Let us love life, not lose it.
This two-part event by Rising Up! Manchester Families celebrates life, nature and the wonderful web of life on earth which is being lost. It is a call to action, to not let nature – which we are a part of and which we need to stay alive – be erased.
Part one is at Manchester Museum and focuses on individual action and our local creatures. There will be fun family friendly arts, crafts, face paint, dress up and play as well as nature activities to help younger ones and parents explore the topic. Manchester Museum, as well as hosting, will be providing sessions of wing making for children and their adults and groups such as RSPB, Manchester Friends of the Earth will be joining our creative fun.
Part two – parade – let’s get noticed and take our message to the streets in a riot of colour, sound and people. We will be joined by circus folk and musicians and we’d love to have you too.
Full parade route and information including accessibility and timings, will be shared with participating groups closer to the event date.
We are planning to finish the event with a wishing tree – a collaborative art project which all participants can join us in.
What’s the issue?
While climate breakdown often gets the headlines the linked issue of species loss is equally as urgent. Worldwide almost 200 species are lost every single day, we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction which threatens us all.
The situation is particularly dire for insects. A global analysis of the data showed that over 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, a rate of extinction eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The review author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo said: “If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind”.
2016 report State of Nature showed UK is “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”, with most of the country having gone past the threshold at which “ecosystems may no longer reliably meet society’s needs” One in ten of our species are currently threatened with extinction and there are continuing declines in species such as skylarks, hedgehogs, many insects including butterflies and corn marigolds.
Since then it has been reported that the UK is going to miss almost all of its 2020 targets on nature.
There are many contributing factors behind this. The intensive farming processes are a huge issue as is increased urbanisation and the endless taking of nature to continue growth which we can’t sustain.
What can we do?
We can all do our individual bit to make our immediate area and neighbourhood more wildlife friendly. But much, much more is needed. As well as awareness raising and the education around individual actions Rising Up! Manchester Families has a list of demands for Greater Manchester local authorities which we will be taking to our councillors and to our MPs. We would love you to support us in these, but this is separate to involvement in the event. (Please note – these demands are being finalised and some may be amended.)
We demand that Manchester Council and other GM councils declare an ecological and climate emergency. Nature and climate must take must higher priority in decision making. The council must consider climate and ecological impact on all planning at all levels. (Currently all officers must consider impact on equalities. We propose that this also be the case for climate and ecological impact. This could be done with immediate effect although of course training and understanding about this would be needed to fully embed such thinking.) Manchester and other GM councils must have a clear strategy for how to make the cities more wildlife friendly, including greenbelts across the city. (Manchester has a Green and Blue strategy – biodiversity and preservation of habitat needs to be a key concern rather than a peripheral concern.) Trees must be recognised and valued as the precious resources that they are, with policies which protect them. Felling should only take place in case of trees independently assessed as dead, diseased, dangerous or dying. Locations must be found for large scale tree planting to take place.
Manchester is currently midway through a consultation on the Greater Manchester Strategic Framework which proposes building on greenbelt. Recognising the emergency means recognising that greenbelt is a vital resource which must be protected. Greater Manchester councils must adopt a brownfield first policy, as advocated by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. (Some brownfield sites are valuable for biodiversity – these must be protected.) Greater Manchester councils must drop their support for HS2, which will devastate around 100 biodiverse rich ancient forests. Planting new trees cannot make up for destroying irreplaceable natural habitat and ecosystems. Research has also shown that the HS2 could draw capital into London, rather than benefitting the north. In 2014 Andy Burnham described it as a “poor deal for most of the region’s taxpayers”
We also call for the following immediate and low-cost policies. Greater Manchester councils must, as Trafford has, ban the use of pesticides from all public land including from allotments. They should also reduce mowing of public grassy areas.
There is also a need for visible projects which engage the public. We will be putting forward proposals for gardening and gardens for the city, including for permaculture beds in Piccadilly Gardens and for a living gardens bee trail. We need to engage hearts and minds and people need to be able to see visible signs of change in our cities.
Want to take part?
Community groups and organisations
We are inviting community groups and organisations to join us in any way that works. Many groups are holding activities in the weeks leading up to the event to make props and costumes, to both raise awareness of the issue, to get involvement and to prep for the carnival. Manchester Art Gallery are using their half term family artist sessions to make props for the parade.
The theme is a broad one. Creatures, species and nature mixed with a circus-y carnival vibe. We will be producing a list of ideas for activities over the next couple of weeks which we will share. Or create your own. While any costumes and props relating to creatures and to the natural world are welcome we would particularly love ones which focus on our local species. Dancing badgers, beetle brigades and the such welcomed with open arms!
And of course, extra points for costumes that use recycled, second hand and natural materials. You can wheel, walk, skip, dance, bike, scoot or juggle your way along the march.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being involved.
We are talking to performers as well as organisations. There is no budget, Rising Up! Manchester Families is currently run on our own money, our own time and a shoestring. Climate change and species loss is an issue which is going to impact all of us, if it is something you want to take action on we’d love to have you. We fully understand that even if you offer your involvement, that if you get a paying gig which clashes that you would have to take the money. We just ask that you keep us informed.
Please email email@example.com if you are interested in being involved.
Why not get together with friends and make some props for the parade? We will be sharing ideas in our Facebook group.
Rising Up! Manchester Families
We are a family climate action group connected to Extinction Rebellion.
We are facing an ecological and climate emergency. Organisations must tell the truth and declare an emergency. They must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. Extinction Rebellion are calling on the government to create a Citizen’s Assembly which will make decisions on these issues.
Rising Up! Manchester Families aim to remove barriers to families – especially those with young children and those who are new to this – and make it easy and fun for them to take action.
Our Rising Up! Manchester Families website is being developed, you can currently find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @RisingUpMcr or email firstname.lastname@example.org