Manchester’s future – and the world’s – was discussed by a packed room of councillors, officers and members of the public this morning at Manchester Town Hall. The Economy Scrutiny Committee (see youtube here) was joined by upwards of 20 members of the public, other councillors and members of the City Council’s Executive.
There were a series of presentations – firstly by the author of a report highlighting the “costs” of a steady-state economy approach. After questions, four very brief presentations were made by proponents of steady-state, (these will be uploaded on this site in coming days) before further questions. The meeting then broke into workshops around Green Skills and Jobs, Green Business and Green Investment. These workshops then fed back to the full meeting.
Recommendations that were then accepted by the Committee (i.e. will be actioned) included
- A report reviewing the existing sustainable procurement policy (written in 2009) will be presented
- New Economy will work with the City Council at additional measures besides “Gross Value Added” (GVA) for measuring economic well-being
- A report on “carbon literacy” will come be presented to the ESC
- The Council will acknowledge the finite nature of world resources
- A recommendation will go to the other 5 scrutiny committees that they investigate climate change – perhaps in a similar method to today’s special format of the ESC
- Manchester City Council will use its influence toe embed sustainability in the curriculum
- A visit will be arranged to an ‘eco-house’ in Chorlton (as long as there is a reciprocal visit by environmental activists to houses in Collyhurst
- The coming existence of a “grassroots report” is noted, and a “report will come back” to the committee (more on this on MCFly tomorrow)
- At the suggestion of one of the signatories, a press release will be prepared by the City Council about today’s meeting.
MCFly’s INITIAL TWO CENTS. We were wrong. We thought the issue would get kicked into the long grass – “go talk to Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee” (which we already do). But from the get-go today, in the way the meeting was opened, through to how it was closed, it’s clear that the door is open. Does this mean that activists and citizens can sit back and let councillors and officers “get on with it”? Quite. The. Opposite. The steady-state question, has – perfectly predictably and ‘reasonably’ – been buried. It will take tremendous hard work, networking and good luck to get it on the agenda again. Anyone who wants to be part of that hard work (and many hands will make it light work for each individual) should read a blog post going up at lunchtime tomorrow (Thursday 21st) on this site.
More to follow in the coming 24 hours, including a “bluffer’s guide to Ecological Economics”, and an in-depth report on today’s proceedings.
If you want to learn more, please come along next Monday, 25th June, to the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St. From 6pm to 9pm there is a drop-in session. See you there!