This page (which will develop over time – be patient!) is going to be a glossary of terms we use for talking about the whys and hows of Manchester and climate (in)action

Activists and campaigners
People who try to get local/national government and/or corporations to change their behaviour. Usually without any reflection on how the activist/campaigning group is itself in desperate need of behaviour change. Oh, the irony…

“(Definition from IPCC)”

Adaptive Leadership
“Adaptive Leadership is “a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of adaptation. It is about diagnosing the essential from the expendable and bringing about a real challenge to the status quo.”
Adaptive Leadership will require openness, transparency, iterative learning, trust-building etc etc PR spin and automatic assumptions of secrecy are the enemy of adaptive leadership.

Agentic Deadlock
Daniel Hausknost’s term for why Nothing Ever Changes.
Youtube video here.

Carbon Economy

Spatial Fix

David Harvey’s term for a solution (fix) to getting footloose capital to stick around

Death by Powerpoint
Presentations that go on with endless slides and graphs and acres of small-print.

Demonstration (as distinct from protest)
A demonstration is what happens when a social movement demonstrates its strength in being able to veto something/raise the cost of doing something to the powers-that-be. Or they demonstrate a different/saner way of doing things. Protests are demonstrations that fail – for lack of numbers, imagination etc. Most marches and camps are protests, not demonstrations. Sad, but true.


Folks who don’t accept the overwhelming scientific evidence (link to BEST etc) that the planet is warming. Folks who do not have an explanation for why the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the last two hundred years should not have an impact on surface temperatures.

people with (non-metaphorical) dirt under their fingernails. Usually people who never saw the point in protesting, but instead just get on with doing stuff. Or else kicked themselves out of the smugosphere.

Ecological Modernisation

The fairy-tale belief that with a bit more “efficiency” and a bit more techno-wizadry we can continue to treat very finite resources and “services” offered by the planet as if they were infinite. We laugh at people who believe in the Tooth Fairy, but not in those who subscribe to Ecological Modernisation. Go Figure…

The audience at any public event (big or small) which has not been structured by the organisers to provoke the highest possible amount of participation, engagement and mingling.

Event Reports
MCFly will try (and often fail) to report on events and meetings in Greater Manchester in a timely fashion, with clarity as to what happened, what went well, what could have gone better. If our reporter has a personal interest to declare (e.g. membership of the host organisation), this will be clearly indicated under her or his signature. We are immune to emotional blackmail to be “upbeat,” so don’t waste your breath.

Global Warming versus Climate Change
excellent explanation from the NASA website

Greenhouse Gases
The gases released by natural and human activities that are causing an increase in the thickness of the “atmospheric blanket” trapping heat, and warming t’planet.

Jevons Paradox
Why “efficiency” does NOT lead to decreased consumption
see youtube here

Legitimate Peripheral Participation
Ability of busy people to be involved in – and be recognised to be involved in – the work of a group, without giving up all their free time to become involved in a clique

Action taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (via lowering energy demand via insulation, behaviour change, or switching to low-carbon energy sources such as wind, solar, etc)

Something that someone, somewhere, doesn’t want you to know.

Problem-Solution Ratio
The ratio of time and energy spent on explaining (and complaining) about the nature and causes of a problem versus possible practical solutions/counter-measures.

Puff Pieces
Stories that are not news, but based on press releases and publicity. Although “puff pieces” has a pejorative sound to it, we can’t think of anything better… Puff pieces will be tagged as such, to distinguish them from “news.”

Reflective practice
Thinking about what you’re doing – is it working, is there a better way of doing things? Will there need to be a different way of doing things in the future?

How long have you got? Resilience in the narrow sense is being able to bounce back quickly and ‘surely’ to a pre-existing way of doing things. Yes, but what if that pre-existing way of doing things is a big part of the problem in itself, eh?!

“Sage on the Stage”
An intelligent person and/or acknowledged “expert” or “star” who stands at the front of a room full of people and expounds his (usually his, sometimes her) beliefs at great length, and then engages in a “Question and Answer” session

Social learning
Social learning is learning that takes place at a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interaction between peers. It may or may not lead to a change in attitudes and behaviour. More specifically, to be considered social learning, a process must: (1) demonstrate that a change in understanding has taken place in the individuals involved; (2) demonstrate that this change goes beyond the individual and becomes situated within wider social units or communities of practice; and (3) occur through social interactions and processes between actors within a social network (Reed et al., 2010).

Social movement
“The environmental movement is simply a particular example of a social movement, and Italian sociologists Mario Diani and Elisa Rambaldo tell us that a social movement has three distinctive elements:
· dense networks of informal exchanges between individuals and/ or organisations;
· shared collective identities; and
· conflict with opponents.”

The Smugosphere is not a place you’ll find on a map. It’s a state of mind: it’s the place where deeds are done not so much because they might actually have a positive effect on the world but because they will raise the status or self-esteem of the person/group doing them.

Sustainability Fix
Aidan While et al’s term for a green spatial fix
See youtube video here.

Territorialisation of Carbon Governance
Think global, produce glossy reports about how you will, economic conditions permitting, do something locally…
More helpfully, here’s the wikipedia page

Urban Entrepreneurialism
Google search
From “The Dictionary of Human Geography” by Ronald John Johnson


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