#Manchester People’s Environmental Scrutiny – meeting report, video, next steps

A meeting where you leave with more energy than you went in? Really? Is such a thing possible? Well, with luck, willpower and preparation, maybe.

pescgoalsiconLast night, 16 people (1) gathered to share skills, ideas and donate their brainpower. In exchange they got to meet interesting people and contribute to a much-needed new network. The People’s Environmental Scrutiny Committee has two goals – nurturing links between concerned citizens, and getting Manchester City Council to set up its own Environmental Scrutiny Committee.

In order to “walk the talk” we

  • had a chat with the person next to us
  • wrote down something we were good at on a white piece of paper and something we would like to be good at on a blue piece, then held ’em up and walked around. Matches were made, emails exchanged. Of such things do networks grow, capacity is released (2)
  • paired off and went round improving the “bluffer’s” guides on all the skills that members of the PESC can develop – social media, lobbying councillors, blogging, video-making, report-writing etc.
  • filled in individual “skills audits” (Please fill in one – here)
  • had a look through the first “Things You Need to Know About Manchester City Council” (August 2014) document – 8 A4 pages you can see here, and suggested a number of improvements for any future editions.
  • Got copies of “The Case for an Environmental Scrutiny Committee” document (12 pages)
  • Heard from the authors of the next report, which will look at the “Total Carbon Footprint” approach to measuring carbon emissions. This is a radical scheme that Manchester City Council promised and then rapidly backed away from.
  • Heard three announcements (see below)
  • Finished earlier than scheduled (!) and then spoke to someone we hadn’t yet spoken to.

All in all, not a bad 80 minutes work.
Here’s a video about the evening, less than a minute long.

The next meeting of the PESC is on Monday 22nd September
In the meantime, it would be great if you could;
a) fill in the skills audit online Please fill in one – here
b) have a look at the “jobs list” (which will steadily expand).

Best wishes
Marc Hudson

(1) Not a bad turn out, the day after a Bank Holiday)
(2) Not “built” – thanks to Rhetta for the very astute help with that!

Next meetings;
Mon 22nd September from 7pm at the Moss Side Community Allotment, corner of Bowes St and Caythorpe St. Main report is on “Total Carbon Footprint – time for a second step?”
Mon 20th October from 7pm at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St. Main report to be confirmed, but may be on community-based resilience/resourcefulness.

Announcements

  • Manchester Abolitionist Vegans meeting on Weds 3rd September from 6.30pm at Earth Cafe, at Manchester Buddhist Centre. 16-20 Turner Street M4 1DZ

  • Friends of Chorlton Meadows events See their website

  • Petition to get parks as statutory obligation

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF PARKS AND GREEN SPACES
The umbrella organisation for the UK’s Friends of Parks Forums and the Friends Groups movement
www.natfedparks.org.uk

Appeal to all concerned organisations – FAO the relevant officer or representative

Please support the UK Parks Petition
Please forward this link, encouraging all your members and contacts to sign: http://chn.ge/TXdqhj
Help prevent the slide into crisis of the UK’s green spaces – please fill in the Questionnaire below or attached

Our local public green spaces are an essential resource and service, vital to every community, and serving important needs for people of all ages and interests. However, as a number of recent ‘Parks Crisis’ reports have demonstrated, there are serious and growing risks to parks throughout the UK caused by chronic underfunding, projected to get even worse over the next few years. Parks could be threatened by dereliction, and many even sold off. This necessitates immediate and effective national action if we are to avoid severe long-term decline. We are now at a tipping point. Our green spaces need the recognition, protection and resources they deserve, and now is the time for everyone to speak out!

The inspirational rise of the Friends Groups movement over the last 15 years (with now over 5,000 groups), and the hard work and expertise of green space staff, managers and professionals, has proven the commitment of the public and all those who love parks. We believe that there must now be an equivalent commitment from the political parties and the next Government in 2015. Let’s make this an election issue!

The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces recently launched the ‘Save Our Parks’ petition, supported by the Love Parks campaign. It aims to help raise the political profile and make parks an election issue. We are asking all key organisations, such as yours, to help promote it widely over the coming weeks and months. Please complete the questionnaire overleaf to indicate your support.

Please support and publicise to everyone in the UK in the build up to World Parks Day, September 20th!

Over 1,500 have already signed following the initial call. The petition has begun to stimulate publicity and debate. There’s been a feature in the Daily Mirror, and national organisations – like Groundwork (the green space volunteering charity) and UNISON (the local Government workers Union) – have already agreed to back the call.

An initial response from a representative of the Department for Communities and Local Government stated: ‘It’s good to see that friends groups across the country have support for the valuable work they do preserving good quality local parks’, and offered to meet with the National Federation to discuss ‘community rights’. But there’s been no response yet to the central issue of what the Government plans to do to ensure ‘good quality local parks’, so we now have to step up the pressure. Let’s all get the word out to everyone we know and get thousands more to sign!

Please help get as many signatures as you can. Please spread the word far and wide!

1. Sign the petition: http://chn.ge/TXdqhj
2. Spread the news via Twitter: @LoveParks_Week #LoveParks
3. Spread the news via Facebook: www.facebook.com/ukparkspetition – and: www.facebook.com/LoveParksWeek
4. Refer to the Parks Petition webpage:
www.natfedparks.org.uk/parks-petition.html
– the page includes a Sign Up Sheet and leaflets to distribute

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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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