Progress Report: Number of “carbon literate” #Manchester councillors surges from 6 to… 6

Back in January an “Open Letter” was signed and sent to Manchester City Council, calling for 9 specific climate actions to happen. One was to get all 96 Councillors on Manchester City Council to become “Carbon Literate”.  Four years after declaring “carbon literacy” to be an Important Thing, the Council had managed to get… 6 of its Councillors through the programme.

So, 3 months later, how much progress has been made.  Erm…

“there are 6 councillors who are Carbon Literate.  The other remaining councillors are completing Part 1, the e-learning package, and are currently booking onto workshops for Part 2.   Dates throughout May and June have been offered for councillors to complete the training.” [email from Councillor Kate Chappell]

Well, it will be interesting to see how many actually take it up in May, since there’s the small matter of elections to contend with.

Perhaps the Executive Members can tell us how they enjoyed their training on their blogs (another of the 9 actions).  No, wait. Three months on, not a single blog has been set up…


MCFly says:  Back in the 80s the band Van Halen attracted derision for their “prima donna” antics in demanding that when they were on tour the M and Ms in their lounge not contain any brown ones. [True Story]  This was seen capricious and childish.  But there was actually a method underneath it all – if the organisers couldn’t sort out something that simple, why should they be trusted with dangerous stuff like lighting rigs and electric displays?  Well, it’s the same here – if blogs and internal training are Too Difficult, why should our lords and masters expect to be believed and trusted to do the big stuff (low carbon culture etc)

To save you clicking through the above – here’s the quote from Snopes –
As Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth explained in his autobiography:

Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through.

The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function. So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say “Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes . . .” This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: “There will be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.”

So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl . . . well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error. They didn’t read the contract. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in #mcrclimateplan, Manchester City Council. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Progress Report: Number of “carbon literate” #Manchester councillors surges from 6 to… 6

  1. gille liath says:

    Hmm…supposing there really was that intention at the time, I wonder whether Van Halen reflected that time spent looking for brown M&Ms was time taken away from sorting out important stuff?

    I dunno: does this kind of awareness training ever achieve anything? If people aren’t already ‘aware’ then they’re probably the kind of people who just don’t listen.

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