The proposed format of “What Next for Climate Action in Manchester?” Thurs 23 May – comments sought.

Next Thursday, 23rd May there’s an exciting and potentially extremely useful meeting in Manchester. Held at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St (behind the Central Library) it’s called “What Next for Climate Action in Manchester?” and will have five panellists (from Youth Strike for Climate, Extinction Rebellion, Rising Up! Manchester Families, the GM Unite the Union Community Branch climate group and Climate Emergency Manchester (the host organisation).  It will ALSO have time for mingling before and after, and time for discussion and questions.  Below is the detailed format of the event (with rationale for the things we’re doing).  PLEASE let us know what you think. Do you have experience of something we are suggesting doing not working? Do you have better ideas?!

Mingling from 7pm.
Volunteers giving name badges and “place you live” badges (both optional)
Asking people who live, work or study within Manchester City Council’s boundaries to sign the climate emergency petition.
Proactively encouraging people to mingle – this up on the powerpoint screen: ”
Petition sheets on table.

7.28, two minute warning to take seats

7.30 welcome to the meeting
“Thank you all so much for coming out tonight.  We always ask for governments and corporations to innovate in the face of climate breakdown.  Social movements need to innovate too. Recently, Extinction Rebellion Manchester started a meeting by having everyone turn a person near them they didn’t know and listen, and be listened to. It works so well to build connections. So, turn to someone. You have ninety seconds to talk to them. Then you listen to them for ninety seconds. No reporting back, just connecting. When  the first lot of ninety seconds are up I’m going to raise both my arms like this. When you see me do that, please stop talking and raise your arms. Then we swap

(active listening)

Thank you for doing that. So housekeeping  – fire exits behind me and out the front door. If there’s an alarm, it’s the real deal. Toilets are on this floor, to the right.  There is an A4 sheet on your chair, with all the contact details of all the speakers, and of other environmental groups in the city, along with a calendar of upcoming events. If your event is not on there a) sorry and b) email or tweet it to us. If you don’t have a smart phone, write it down on a bit of paper, give it to a steward, and we will announce it at the end.

By the way, there should NOT be anything else on your chairs.

The meeting is being live-streamed and recorded (but camera will be pointing at “the stage” The hashtag is #whatnextMcr.

Each speaker has been asked to answer a specific question within their five minutes.

[btw, the 5 questions are these-

  • Youth Strike – what is it that adults can do, concretely, to help the students in the coming months?
  • Parents – how do parents speak loudly to attract other parents to the cause, and to influence policy?
  • Extinction Rebellion Manchester – how can the colourful disruption of XR help with the nitty gritty work of not just declaring a climate emergency, but also making sure policies are implemented?
  • Unite Community Branch – how do people within and outside the union movement work to make sure that the Just Transition is convincing to those working in high fossil-fuel use sectors?
  • Climate Emergency Manchester – so, you get your 4000 signatures, and a debate in Manchester City Council. So what? Then what? [CEM interview here]

Each speaker is going to get a one minute warning  at four minutes, and then at exactly five minutes, I’ll start applauding, and you all join in.  Then you talk to the person next to you for a minute about what you’ve heard, then four one minute we’ll get people to shout out short (short!) questions. Then on to the next speaker. After all the speakers have spoken, those shouted out questions will be answered.

If you have a question that you can send as a tweet, please do that!  We have someone who is going to compile them for the relevant speakers, and the earlier they see them, the more time they have to give a considered answer.

We will finish the formal part of this meeting at 2045, so people who need to catch buses, get home for babysitters etc have a chance to talk to other people, including the speakers.  You are free to mingle until 9, but then we have to be out of the room.

Let’s practice that five minute deadline applause. When the applause dies down, the first speaker’s five minutes start!  (Claps)

First speaker has their five minutes (with a “one minute” piece of paper warning and a five minute applause cut off).

“So, turn to the person next to you. What did you think? If you have a question, get help making it shorter! If you can tweet it to us at @climateemergmcr, even better!”

One minute of questions being shouted out.

Next speaker, next discussion/questions until done.
After final speaker  the following

“Each panellist is now going to give short responses to the questions they were asked.” (hopefully a couple of minutes each)

“Thanks everyone.  There’s still plenty of time for further discussion. Take a couple of minutes to turn to the person next to you, discuss if you’ve got questions for the whole panel, or individuals.  There’s a three sentence limit on questions – no speeches.  We’re going to ask the panel to be as brief as they can too. If your question doesn’t get asked tonight, a) sorry and b)  it WILL get answered by our panellists afterwards, and put online, we promise.

Then ask for show of hands. (Pick women, non-usual suspects first. Enforce three sentence rule).

At 8.42
“Thanks, we’ve run out of time for the Q and A.. Each panellist gets time for 3 final sentences.  Then we will close the formal part of the meeting, but please stick around, talk to some other people, take the literature from the tables, sign the petition. If you can afford to donate towards the costs of the meeting, please do. But most of all, get involved, stay involved. Thanks again for coming.”

[three sentence closing from each speaker]

Does this make sense? Is this unrealistic? What would you propose to do differently?

Here, fwiw, are the draft pages of the handout (don’t circulate please – there will be additional info, and some effort to prettify…


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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