MCFly readers often ask us “what can we do?” We reply “do something in your local community that is likely to be successful, and that will leave you with more skills and enthusiasm than when you went into it.”
That, sadly, excludes most of the activism that seems to go on at the moment. The good news is that there are some projects that we can point folks to. One of them is “Manchester Carbon Literacy.” It’s run by a small social enterprise called Cooler Projects. Phil Korbel, one of the directors, answered our questions.
What’s been the biggest satisfaction/success you’ve in the last few months of running the project?
The easy answer is seeing one of our volunteers turn her two-day a week volunteering w us into a full-time 12 month post with Manchester Metropolitan University – focussed on Carbon Literacy. But we’re also very proud of the fact that all our volunteers are playing properly responsible roles in the project, nothing half-baked at all.
What’s been the biggest difficulty/roadblock?
That we can’t afford to convert all our volunteers into full-time paid posts.
Anything you’d have done differently with the benefit of hindsight?
Started recruiting volunteers earlier and putting in processes to support them before they arrived. Luckily the skills of our volunteers are such that they were able to help us construct those systems.
Last we spoke you were contemplating calling the “Manchester Carbon Literacy Project” something a bit catchier. That hasn’t happened – why not?
The appeal of ‘doing what is says on the tin’ has won out for now. Having said that, the project was always going to be called this, but the training might be branded differently as some training partners have been doing.
Why do you need more volunteers?
As above, one of our volunteers has got a paid gig, still involved with the project but in a different area, and people keep saying that they want to work with us – so demand is still outstripping our supply of paid people time and thus the on-going need for volunteers…
What sorts of skills would they learn?
Looking at the current group – project management, communication skills, creativity, design and working as a team – for starters. Did I mention Carbon Literacy?
MCFly says: In a perfect world, everyone would volunteer for MCFly. But since our particular brand of sarcasm and career suicide doesn’t have broad appeal, we are happy to endorse Cooler Projects’ Carbon Literacy programme. Is Carbon Literacy enough? Well, as Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh will argue next week, no, we need Carbon Capability. Is it an important starting place, and the provider of much-needed straws of hope in a city where Climate Change is talked about a lot more than it is actually tackled? Yes.