Anti-Fracking Solidarity: From Latin America to the UK #Manchester, 19 May.

2018 05 21 fracking.PNGManchester, Saturday 19 May
Anti-Fracking Solidarity: From Latin America to the UK

When: 2pm-4pm, followed by social

Where: Manchester Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester M2 5NS

–Come to connect the resistance to extreme fossil fuels between UK, Argentina and Colombia. Hear the stories of resistance first-hand and discuss how to offer practical solidarity.—

Speakers:
Fernando Cabrera, Observatorio Petrolero Sur, Argentina
Fabian Laverde, COSPACC, Colombia
Helena Coates, Frack Free Greater Manchester

Co-hosts: Platform, War on Want, Argentina Solidarity Campaign, Manchester Friends of the Earth, Fossil Free Greater Manchester and Frack Free Greater Manchester

Register for your free place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/anti-fracking-solidarity-from-latin-america-to-the-uk-tickets-45511182171

Invite your Facebook friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/1628588330570223/

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Training for protest at BP’s AGM in #Manchester: Tues 15 May

On May 21 BP is – for the first time ever – holding its AGM outside London.  They’re coming to Manchester.

There will be a protest.  There is training for that on offer.  Register via here. (Blurb below copied and pasted from there)

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Imagine being in a room with Bob Dudley, the CEO of BP. What would you ask him?

BP’s annual general meeting (AGM) with its shareholders will be in Manchester on 21 May. ShareAction and a cohort of AGM activists will be in that meeting, asking carefully crafted questions that challenge BP’s business as usual approach to drilling for oil around our planet.

Would you like to be one of the AGM activists at the BP AGM?

Join us on 15 May to get skilled up in AGM activism and tell BP that they can’t go on drilling for oil in the years to come – it’s time to move on or be left behind.

Please register on this page if you are coming.

AGM activism is a tactic that has helped secure huge wins. Together, AGM activists have convinced more than one third of FTSE 100 companies to accredit as real Living Wage employers and supported major electricity users like Tesco to shift to 100% renewable electricity.

We’ve even used AGM activism to influence BP in 2016. Together, dozens of AGM activists and the investors that backed them stopped BP’s plans to drill off the southern coast of Australia in order to protect the diverse and vulnerable ecosystem in the Great Australian Bight. And, together, we won that one.

Now we need to influence them again.

We need to have an impact on BP’s current business model, it is incompatible with a future where our climate is safe. The human impact of their operations of immense. Together, AGM activists will be in the room to challenge that business model.

Any questions email michael.kind@shareaction.org, or call Michael on 020 3475 7874.

 

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Upcoming event: Unsustainable fossil fuel use 1950-2018. #Manchester #climate

Free event, no need to book.  Tyndall Manchester asking the right questions again…

 

2018 05 how come to this.PNGHow did it come to this? Unsustainable global fossil fuel use in historical perspective, 1950-2018

Simon Pirani, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

The global level of fossil fuel consumption continues to rise, despite ever-more-insistent claims that we are moving to a post-fossil-fuel era. The presentation will put this in historical perspective, focusing on the accelerated consumption growth from the mid-20th century onwards. The post-war boom, the 1970s oil price shocks and processes associated with economic globalisation all played their part. Policy failed on a grand historical scale: it did not curb consumption growth even after the global warming effect was discovered in the 1980s. An interpretation of this history will be suggested, emphasising that fossil fuels are consumed by and through social, economic and technological systems. The implications of this history for present day dilemmas will be considered

 

Speaker bio

Simon Pirani is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. He is author of Burning Up: a global history of fossil fuel consumption, to be published by Pluto Press in August 2018. Over the last 12 years he has published widely on energy in former Soviet countries. He was editor of Russian and CIS Gas Markets and Their Impact on Europe (Oxford University Press, 2009) and co-editor with James Henderson of The Russian Gas Matrix: how markets are driving change (Oxford University Press, 2014).

 

The seminar will take place in room C21, in the Pariser Building on Sackville Street– number 12 on the map herehttp://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/maps/interactive-map/?id=9

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Event Report + facilitation reflections- “#Climate Change and Sustainability” seminar, #Manchester

Last Saturday the northwest branch of  Spanish Researchers UK network held a well-executed and interesting seminar on ‘Climate Change and Sustainability’ in central Manchester.

mainposterforsrukBetween 30 and 40 people were present at the Cervantes Institute (which kindly provided a  room for free) to hear four talks, each of which was followed by Q and As, with a free and eat delicious vegetarian lunch provided by Veg Box people.  These talks were followed by an hour-long discussion on the thorny ‘what is to be done?’ question.

The four academics presenting were Dr Ana Payo Payo, Dr Rachel Freeman, Dr Sherilyn Macgregor and Joe Blakey (a PhD student).  Dr Payo spoke , and used ‘Game of Thrones’ metaphors to great effect.  Dr Freeman explained the causes of anthropogenic climate change and outlined some of the technological options available. Joe Blakey explained how the superficially straightforward idea of ‘carbon accounting’ is actually far more complicated and riven with political assumptions than first glance would suggest. Finally, Dr McGregor outlined the concepts of climate justice and highlighted non-Western viewpoints on where responsibility for action lies.

After each of the talks there was an opportunity for the people listening to confer with the people sat near them in order to them.  This helped generate a broader set of questions from a wide range of people. come up with short and relevant questions

final sessionThe final session of the day was structured around getting to meet more people and then thinking through examples from our own experience of attempting to reduce carbon footprints.  This started on food, then moved on to flying. The final portion of the session was around advice/reflections on engaging in activism aimed at policy and political change.

The suggestions that came out of that session (many thanks to Joe Blakey for agreeing to be volunteered as scribe, and for typing them up so promptly) are at the end of this post, and if you’re not interested in the burblings of the facilitator for the session (me) then scroll down.

Reflections on the final session

What went well

  • There was a platform upon which the four presenters and me could have sat. That would have been disastrous.    But, in my opinion, keeping it in rows, with us at the front sitting on the platform would have been really bad as well.  So we were able to pull the seating into a circle (okay, hexagon) and dot the panellists around that, so they weren’t ‘en bloc’.
  • I then got people to stand up, walk across to sit next to someone they didn’t know and introduce themselves and to come up with any questions of clarification or disagreement.
  • We then went round the room.  There were a few questions of clarification, which the panellists replied to with admirable concision.  There were fewer ‘fundamental disagreement’ comments, and the panellists responded to those concisely as well.
  • We then had people work in pairs/threes thinking about things that people had done/wanted to do around reducing their carbon footprint.
  • That led to interesting discussions about meat-reducing and how to be ‘vegetarian’ when there are significant social pressures to eat meat.
  • We then had a brief conversation about flying (a lot of hands went up when I asked how many people had flown in the last 12 months) and how to reduce the frequency of that (it’s not easy, either for family reasons or business).  There was a discussion of how taking the train, even if physically possible, might be the preserve of higher status people who can convince their employer to pay the extra, and who can ‘afford’ to be largely off-line/unavailable for extended periods.
  • The final section tried to move from individual consumption to the bigger picture.  People were asked to work in pairs or threes and offer positive advice about how do be citizens more effectively.  We went round the room one by one, with people told that they could simply say ‘pass’ if they wanted (some did).

 

What could have gone better (and what didn’t go well was MY FAULT, not the organisers)

The trouble of being the solo facilitator, and quite ‘prescriptive’ (overtly guiding the topic of conversation)  is that rather than talking to the room in general it becomes a series of dialogues between one individual and the facilitator. No matter how supportive you are (and I was okay-ish, but not great) it puts individuals “on the spot” .

Things you could try to do differently to ameliorate this

Encourage people to address the whole room, not just talk the facilitator: Simple, will probably work, but puts onus on individual person, unfairly?
Two facilitators, who are not same gender, and don’t sit next to each other: Probably a better option, but then you need two facilitators who work well and have had time to prepare together…

Finally, those suggestions

SRUK Seminar Series on Global Challenges:

Climate Change and Sustainability

Discussion: What Can We Do Better?

  1. When speaking with (or lobbying) politicians who seem to be on your side, always exercise a degree of caution. It’s in their interest to get you on their side. Will they actually follow through with the things they appear to care about? Will they use you as a fig leaf? It’s important to be critical and to hold them accountable.
  2. Write to your local MP. If lots of people do this they are more likely to do something as they know the environment matters to voters.
  3. There are plenty of ‘low hanging fruit’ by which you can improve your environmental credentials, from cutting back on plastic or meat to walking more. There are simply changes that are easy to make and all make a difference.
  4. Get creative with the space in your community and draw upon the skills of your community. Incredible Edible is a great example where food is grown in unused bits of greenspace that all the community can pick.
  5. Don’t disregard your local elections, both as an opportunity to use your vote towards your environmental concerns and to ask candidates: ‘what do you mean when you say want to improve environmental conditions’ or ‘what are the environmental consequences of a given policy?’
  6. Practice the art of argumentation, of powerful rhetoric – this is what gives you a voice. Don’t be afraid to engage in debate.
  7. Solidarity matters. Politics is not just an individual thing – neoliberalism wants us to be individually minded. Public skills and public spaces are valuable – use them.
  8. The environment and low-carbon practices intersect with other things – such as clean air or caring about local food. Moreover, activities such as litter picking can improve the sense of community and bring people together.
  9. It’s often simply to not use a car or to avoid certain travels – make use of Skype or conference calls where possible.
  10. Long commutes are a source of carbon emissions. Is there an alternative job closer to home?
  11. We live in a disposable society. We need to value things like clothes more. Can we reuse, repurpose or simply not buy as much as frequently?
  12. Be an activist at every opportunity.
  13. Take up cycling.
  14. Consider what you buy as you make a purchase.
  15. Avoid plastic.
  16. Spread the word – start with your family.
  17. Consider how best we can convey information. Children are often able to tell the brutal truth that adults are able to tell.
  18. Global environmental change is tied to other processes, from the patriarchy to pro-growth capitalism. Tackle things not in a potted sense, in isolation, but instead consider how we can tackle multiple problems ‘intersectionally’ – as one and considering their overlaps.
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Seminar: Climate Change & Sustainability #Manchester Saturday 21st April

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 The Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom is holding a seminar on “Climate Change and Sustainability” on Saturday 21st of April. It’s free and you’ll get to meet lots of interesting people. I’ll be there too…

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Upcoming Event: “A Rubbish Night at the Museum” #Manchester 19 April

rubbishnight.PNG.from here

Do residents in Manchester have to live surrounded by rubbish? Or can we change it?

If you care about Manchester, our neighbourhoods, our communities, and our international reputation, then let’s talk about rubbish.

Join us for “A Rubbish Night at the Museum”.

The aim is simple and ambitious. We want to challenge and inspire the universities, councils, businesses, waste authorities and residents to work together to build the intellectual and practical capacity to deal with rubbish.

Mayor Andy Burnham wants Greater Manchester to become a “world leading cleaner and greener city region“. Yet visitors and international students compare Manchester with their home cities as they step over filth and rubbish.

As one international student put it in a recent research interview “Maybe this is how British people live”.

This event

We want this to be an engaging, enjoyable and memorable event, where we face the Manchester mess, question current policy, and try to improve the future for us all.

There will be over 60 displays of photographs, art work, policy quotes, innovation and research findings, including comments from Manchester residents.

Thursday evening, 19th April 6-9pm is the main event. As well as the displays, there will be conversationsreadingspanel discussions and great food.

It will occupy the whole of the beautiful top floor of the Manchester Museum, with direct lift access from the entrance archway on Oxford Rd.

The displays will then remain in place from Friday to Sunday – the Earth Day weekend. Some of the contributors will join conversations on those days too.

Children: there will be fun activities for children on the Saturday, as part of the Museum’s Earth Day activities.

Food and drink

On Thursday evening, canapes / nibbles / snacks will be served from 6-8pm by Real Junk Food Manchester. They offer impressive fine dining and catering, from food sourced directly from suppliers that would otherwise go to waste.

The food will include vegan, meat and gluten free options, and both savoury and sweet. As in their restaurant, it will be served on a “pay what you feel” basis.

Drinks, tea and coffee will be available from the Museum bar.

Everyone welcome

The event is for residents, neighbours, policy makers, international and UK students, academics, businesses, waste operators, and everyone interested in reducing waste and rubbish across Greater Manchester.

(If you have the privilege of being paid to deal with GM rubbish professionally, then consider it your job to be there!)

Bring friends and neighbours to enjoy it together, to build collaborations in your area, and to connect with people in other areas.

Provisional programme

Main area

6.00 – 9.00 Displays and conversations. Drinks from the bar. Tea & coffee.

6.00 – 8.00 Canapes / nibbles / snacks served by Real Junk Food Manchester.

Event space

6.00 – 6.30 Displays, canapes, drinks and conversations

6.30 – 6.45 Readings of resident experiences.

6.45 – 7.30 Public and panel discussion: what are the challenges, and what are the solutions? Resident experience and questions will direct and focus the discussion. Invited panel to include a waste/recycling policy maker, researcher, campaigner, and active resident.

7.30 – 8.00 Break: Displays, food, drinks and conversations.

8.00 – 8.35 Discussion: building a shared vision and commitment for ways forward.

8.35 – 8.50 Readings of resident experiences (repeat).

8.50 – 9.00 Networking and close.

Remember the 60+ displays will remain for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday daytime.

Register for the Rubbish Night – Free

Register in advance because this large beautiful space is ultimately limited, because we want to know that people across Manchester have heard about the event, and because we want to avoid wasting good food!

Over 200 people have registered already, so don’t delay. Put Thursday 19th April 6pm in your diary.

Why?

With the pressures of “peak stuff” and multiple-occupancy houses, there are many causes for this rubbish. We need a GM rubbish policy that recognises them, and works. (We’ll use the hashtag #GMTalkingRubbish to continue the discussions.)

The event is intended to be an engaging and enjoyable way to help us all to identify the issues, question current policy with confidence, and make a practical difference in our streets. GM authorities need to work with residents to solve this problem. So let’s try to make it happen.

Organisers and funders

With many contributors, the event is organised by “Upping It” (an award-winning community organisation in Manchester) in collaboration with The Manchester Museum as part of the Museum’s sustainability agenda.

The event draws on collaborative research at The University of Manchester, Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI). It is funded by the SCI, plus the University’s “engaging our communities” fund.

FAQs

Children

There will be fun rubbish activities for children on the Saturday, which is a ‘Big Saturday’ at the Museum to celebrate Earth Day on 22nd.

Disabled access

The lift is direct to the top floor from the entrance in the Museum archway on Oxford Rd. Toilets are on the ground and top floors.

Participation as a contributor

If you, your group or organisation would like to propose contributing a display or objects to the event, either directly based on resident experience, or about innovative socially and environmentally responsible means of waste prevention, waste reduction or post-consumer waste management, or about current waste policy and its critiques, directly relevant to Greater Manchester, then please email a suggestion to Simon@UppingIt.org.uk.

Note there are no spaces for stalls, and displays need to be primarily about the issues of waste, waste management and rubbish, not promoting your organisation. They need to be engaging and relevant to Manchester residents, but may also have more information for those with particular interests.

We are also interested in a loan and delivery of a reverse vending machine, loan and delivery of clean 140l wheelie bins of all colours, and the supply of printed hi-viz vests and high quality litter-picking kits.

Contact

Any questions about the event, contact Simon on rubbish-night@uppingit.org.uk

Any questions about the Museum, contact the Museum on 0161 275 2648

Full address of venue:

Manchester Museum
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PL

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Great Green Future or the Last Straw? #GMGreenCity

For reasons that escape all explanation, Manchester Climate Fortnightly’s editor did not pass the (mysterious and unexplained) selection process for the recent Mayor’s “Green” Summit. Go figure.  Anyway, some people who did go have written up their reflections.  Here is the first one.  Others to follow; the more the merrier.

Fwiw, MCFly’s take is this: of course Andy Burnham wants to have another summit. It’s good PR. And of course it will be more of the same top-down guff about plastic straws. The real work of democracy, which neither Burnham and his cronies NOR the environmental ‘campaigners’ want is for the actual machinery of democracy and scrutiny to be there all year round. For the former that would be too uncomfortable, for the latter too much like hard work.

 

GM Mayor Andy Burnham’s Summit Report.

I arrived early as requested to clear security; as it happens although my bag was checked, nobody asked for proof of ID (the driving license I had dug out proving superfluous). Initially I was frustrated that the ‘here to help’ helpers seemed unable to help me locate either cloakroom or refreshment area (better signage particularly to reach the remote refreshment area – and ‘Marketplace’ would have been useful). Once that was sorted the next hour, before the official start was very useful. There were many stalls to interact with and a good opportunity to network generally.

The formal event started well (and only 5 minutes late). Andy Burnham delivered his opening remarks and made plenty of right noises, including a recognition that the 2050 target for zero carbon was too late, and instead stated his intention to make Manchester the first Zero Carbon City Region with a target date for 2038. He was followed by Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre – excellent as always. He came over less doom and gloom than he used to (despite the dire situation) but pulled no punches over the need to make all the necessary cuts over just the next few years; as he put it ‘Winning slowly is as bad as losing outright’.

Next up was Alex Ganotis, Stockport Council Leader and GM Lead on the Green City. He started ok, clearly stating that environmental actions should not be separate from other policy areas, but ran a good ten minutes over his al1oted time, degenerating into death by Powerpoint. There was a video message from Clare Perry, the Tory Environment Minister which was mercifully short. followed by 2 more keynote speeches, from reps from the Environment Agency and Business (Marks and Spencer).

At this point (11.50 instead of the programmed 11.35) we split into two groups Green and Orange. The Orange Group I was in, went to lunch, a fairly basic but adequate baked potato based meal, which for most attenders had to be eaten standing up. From there we were ushered to the six ‘Thematic Feedback rooms’ where we were asked to provide written feedback on long lists of ideas which had emerged from the ‘listening’ event (confession: I didn’t attend a single listening event); there were many good ideas there with which I could only agree. This was the only part of the day where there was any opportunity for the vast majority of attenders to contribute, and given the amount of material, 40 minutes was not enough to do it justice. We were then transferred to the auditorium for no less than 8 five minute slots (entitled ‘Local Successes and Provocations’). At the end of this, the Green Group (who had been through the same process in a different order) rejoined us.

The afternoon session then began, at 14.27 instead of the intended 14.00. First item ‘Andy Burnham – Welcome back, reflects on what he has heard’ (I’m more interested in what he’s going to do than what he has heard). At least he didn’t say much at this point (beyond teasing us with the anticipated arrival of a ‘special guest’ later on), moving on quickly to the next 2 key speakers (from BBC North and United Utilities). When in doubt have a key speaker, though to be fair Alice Webb of the BBC delivered the best speech of the day apart from Kevin.

The following session was ‘Panel and Audience QA Session’. Hooray I thought, they’re going to give us a chance to be involved. And indeed at exactly 3.24 pm – 36 minutes before the whole event was due to finish – a call went out for anyone in the audience to ask a question. A couple of people got in before the session ended and we moved on to ‘Pledge Session and Online Participation’…

My heartbeat increased – would we all be asked to reveal our pledges?! Andy Burnam’s heartbeat also increased as he prepared to announce the appearance of the special guest – who could it be we thought, David Attenborough maybe? – nope it was…. wait for it….(anyone opposed to the imposition of a fenced and floodlight football pitch on the green space of Turn Moss, or to the building of a huge tower in front of historic Manchester Town Hall, should look away now) ….. Gary Neville!. We were then presented with four white men – Burnham, Ganotis, Neville and an actor from Cold Feet (whose name I forget) talking to each other with little if any interaction with the audience. At this point we were already way past the scheduled finishing time.

This pledge session built to a climax where a group of business people got on stage to proudly announce their support for a pledge to ban single use plastic drinking straws and generally slap each other on the back. Dear reader, I couldn’t take any more and I left (I had been sat down with no loo break or refreshments for over 3 hours). By that time I reckon at least a third of the initial audience had already gone. To be fair, the drinking straw pledge made the national news, but I don’t think it’s what Kevin Anderson had in mind in terms of priorities. So sadly I missed Andy’s 15 minutes of closing remarks.

General Points:

The above description probably comes across as pretty negative, but there were good aspects to the day as well, particularly what seems to be a genuine recognition across some businesses and politicians at least that we need to do better; also some opportunity to network and learn of good initiatives around the city region. I did glean a number of useful bits of information. Also I’m prepared to give Andy Burnham the benefit of the doubt about his sincerity to make major changes…

However:

There were far too many speeches from the platform and far too few opportunities for the audience to participate. In the whole day there was only time for 6 questions from the audience.

There was only forty minutes in the whole day allowed for the vast majority of participants to actually contribute anything.

For an one day event to overrun by over 40 minutes is inexcusable (in my opinion). In mitigation it does take time to move hundreds of people around, but the time needed for that was probably underestimated.

To have an audience sat motionless for over three hours continuously is also unacceptable (in my opinion).

The audience was fairly gender balanced, but overwhelmingly white. There were some non-white faces but they mainly belonged to the people serving the food and sweeping the floors. I would say it mainly consisted of two groups – green campaigners and other worthies, and business people with a conscience (or an optimistic sense of opportunity). So whatever the selection process was, it didn’t result in a representative sample of the population.

The building was too hot, particularly in the ‘thematic’ rooms and in the auditorium in the afternoon.

To summarise the day, although Kevin Anderson called on us to stop doing things the 19th and 20th century way, most of the day was very much old thinking based, with just a nod at 21st century in the form of celebrity culture.

Above all, the measure of success isn’t the event itself but what comes after it. We were promised a follow up summit within the year, but the real test will be the plan, the process, the milestones and the accountability, not just now but over the coming years.

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