Action 01 – Carbon Literacy for councillors

funfactcarbonliteracy-page001What we working for:

Getting all 96 councillors to have undertaken a day’s “carbon literacy” by the end of 2014, got the certificate/the t-shirt etc.

It would also be entertaining to learn which members of the Strategic Management Team have in fact gone and got their carbon literacy sorted…

Why it matters (what it could lead on to, what consequences if action stalls):
It means we can then –

Get those councillors who want to go on and get some as-yet-hypothetical “qualification” (“carbon capability”?) in 2015.
The council can then put pressure on other partners to make sure that they ensure their staff etc are “carbon literature”

“Failure” means we would –
Lack credibility. But not as much as the Council itself…

Specific actions you can take in the run up to the Executive Meeting on Weds 12th February:
Besides the general request that you sign the open letter, and circulate to friends and family, asking them to sign, here’s some specifics;

Simple and Quick

Ask the favourite of  your three councillors if they are carbon literate (they probably aren’t) and when they intend to get around to it.

Tweet them about it too.  Remember #mcrclimateplan…

Simple and Long

Ask your three councillors if they are carbon literate (they probably aren’t) and when they intend to get around to it. Tell us what they say. Don’t be fobbed off!

Read our proposed implementation plan/ideas. Critique them, add to them.

Complex and Quick

Suggest ways that we can encourage the councillors to get around to it, and to use the fact that they are doing it to get OTHER “prominent” people doing it.

Complex and Long

Look into “carbon capability” as the logical next step (and goal for 2015/6!). What is it? Join us in planning to make it happen.


Some of the things we could/should do when the Council says “no, and go away you noxious little oiks” or “hmm, interesting idea, let’s look into it further” or even “yes, we’ll do that.”

Make a spreadsheet of who is and isn’t carbon literate.
Get the Executive Members to declare when they intend to do carbon literacy.

Get the chairs of all committees (scrutiny and otherwise) to declare when they intend to do it.
Get all members of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee to declare when they intend to do it.
Plug all that into the spreadsheet, then keep tabs on them, ticking them off when they do it.
Get all candidates for council posts to declare if they are “carbon literate” and if not, when they intend to become so.
Regular letters to the press/social media campaigns about who is and isn’t carbon literate, how many councillors have done it.

What skills are needed/will be learnt
Project management (practitioner/expert)
Lobbying (practitioner/expert)
Database management (practitioner)
Freedom of Information Act Requests (practitioner)
Social media (any of them!)

What the success milestones might be:
90 in 11 months. But nowt happens in August, and not much in December. So you’re really looking at 10 per month. Given that it will be mid-February etc, you’re looking at 12 per month.

Which means by the Council elections there should be approximately 42 “carbon literate” councillors. Yeah, right.
Say 64 by mid- September

How about – getting them to do them in a venue in their wards, inviting constituents to join them? Could have interesting conversations about the usefulness of ward plans etc…

Risks – done as big “job lots,” with councillors merely turning up, facebooking all day and then getting the certificate at the end.

A year down the line, when we have “won” on this action, the next goal would be
Getting twenty councillors more tooled up – an in-depth awareness of local, national and international climate policies, the ins and outs of institutional responses, of mitigation and adaptation, and what the opportunities are in Manchester. It would be interesting to know who was both willing and able to organise that.

Other background:
carbon capability


Likely objections (and counter-arguments)

This is too ambitious/councillors very busy.” So, the MACF document is to be ignored, then?

Carbon literacy” isn’t the only way to show you know/care about climate change. Indeed, but it’s a certificate that the Glorious Leader has been very proud of.

Obstacles in the way (beyond the standard human foibles of apathy, inertia, stupidity, vested interests, “it wasn’t my idea,” “go away you poisonous little oik” etc etc)

Erm, cultural ones, rather than economic. Which is often more frustrating, for weird (well, understandably liberal) reasons…

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