end for

a) what could Manchester City Council do to help our organisation/idea spread/replicate/grow in the next six months, but won’t because they don’t actually give a shit and are totally incompetent anyway

b) what could the Manchester Climate Change “Agency” do to help our… anyway.

c) what do we need from you, the punters here tonight

d) what could you, the punters, get from being involved in our project

  • have a general Q and A. Oh, and actually answer the questions this time.
  • Have a feedback sheet that isn’t about the single shitty event, but actually finds out what questions people have (and then research those questions and put the answers up on the website) and finds out what skills people have that might be useful.

None of this will happen. The “agency” will stagger on, staging these feel-good events that achieve little beyond warm-inner-glowism until the Council pulls the financial plug and the staff are de-seconded. Cannot happen soon enough.

Posted in Climate Change Action Plan, Event reports, Steering Group, Unsolicited advice | Leave a comment

Training in #Manchester on #divestment 11 March

11-marchFrom March 4th to April 1st, and People & Planet are running creative action and media trainings in 10+ UK cities, ahead of the Global Divestment Mobilisation and local elections this May.

The fossil fuel industry have been driving the climate crisis and delaying action on climate change for decades. That’s why from 5th-13th May, people everywhere are coming together for the Global Divestment Mobilisation.

Now’s the time to get organised, grow our power, and demand action on the climate crisis – get skilled up to take action for divestment in your community!

WHERE? Central Manchester, TBC
WHEN? 11am-4pm, Saturday 11th March

For three years, the divestment campaign in the UK has been challenging the power of the fossil fuel industry, but now, in 2017, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Climate change has already started to ravage communities across the world. We’re also seeing the industries responsible fighting back – desperately cling onto power and sacrificing our future in the name of profit.

Trainings are open to all, no matter your campaigning experience or involvement in divestment. If you have any questions get in touch with

More information on the Fossil Free Trainings Tour here

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#Manchester City Council’s £3m on communications, almost zero ‘carbon literacy’

The wage bill for Manchester City Council’s “communication directorate” was £3 million pounds last year.  Sadly, only 12 of the 77 staff employed within it have completed their ‘carbon literacy’ training – you know, that thing that the Council promised was a priority, that was a major plank in creating a ‘low carbon culture.’

If the people doing the communicating aren’t ‘carbon literate’, what does that tell you about whether this is a priority? It tells you everything you need to know…

Further, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request (basically the only way you can get any information out of the Council), it emerges that there is NO tailored package of carbon literacy specifically for communications staff. It also emerges that NO analysis has been conducted on the efficacy of the carbon literacy programme for comms staff has been conducted, nor is any been planned.

How’s THAT for leadership?


PS  In the reply to the FoIA the council helpfully adds The Communications Directorate is made up of print and mail services, event management, creative design, translations and interpretations, web and digital, media and marketing. Many of these services are income generators for the Council including: print and mail; event management; creative design; and translations and interpretations. The total wages bill for the Communications Directorate in 2015-16 was £2,999k.”


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#Manchester City Council refusing to release environmental minutes (letter)

On Saturday 18th February, the Manchester Evening News kindly published the following letter.
2017-02-18-letter-menManchester City Council has (or had) an “Environmental Strategy Programme Board” of bureaucrats. Its job is/was to turn all the fine words about environment and climate change into deeds.  The minutes of its meetings should be on public display, but on the Council’s own website says  “Minutes from meetings can be requested by email from the Environmental Strategy team at

In late January I requested the minutes, including the Executive Member for the Environment (Cllr Rosa Battle) and also the Chair of Neighbourhood and Environment Scrutiny Committee (Cllr Kevin Peel) in the email.  A week later, after zero response from anyone, I emailed them all again.  Another week passed without response, and so  had to resort to using the Freedom of Information Act.

Such is Manchester City Council’s commitment to transparency and democracy. We are quick to condemn President Trump  and Theresa May for broken promises and secrecy, but for some reason refuse to be angry at local politicians.

Posted in Letters to the MEN, Manchester City Council, Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Constructive dissent or destructive consent? #howyoucansleep

How does any of us sleep? How do we sleep while the planet burns around us, while the chances for a tolerable old age for people now children (let alone unborn generations) a boiled away in a frenzy of apathy and bullshit as usual?  How do we tell our children – if we have them – that we are doing our best to make Manchester etc sustainable? How do we sleep during the sixth great extinction?

I don’t know. But I suppose, as Alice Walker said, activism is the rent you pay for living on this screwed-over planet. And activism worthy of the name is about ‘constructive dissenting.’ It is not about ‘destructive consenting’, about being a fig leaf for whatever the powerful want to do today. You know who you are.

“While at the individual level this involves changing attitudes, mental models and cognitive frames (see for example Kahneman and his colleagues suggestion about using ‘mental bias’ checklists before important decisions; Kahneman et al., 2011), at the social-psychological level this implies the formal or informal institutionalization of the norm of ‘constructive dissenting’ instead of the ‘destructive consenting’ (Grint, 2005b) characterizing many of our institutions today.
(Kiraly et al. 2017: 141)


Grint, K., 2005b. Leadership: Limits and Possibilities. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Kahneman, D., Lovallo, D., Sibony, O., 2011. Before you make that big decision. Harvard
Business. Review. 89, 50-60.

Kiraly, G. Koves, A. and Balazs, B. 2017. Contradictions between political leadership and systems thinking. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 140, (1), pp.134-143.

Posted in Unsolicited advice | 3 Comments