We Need To Talk Beyond Kevin

Professor Kevin Anderson spoke to Full Council on Wednesday 30th January. He gave an account of the speed and scale of climate change that left many of the nearly one hundred councillors stunned. It left many of the 35 members of the public who came to hear him speechless. But it wasn’t enough, he didn’t finish the job.

His presentation was, of course, very up-to-date, very accurate, brilliantly presented and very very scary. You can read the extensive report that MCFly co-editor posted online almost before the councillors stopped quivering. But the problem is this; Kevin Anderson is a climate scientist. The climate change problem is not one of missing information. We know enough.

The climate change problem isn’t even a policy one. Here in Manchester at least we have policies that occasionally rise to the level of adequacy (well, for the sake of rhetoric, let’s assume this).

The climate change problem is political. Not Labour versus Lib Dem. Not Lib Dem versus Tory. Political in the sense of making sure our elected leaders – of whatever stripe – have no choice but to keep their promises, and then make bolder plans for making Manchester – its food systems, transport, democracy – ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

And the most of all, the problem is one of building resourcefulness among ourselves – building practical connections between individuals and communities, sharing skills and solutions and solidarity.

Kevin is a scientist. He provides information. He’s inordinately good at that. But it’s not enough. (And Kevin has never claimed it is.) Climate change is scary though, and there lurks a danger in ourselves. In our fear, we may become paralyzed, and expect some expert, some leader, to take responsibility, to be the shepherd to our sheep. That never ends well.

We cannot wait for the official “Steering Group” to get its act together. Despite repeated promises, it never has. It may never do so. We cannot rely solely on the Council – soon to be 100% Labour – which perpetrates such triumphs of democratic process and common sense as the razing of hundreds of trees in Alexandra Park. And we cannot assume that non-governmental organisations, charities and the like will magically start to do the job they haven’t done for 30 years. No-one will do this “for us”. We will have to do it ourselves. Not each on their own, but together.

We at Manchester Climate Monthly have plans and proposals for how we – citizens of Manchester – can create the changes we need. We are putting these out for comment and improvement in the coming days and weeks . They really don’t need (much) money. They certainly don’t need superhuman strength or intelligence, or every one of your waking hours. They need passion, but also passion’s estranged step-sister, commitment. They need regular, relentless commitment of, say, an hour a week. (More if you want!). In return, you will learn many new skills, make many new friends. And help make Manchester the resourceful (not resilient – resourceful) place it needs to be.

Professor Kevin Anderson spoke to Full Council on Wednesday 30th January. It wasn’t enough, he didn’t finish the job. You can. Your choice. Email us today – mcmonthly@gmail.com.

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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One Response to We Need To Talk Beyond Kevin

  1. Dave Bishop says:

    The more I get into environmental issues, the more I realise how deeply inadequate our present political structures are. Right here and now, in the 21st century, the world is facing apocalypse and our leaders are still fighting the class wars of the 19th and 20th centuries – wars which now will probably never be won because there will be very few people left to fight them!

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