Manchester Climate Monthly has been publishing since October 2011. It has been publicising events, running (blunt) event reports, using Freedom of Information Act requests to expose the yawning chasm between promise and delivery, between rhetoric and reality.
\Before that, Manchester Climate Fortnightly was published from June 2008 to November 2010. It covered the last wave of activity (and even action) on climate change. During that time Manchester City Council was finally cajoled and corralled into making some worthwhile promises on climate change. Then came Copenhagen, the Coalition government and the chaos of austerity. Almost of all of the red-hot climate activists of 2008/9 succumbed to despair, burnout, drifting off to get on with their lives. Those that stuck around fell into being a figleaf for the Council, or just getting on with projects that made them feel good, some of which were important and effective..
And now here we are in July 2019, riding a new wave of activity and promises pending. Thanks to the white hot summer of 2018, the IPCC’s 1.5 report, a Swedish schoolgirl and a social movement organisation with signs and symptoms of rocket/stick syndrome, climate is “having a moment.” It may or may not last. That’s kind of irrelevant.
What is relevant is this (and readers of a nervous disposition, who don’t like emotional blackmail – look away now).
On Wednesday 10th July, Manchester City Council is having a debate about a Climate Emergency declaration (not that you’d know it from the calendars of prominent Manchester environment groups, ironically, but that’s another story). The motion, proposed by Councillor Annette Wright (Hulme) and seconded by Councillor Eve Francis Holt (Chorlton) is not perfect, but then what is? The motion is not bad at all, and offers a much overdue return to specific and meaningful thought on climate change.
If you give a damn. if you have ever found Manchester Climate Monthly useful or even less-than-irritating, here’s what I (editor of MCFly and pain in the arse Marc Hudson) beg you to do as soon as you finish reading this damn rant.
LOBBY YOUR COUNCILLORS. Find out who they are here. Phone them. Email them. Try to meet them before the debate. Tell them that you are getting involved for the long haul and expect to be kept informed by them of what they are doing. (Don’t send them a form email. They are going to ignore that. Adapt the suggested message here if you like. ) Thentell Climate Emergency Manchester that you’ve lobbied your councillors. Tell them what responses you do (or don’t) get from those councillors. They have a list of all the councillors who have supported/responded.
GET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO LOBBY THEIR COUNCILLORS ABOUT THIS MOTION. Ask them to tell Climate Emergency Manchester the outcome.
Finally, realise that this (“saving the world” or “prolonging the death spasms of the spcies” – take your pick) is a marathon not a sprint, and that unless we (you, me, the social movement “organisations”) behave differently, then it is extremely likely that any set of promises made by Manchester City Council and comparable bodies will, in five years time, be mostly forgotten, mostly undelivered, thanks to bureaucratic incompetence, inertia, the political circus moving on etc. Excuses will be made, scapegoats found. Second time farce and all that.
So, behaving differently means this.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR FINITE TIME, ENERGY, PASSION AND SKILLS WITH ANY ORGANISATION THAT DOES NOT HAVE A VIABLE AND VISIBLE PLAN FOR USING YOUR TIME, ENERGY, PASSION AND SKILLS, AND FOR HARNESSING THE TIME, ENERGY, PASSION AND SKILLS OF PEOPLE WHO CANNOT COME TO MEETINGS.
Fwiw, Climate Emergency Manchester (and, yes, I am co-founder) wants your time, your skills, your knowledge, your passion. Right now the main goal is to get four thousand signatures on a petition. But last month CEM folks attended the Council’s Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee. This coming Wednesday 17th July it will be back again. All welcome to come to the pre-meeting at the Waterhouse (the Wetherspoons pub on Princes St) from 1pm.
Climate Emergency Manchester is doing – and will do more – meetings in wards beyond the usual suspects. It wants coders, journalists, video-makers, thinkers, doers, you name it. It promises not to waste your time. It promises to help you learn new skills, make new connections. Its contact form is here.
Okay, rant over. Also, carpe those diems.