What are we – you and me – going to do in Manchester? What local action are we going to take? Here’s a suggestion, from the new Manchester Prepared Communities website. Please get in touch if you want to do this (firstname.lastname@example.org). Me, I live in Moss Side.
In rough chronological order
1) Get together with 3 or 4 other people who live near you.
You probably know enough people already. (If you don’t, get in touch with Manchester Climate Monthly – email@example.com – and we will try to send people your way…) And you probably know the ones who are good at talking and promising and the ones who are good at delivering. Sometimes they are the same people, often not..
Come up with a rough agreement of what you want to achieve, how often you think you need to meet. Keep your expectations low…
2) Become aware of the general ‘threats’ to Manchester
That’s why this website exists. And the links. Do NOT spend too much time on this. It’s depressing and unnecessary. Disasturbation…
Research specific threats and vulnerabilities to your neighbourhood
Not everywhere is prone to flooding, for example. Where is the nearest factory that is upwind that might catch fire and cause havoc with your lungs. And some areas have better ability to cope with some problems than others, thanks to “social capital”, previous experience, our old friend money etc.
3) Find out what plans currently exist
They probably don’t, so this won’t take long. (The local state is being gutted by Central Government. So it goes.)
You can type in your ward name and ward plan into Manchester City Council website search box. What you get back will probably depress you. Either there won’t be a ward plan, or there will be one, out-of-date and a fantasy document.
4) Start making preparations for general threats and for one or two specific threats
This might be as simple as bulk-buying specific items (batteries etc) and selling them on at cost price. Where are the gathering points if houses have to be evacuated? What would you want in your grab bag?
Preparations will inevitably be a mix of things individuals can/should do, things groups can do and things that Councils etc should be lobbied to do… You won’t be able to prepare for everything at once. Choose what is most likely, or what you are most able to prepare for (it’s up to you). Obviously if you are starting in April prepare for heat waves not Snowgeddon (though who can tell anymore, eh?)
AFTER you have made some preparations and built some momentum, approach your local councillors. (Otherwise you will expect them-and-the-Council to Do Things For You. That’s not how this can work.)
5) Publicise the lessons you’ve learnt in all the above
When the time is right, and if you want it and need it, we can teach you web design.
Please do NOT start an all-singing and all-dancing website, or even a facebook group, until you actually have something to show for your efforts. The Interwebz groans not just under the weight of the cat pictures, but also the empty-of-content sites promising all sorts of things. Under-promise, over-deliver…
Do NOT get bogged down in co-writing the Ward Plans, it’s a pointless tar pit, unless you have really good councillors and ward co-ordinators (and even then…)