Guest post “Climate change – the meat of the problem”

This is a guest post from the Vegan Society.  For disclaimers, explanations, see below. 

Readers of Manchester Climate Monthly will no doubt be aware that not everyone is as engaged with the issues around climate change as we are. Indeed, it can sometimes feel like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall, or at the very least taking two steps forward and one step back – for every Paris Climate Accord there is a perma-tan President waiting to withdraw from the process. Yet we continue to push for action, at an international, national and personal level, because we know the stakes are so high. But what if it turns out we’re ignoring a huge part of the problem?

Having worked in what you’d broadly call the field of “sustainability” for the past twelve years, I’ve seen a range of issues come in and out of focus, along with an assortment of “magic bullet” solutions that were going to revolutionise how we tackled climate change. Indeed, it can sometimes be a bit like Groundhog Day watching ideas rise like fireworks only to come crashing down just as quickly. In 2005, when I headed up the launch of the Observer Ethical Awards, the big game in town was carbon offsetting, which was seen as a gold standard for environmental responsibility. I imagine if I suggested something similar now there would be raised eyebrows all round. And so the arguments raged on, many light bulbs were changed to LEDs and many loads of laundry were washed with Ecover, and yet still somehow the looming climate crisis stubbornly failed to be averted.

During my time as national coordinator for the Wales Green Party, I moved from a business to business role to a public-facing one, and if anything the view from the ground was even more depressing than it was at a corporate level. A brave band of committed activists were prepared to do their best to get the message out there, but ultimately the problems on the doorstep were a world away from the issues that we all knew were the real threat. We were selling a message of environmental hope for the future, but what people wanted to talk about were school places, local hospitals and jobs for the next generation.  Those are natural, genuine and very real concerns to have, and no amount of gentle environmental messaging changed the priorities.

It was only when I joined The Vegan Society as Head of Campaigns and Policy in 2016 that I realised that the answer had been – quite literally – handed to me on a plate. As a vegetarian for all my adult life, and later as a convert to the vegan cause, I had always associated my choices with compassion – animals had the right to live out their lives without fear of exploitation or slaughter. Yet as I looked at the stats, I realised that the same compassion also applied to the human cost of the environmental issues we now face. The facts are startling, and speak for themselves (references available on


  • Animal agriculture accounts for up to half of our food related carbon emissions
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.
  • The global livestock industry generates as much greenhouse gases as all transport combined.
  • Growing vegan food uses 50% less land than animal agriculture.
  • Going vegan reduces global warming as much as cutting travel in private vehicles by 75%.

So if animal agriculture is so damaging for our planet, why don’t we hear more about it? It is not an original thought to question why so little of the climate campaigning undertaken by NGOs, charities and governments focusses on diet – many of you will have watched the excellent “Cowspiracy” on Netflix. But the arguments stand repeating. If we are asking corporations to change course, asking governments to change policy, and asking people across the country to change their lifestyles, we have to recognise that we as environmentalists have to take the first step at a personal level. I do not believe it is possible to be a committed environmentalist while still propping up the meat and dairy industry, it’s as simple as that. At the same time, going vegan can seem like a daunting prospect for those not in the know, and any kind of behaviour change is usually easier with a carrot than a stick.

That’s why we’re launching the biggest campaign in The Vegan Society’s history at the end of this month. “Plate up for the Planet” will challenge people up and down the UK to try a vegan diet for seven days. We’ll send them recipe ideas, hints and tips, as well as a greenhouse gas comparison for alternative dietary options to show just what a positive effect they are having on their own carbon footprint. At the end of the seven days we hope many of them will go on to continue eating a delicious, low carbon vegan diet. We’re delighted to already have support from environmental luminaries such as Caroline Lucas MP, star of TV’s “Tribe” Bruce Parry, and Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit, and we’ll be popping up at festivals throughout the summer from Camp Bestival to Green Gathering to spread the word.

I hope you will join us. We know that as a fellow reader of Manchester Climate Monthly you already care about the environment. One of the most significant things that you as an individual can do to help avert the climate crisis we all face is to move away from a diet based on animal agriculture. Sign up at and help us Plate up for the Planet!

Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns & Policy


That disclaimer –  MCFly gets a surprising number of offers of ‘free’ material, which is basically advertorial for various sites of various provenance.  I’ve always said nope, but I reckon the Vegan Society is pretty okay.

That disclosure, not that anyone cares:  I am all over the place food wise – will eat kangaroo for the lulz, fish for the protein.  Have mostly eliminated dairy except for the cheese on my pizzas.  Ergo, am not trying to claim any moral authority.

And that apology – I agreed to put this up a while back, and it got lost in the thesis-based shuffle.,

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Upcoming event: Deyika Nzeribe lecture, #Manchester 9 August.

Deyika Nzeribe, as anyone lucky enough to have encountered him, was a very special person.  At the time of his untimely death, he was the Green Party’s candidate for Mayor of Manchester.  On Wednesday 9th, a memorial lecture will be held.  If it is anything like Deyika, it will be lively, funny, thought-provoking and inspiring.  Get there if you can.



Register here

We celebrate the life of powerful community activist, Deyika Nzeribe, with a Memorial Lecture to champion the causes and further the activisms he fought for. We are delighted to be joined by Dr. Leon Sealey-Huggins – of Warwick University – presenting: “To Stay Alive: Caribbean Climate Change & The Black British Community”.

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Upcoming event: Partisans opening 28 July #Manchester

partisans opening\

Partisan Collective

19 Cheetham Hill Road, M4 4FY Manchester, United Kingdom
July 28-30th.
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Upcoming Event: GMCVO and SUD, #Manchester 1st August

GMCVO is hosting an event to support the announcement of the Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) call in Greater Manchester as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme.

Event details:

Date: Tuesday 1st August 2017
Time: 09:30 – 12:30
Venue: Conference Hall, St.Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ

The event will:

  • introduce VCSE organisations to the SUD call;
  • review the key elements of the programme and key considerations for applicants;
  • link to initial project proposals and how SUD fits with wider Greater Manchester initiatives.

Speakers from GM Combined Authority will be in attedendance and taking your questions about SUD and opportunities for VCSE organisations to contribute towards projects.

Also, the event will be an opportunity for attendees to review existing SUD proposals and explore ways to contribute to existing ideas and build their own proposals for consideration.

This call should be of particular interest to organisations that work in the following environments and sectors:

Community buildings and spaces / Energy generation and or storage / residential buildings / social landlords / construction (to name a few).

If you are interested in the event we advise that you review announcements that GMCVO have made about SUD so that you can make the most out of the sessions on 01/08/17:


If you have any questions about the SUD call or our event to support the announcement of SUD please contact Louis Brooks ( / 0161 277 1032).

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Job Alert: Anthesis marketing manager

from here
Position: Marketing Manager, UK
Location: Manchester / Macclesfield / North West
Practice area: Marketing
Role: Full Time


Summary of Role and Responsibilities

The Marketing Manager position will have a varied role with plenty to excite and challenge. You will take an active role in supporting the delivery of marketing activity across the company, reporting to Anthesis Global Head of Marketing. Work will involve supporting the development of content, implementation of marketing campaigns, implementing marketing strategies, coordinating the dissemination of press releases and related materials to press and media contacts and supporting web and social media outreach. The job is full of variety, and you will need to be able to turn your hand to a range of tasks across many jurisdictions.

Key Responsibilities

  • Support the execution of the company’s marketing strategy, responding to Global Head of Marketing’s requirements and working with Business Development (BD) teams and regional management teams in the global business
  • Work with the business to develop and execute on content
  • Support sales-orientated promotional campaigns
  • Support in the management of company social media channels, measure and record impact
  • Support in the management of the company website through creating high quality content and management of the CMS
  • Support the release of PR and related content
  • Attend and support networking events
  • Support the preparation of bids
  • Support client projects where there is a requirement for marketing/comms input.

Essential Skills

  • Understanding and experience in the use of a range of marketing techniques and concepts
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with copywriting experience and strong attention to detail
  • Graphics and infographics production skills and experience of using software packages such as InDesign
  • An understanding of website content management systems and how to post and manage content on a daily basis
  • Organised and methodical, with the ability to work with the Head of Marketing to prioritise tasks and assignments
  • Able to support co-creation and briefings to artwork and related designers and software/web design engineers
  • Proactive with the ability and confidence to use initiative
  • Effective and efficient time management and organisational skills
  • Ability to respond positively to pressure and take a flexible approach to a dynamic, fast moving and changing work environment
  • Work well with a wide range of people on a global basis

You are likely to have at least 3 years of experience in a marketing role in a B2B environment, knowledge and or experience about the sustainability sector is not a prerequisite but would be helpful.

To apply please submit your CV and a covering letter to


Position: Python / Django developer
Location: One of our key “hubs” Oxford, London, Manchester or Bristol
Practice area: Software


Summary of role: Anthesis, a fast-growing sustainability and technology consultancy, is looking for a skilled Python / Django developer to join our UK software team (in), working on ground-breaking software based on scalable, open source technology for a range of interesting clients.

Your technical skills

  • Degree-educated (computing, mathematics, engineering or physical sciences preferred) or equivalent experience
  • Strong Python / Django skills
  • Familiarity with SQL databases, particularly MySQL and PostgreSQL
  • Experience with version control systems (ideally with git)
  • Good knowledge of web development basics: HTML, CSS, accessibility, responsive design
  • JavaScript (experience with frameworks like Angular.js or React.js helpful)
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a distributed team


  • GNU/Linux systems administration
  • PHP / Moodle development skills
  • Familiarity with numerical analysis/data modelling
  • User interface & user experience design skills
  • Experience working in the environmental sustainability sector
  • Understanding of Agile project management

Your personal attributes

  • Passion for and commitment to improving sustainability
  • Innovative and creative thinking
  • Self-motivation and confidence
  • Attention to quality and detail
  • Organisation and efficiency
  • Good spoken and written communication
  • Proven ability to perform well in dynamic situations

Responsibilities include

Design & implementation:

  • Support analysts and project directors in translating client requirements into clear and concise functional, user and technical specifications for new software
  • Plan and execute delivery of bespoke software, keeping project managers and directors well-informed about project progress
  • Maintain high quality documentation systems covering all aspects of the software development and maintenance

Product and service development:

  • Apply previous experience and/or creative thinking to add value to the new product development process
  • Help create dynamic products with exceptional intuitiveness and ease of use

Team support:

  • Support the Team Leader and Directors as required in the effective delivery of the overall Anthesis strategy
  • Play a full part in the Anthesis team including supporting colleagues in all areas of the business

To apply please submit your CV and a covering letter to All applications must address the above listed skills and experience requirements. Successful applicants will be invited to interview at our Oxford or London offices.

Anthesis is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. No recruitment agencies, please.

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Job Alert: Community Energy Manager for Electricity Northwest deadline 7 July.

From here

Community Energy Manager

Tracking Code
Job Description
There are many challenges ahead for the energy industry, so a vital part of our job at Electricity North West is planning for tomorrow. We’re always developing new ways to adapt to the changing world and deliver a brighter, more sustainable future. This includes ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills required to maintain and evolve our networks into the future.


An exciting new opportunity has arisen for a Community Energy Manager to join Electricity North West’s Central Services team focusing on leading stakeholder engagement for community energy activities and being responsible for representing the company on national development bodies.


Community Energy is a rapidly developing area where customers collaborate at a local level to share energy resources, collectively procure and sell energy and act as market participants. As our customers begin to adopt similar approaches, we need to proactively engage with local groups to offer a variety of technical and commercial support services.


Please email for a full role profile


As the Community Energy Manager you will be accountable for the cross business development and delivery of first class customer service in the provision of service to community and local energy groups. In addition, you will lead the businesses engagement with community and local energy organisations to meet the particular needs of the stakeholder community.


In return we will offer you a competitive starting salary per annum, company car or cash allowance and a competitive benefits package including; bonus earning potential of up to 10.5% of your base salary, 25 days holiday plus bank holidays, membership of a defined contributions pension scheme with company contributions of up to 14% of base salary, private healthcare membership and a range of flexible benefits.


Principal Accountabilities:


  • Maintain and support the standards of Health and Safety as agreed across ENWL;
  • Delivering a Community and Local Energy Strategy which outlines an effective delivery model and processes that provide a customer focussed experience for all community energy groups;
  • Respond to community / localised energy generation and distribution interest groups and act as single point of contact for the Electricity North West business;
  • Accountable for the delivery of customer service standards and drive continuous improvement to exceed the customers’ expectations;
  • Accountable for driving improvements in the speed of service by seeking out opportunities to simplify existing processes and working practices;
  • Ensure our services and charges are easy to understand and accessible to community and local energy customers through their preferred channels;
  • Ensure communicating the importance of data quality and compliance to the wider team.


You will also:


  • Be educated to degree level (desirable)
  • Have proven experience of stakeholder engagement ideally within the energy sector;
  • Excel in all communication channels that are easily accessible to customers;
  • Have experience of improving customer satisfaction and managing expectations;
  • Be proficient in IT including Microsoft Office including Excel, Word and PowerPoint


This appointment will be on standard Electricity North West terms and conditions of employment.


The closing date for submission of an application is Friday 7 July 2017; however we reserve the right to close this vacancy early.


As part of the Recruitment & Selection process Electricity North West carries out pre-employment screening to aid in the assessment and overall suitability of an individual to perform a role. If offered a conditional offer of employment you will be required to provide us with additional information to allow us to perform checks in line with our policy.

Required Experience


Job Location
Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Position Type
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#goodnews – Dragons! (Is winter coming?)

So, gonna start printing occasional bits of good news, to offset the horror that is the continuing and escalating incompetence and delusion that is Manchester climate tosh…

The first bit is a press release that got sent a couple of weeks ago, about a dragonfly reintroduction scheme…


Home Sweet Home for White-faced Darter

White-faced Darter - Kevin Reynolds

There is excitement at Cheshire Wildlife Trust as they have just seen what they believe to be their first ‘true Delamere’ white-faced darters emerge.

Chris Meredith, Delamere Conservation Officer at Cheshire Wildlife Trust explained the importance of this year’s survey results. “Sightings this year are really significant. We know that we have had white-faced darters successfully emerge from our work introducing mature larvae to the site, but this is the first year where we have not introduced new larvae to the pool. This means the adults that are emerging this month are either from larvae that were at an earlier stage and have therefore survived for a longer period or are in fact the result of adults breeding successfully at our site.”

Over the last few years an ambitious programme has been underway to re-introduce this rare species to Delamere Forest. The return of the dragonflies comes after several years of dedicated work to reinstate and improve lost habitats at the well-known forest in partnership with the Forestry Commission, along with a carefully planned series of white-faced darter translocations.

As one of the UK’s rarest dragonflies, the white-faced darter had been absent from Cheshire for over a decade and are only found at a handful of locations in England. The project began in 2013 and involved collecting the tiny vibrant green larvae from healthy populations at the Natural England National Nature Reserve sites of Fenn’s and Whixall Moss in Shropshire and Chartley Moss in Staffordshire.

The larvae of these small blood-red and black insects, a specialist of lowland peatbogs, were introduced to a mossland pool, in Delamere Forest. Studies confirmed the pool had suitable water quality and vegetation to support this species with its submerged sphagnum moss for the nymphs to hide and prosper and the common cotton-grass and soft rush to provide the ideal ladder for emergence.

“We are thrilled with the results of the project so far and although still early days we are very happy that the restoration work started by the Forestry Commission in the 1990s has improved habitats so that they are once again capable of supporting a wide range of species, including the rare white faced darter” Adrienne Bennett, Ecologist at the Forestry Commission stated.

The nymphs of the white-faced darter develop and feed underwater for at least two years before emerging, and taking to the wing to find a mate and breed so the Trust will have to wait a little longer to find out whether Delamere once again has its own self-sustaining population of white-faced darters. The pool will continue to be monitored regularly through tracking flying adults and also by counting the empty larval cases the dragonflies leave behind on vegetation when emerging from the water.

The white-faced darter reintroduction project is a partnership between Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, the British Dragonfly Society and Cheshire West and Chester Council, with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Linley Shaw Foundation.

Connecting corridors have been cleared between mossland sites in Delamere Forest to encourage specialist species, including the white-faced darter, to move around the forest. The long-term hope is that the series of mossland pools that are being restored as part of Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s and the Forestry Commission’s WREN FCC Biodiversity Action Fund funded Delamere’s Lost Mosses Project will encourage this species to expand. “The creation of several breeding populations is important for the long term sustainability of the white-faced darter in Delamere Forest as their breeding pools will change over time,” explained Chris Meredith.

The conservation work undertaken in Delamere is currently a short-listed finalist in the CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) Large Scale Conservation Best Practice Awards. The winner will be announced on 21st June.

A dragonfly re-introduction scheme has only been attempted once before in the UK.

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