Free “Environmental Justice”, on-line course starting soon.

Enrolment is now open for the Environmental Justice MOOC (a free online course) run by the University of East Anglia and Future Learn.

Why join the course?
This free online course will help you understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems, and that sustainable environmental management requires attention to justice.

How long will the course last?
This course starts on 16th October, runs for 5 weeks and expect about 4 hours of study each week.

Who will I be learning with?
You’ll learn with the University of East Anglia’s Global Environmental Justice Group – an interdisciplinary mix of scholars interested in social justice and environmental change. You’ll also hear from activists around the world, and you’ll share your own experiences with other learners from many different backgrounds.

Who is the course for?
This course is designed for people who are already working on environmental problems or are familiar with environmental issues.

Register today!

Posted in academia, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Letter: demonstrably inadequate ‘leaders’ #Manchester #climate


And the text I sent –

Ten years ago Manchester City Council was talking about being the ‘greenest city in the UK by 2010. It didn’t happen. Eight years ago it launched a “plan” to cut emissions by 41% by 2020 and to embed a ‘low carbon culture’ in the thoughts and behaviours of all citizens. Glossy documents were produced, elections to climate steering groups were promised and… almost nothing happened (certainly the elections never did).
Eight years on, Manchester’s emissions cuts are no better or worse than other UK major cities. The reductions have happened come from the National Grid moving away from coal, and from domestic appliances getting more efficient. Manchester’s “actions” have been non-existent or irrelevant. Now Andy Burnham wants to hold a conference to plan Greater Manchester being “zero carbon” by 2050 (the previous plan said 80% reduction, by that time, so it’s not actually that big a jump).
The summit was due in late 2017 but, (ominous sign) it’s now pushed back to spring 2018.
Will there be any clear-eyed reflection on past plans, past failures? Don’t hold your breath: we will be expected to go through the same farce again and put our faith in the same demonstrably inadequate processes and “leaders”.

Posted in Greater Manchester, Letters to the MEN, Manchester City Council | Tagged | Leave a comment

Upcoming Event: Community Energy Futures – #Manchester 28 September

2017 09 28 comm energyExploring the future of Community Energy in the UK

Dr. Carly McLachlan, Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester and Andrew Hunt, Oldham Council

Community energy was once the darling of UK Energy Policy, with its very own Department of Energy and Climate Change strategy aimed at harnessing its contribution to our energy system as well as the wider social, economic and environmental benefits it was argued to offer. Despite changes to the Feed-In Tariff and tax relief for investors, dust gathering on that 2014 strategy, and continued challenges around gaining access to the electricity network and planning permission – the sector continues to innovate to try and make their vision of community energy a reality. But what role will community energy play in the future energy system of the UK? In this seminar, a discussion of the current state of the sector and its evolution, the challenges in delivering projects and options for future innovation will be presented by Carly McLachlan (Tyndall Manchester) and Andrew Hunt (Oldham Council).


Speaker bios

Carly McLachlan is the Director of Tyndall Manchester and is currently leading a UK Energy Research Centre funded project on Community Energy Finance.


Andrew Hunt works in Oldham Council’s Strategy, Partnerships & Policy team shaping the both the Council’s and Greater Manchester’s approach to co-operative energy. In his job he supports Oldham Community Power, the local energy co-op. Outside of work, Andrew is a Director of both Bury Community Hydro and Greater Manchester Community Renewables.


The seminar will take place in room C21, in the Pariser Building on Sackville Street– number 12 on the map here


Please RSVP, or contact Amrita with any queries-


We look forward to seeing you there.  Please feel free to pass this invitation onto any colleagues who may be interested and apologies for any cross-posting.


Posted in Energy, University of Manchester, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

#Manchester City Council #climate action updates are delivered to…

For years Manchester Climate Monthly pushed for the Council to produce monthly updates of its “progress” on climate change.  Eventually a councillor managed to get them to promise quarterly reports.  MCFly then had to push the Council to keep the promise, which had nothing to do with the then Exec Member for the Environment also being a parliamentary candidate, no siree.  But, eventually, the reports – which take ten hours of officer time to collate – started to be produced.

Now, given how important climate change is, and how seriously we all know the Council takes the issue, and how they want everyone to be informed, engaged and involved, you’d expect there to be a Really Big Effort to disseminate the quarterly reports.  Wouldn’t you? Sure you would.

So – now, are you sitting down? Do you have a reliable friend to hand? – the truth is out there.  So out there that when MCFly got the FoIA, well, we fainted…

In the FoIA we requested “a copy of the distribution list for these reports – which members and officers do they go to? Which other “stakeholders” are they sent to?”

And the answer?  You’re SURE you’re ready??


No, really. Are you sure?

Oh, alright then.

“The reports are uploaded to the Council’s website. There is no distribution list for
these reports.”


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#Manchester City Council promises #climate events – doesn’t deliver

The cycle continues.  Bureaucrats promise a series of actions.  Councillors on a scrutiny committee rouse themselves from their (metaphorical) slumber to say “great”.  Months later there’s a table produced that purports to show what’s going on.  So-called scrutiny committees don’t, um, do the scrutiny.

In the instance, it comes down to how many events the Council put on that tried to put the case for climate/sustainability.  And the answer, if you wade through sentence after sentence of bureaucratese, is “none.”

In April, bored, I sent the a Freedom of Information Act request, about the latest “Progress” (the word is a joke) Report into the Councils’s Climate Change Action Plan 2016-20.  I said

I note that the plan is
“2016/17: Continue to build on work to date to understand and improve the
environmental performance of MCC events, establish a plan for embedding
sustainability throughout the Council’s events activities; refresh the
Green Events Guide”

“2017/18: Implement the sustainable events plan”

and that there is no update in the third quarter but merely “as per
previous quarter”, which talks vaguely of “benchmarking”.

This strongly implies to me that there will not be any events any time

I have the following questions.
. Given that we are already in 2017/18, and summer is imminent, I would
like to know what events are planned for the period May to August 2017

And here is the answer I got
“We are using Manchester Day (taking place on 18 June 2017) as a pilot project for how best to understand and improve sustainability performance so that it becomes embedded in event planning (further information on understanding performance is provided under point 2).  Targets for improvement in 2017/18 have been set in three key areas: Waste; Travel; and Communications. For the latter, it is envisaged that greater communication with stakeholders of this event will have a knock on positive effect on the wider events community given that the event shares suppliers and stakeholders with other events in the annual calendar. In addition, the results of a third party review of Manchester Day’s sustainability performance in 2017 (Creative Green Assessment by Julie’s Bicycle), expected in the autumn, will be shared within the local and wider events community by way of a case study to share good practice and further inspire change among other events. We will also be seeking relevant events at which a Manchester Day representative can speak to further share good practice.
In addition, an internal working group meets on a regular basis from April 2017 to March 2018 to investigate embedding a consistent approach to delivering sustainable events across the Growth and Neighbourhoods Directorate primarily, which is a complex task given the range of events covered, including: both indoor and outdoor; commercial and community; and major and small events. One of the key functions of the working group is to extract the good practice that exists across the wide range of events to feed into the development of a resource for internal and external event organisers (see point 3 below).”

So. None then. Just more groups meeting, meeting, as if they hadn’t been doing this since 2010.  Oh, and another question I asked-

I would also like to know who [individual/organisation] the “specialist resource” is in the sentence “specialist resource identified which will be able to advise on other resources developed over last 18 months to evaluate whether a refresh still best course of action” and how much they are being paid for their advice.
“The specialist resource is Julie’s Bicycle – a charity that supports the arts and cultural sector to act on climate change and environmental sustainability. Julie’s Bicycle will be paid £1,500 to support Council officers to create a specialist resource for Manchester organisations to benefit from to improve environmental performance in delivery of events.”


I defy you to make any of this up.

Posted in Manchester City Council | 1 Comment

Job Alert: Comms for Greater #Manchester Waste Disposal Authority


Communications and Behavioural Change Officer

Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority

£23,398 – £24,964 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent 07795 158 558 Jennifer Baker

Sectors: sustainability, environmental education

Closing date: Monday, 11 September 2017

Post Title: Communications and Behavioural Change Officer
Grade/Salary: Scale 6 (SCP 26-28) £23,398 – £24,964
Hours: 36.15 hours Permanent

Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) is looking for a competent and experienced person to join its fast paced Communications and Behavioural Change team. This is an ideal opportunity for you to contribute to our five year strategy, delivered under our Recycle for Greater Manchester brand by targeting key recycling and waste prevention issues within the conurbation. The role will support the development and delivery of targeted behaviour change campaigns and activities within our communities.

We are looking for an individual who is flexible, innovative and can communicate effectively to a full range of stakeholders from members of the public, partners and contractors. You will have good organisational skills, the ability to work across teams and in a fast paced environment. Experience of targeted community campaigning and / or behaviour change projects is essential, as well as knowledge of the tools and techniques to deliver effective and successful projects.

You will be educated to a high standard preferably at degree level or hold an equivalent and relevant professional qualification in communications or marketing. Knowledge of the waste industry/local Government/environmental services sector/recycling sector would be desirable but not essential.

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Jennifer Baker on mobile 07795 158558 alternatively application forms and the full job description can be found on our website.

Closing date: COB Monday 11th September 2017

Please mention when responding to this ad.

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Shock News: Richard Leese is… Carbon Literate

He launched it in 2012.  “Carbon Literacy” was going to be rolled out to everyone who lived worked or studied in Manchester (that’s a million people).  There would be an online component and face to face training.  And what example did the glorious leader set?

He didn’t do the online training in 2013.
He didn’t do the face-to-face training in 2013.

He watched on his Executive Member for the Environment set a target that 60 councillors would do it by the end of 2014 (they achieved … 23)

He didn’t do the online training in 2014.
He didn’t do the face-to-face training in 2014.

(He did however announce a monthly Environmental Dashboard that, erm, didn’t exist, forcing a climbdown by officers.)

He didn’t do the online training in 2015.
He didn’t do the face-to-face training in 2015.

He didn’t do the online training in 2016.
He didn’t do the face-to-face training in 2016.

But then, mirabile dictu, on May 8, 2017 – five months after MCFly started a process of ‘rolling FoIA requests‘ about the carbon literacy status of council members – Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council since 1996, did both elements of his carbon literacy training.

A FoIA has been submitted covering how many members, and senior bureaucrats have done their training between May 2 and September 2017.  Let’s hope Leese didn’t use up all his power and cred on helping Amina Lone keep her councillor seat (subs, please check this).

Watch this space.


Posted in carbon literacy training | Tagged | 1 Comment