So, I read a fantastic book called “The Mushroom at the End of the World” by the anthropologist Anna Tsing.  Defo worth your time.  And then this invite, from a climate-engaged artist, turMycorrhizal-Gathering-eflyerned up…



Knowledge exchange for the fungally inclined.

Saturday 24th November, 10:30-5.30

Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester M15 4GB, then moving to Hulme Community Garden Centre, 28 Old Birley Street, Manchester M15 5RF
The event is part of the exhibition The Ground Beneath Your Feet (16th Nov to 3rd February; preview 15th Nov, 6-8 pm)

Cost: £9.60 incl fees and VAT; includes an oyster mushroom growbag for each participant.

For lunch, please bring something to bring and share. If this isn’t practical, there is a very reasonably-priced cafe on site.

The venues are wheelchair accessible and just under a mile apart.

This gathering brings together artists, mycologists, activists, growers, and others interested in fungi for an exchange of practical knowledge and connective ideas. It is especially aimed at those who might be interested in starting a UK node of the ‘Radical Mycology’ network.

Radical Mycology https://radicalmycology.com/ is a grassroots movement and social philosophy based on teaching the importance of working with mushrooms and other fungi for personal, societal, and ecological resilience. It differs from classical mycology in that, rather than focusing on taxonomy, identification, study and mycophagy (eating mushrooms)Radical Mycology works to build relationships between humans and fungi for the benefit of largercommunities and the wider world. At its core is the idea that the highly resilient lifecycles of fungi and their interactions in nature serve as powerful learning tools for how humans can best relate to each other and the world we live in.

Classic examples of resilient systems in nature are the mycorrhizal (fungus-root) mutual aid associations that 95% of plants form with subsoil fungi, in whichthe plants exchange starches for water, minerals and other benefits such as deterring predators, breaking down rock into soil and filtering out heavy metals. The fossil record indicates that mycorrhizal fungi were key to the transition of plants from water to land 400 million years ago. In nature, it is survival of the most co-operative as much as it survival of the fittest (and don’t let Jordan Peterson tell you otherwise). Studying the interdependence of plants and fungi provides a useful counter to the neoliberal paradigm which claims that it is “natural” for individuals to act as rational agents motivated only by self-interest.

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Food Hub with focus on Community, Good Health & Sustainable Food receives 5 years funding grant. #Manchester

A press release, sent by Kindling Trust:

image1 reduced size.jpgOn a beautiful, sunny, Autumnal Saturday morning, over 200 local residents, local councillors, senior council officers and funders came together to celebrate the launch of Stockport’s Community Food Hub.

Funding from Reaching Communities, Postcode Local Trust (supported by players and Awards for All, totalling just under £1/2 million, will support the development of this sustainable food and community hub for the next five years.

Helen Woodcock, founder of the Kindling Trust, the organisation that secured the funding and is co-ordinating the development of the hub said “This funding means an exciting future for the old council plant nursery at Woodbank Memorial Park. We had a really warm welcome from the local community when we took on this site and the support and enthusiasm just keeps on growing. Over the next 5 years we will together transform Woodbank into a regional leader in social prescribing, urban food production, horticulture training and long term solutions to food poverty”.

Funding will equip the hub to confront a wide range of challenges – from food-related illness and food poverty to loneliness; from an ageing farming population and unemployment, to soil erosion and climate change. It is about taking the root cause of these seemingly disparate issues and turning it into a solution for them all; building healthier, happier, more resilient communities through good food.

Saturday’s event used food both to celebrate the funding success and to engage more people, asking how they want the community food hub to develop over the next 5 years. The day included pumpkin carving and souping, apple pressing, chutneys made from the produce grown on site, tours of the gardens, soup, bee keeping and a big thank you made out of vegetables!

Corrina Low (Community Engagement Co-ordinator) said ” Our oldest member Sid (91 years young) and youngest, Elliot (about to celebrate his 1st birthday) lead the celebration with the planting of an apple tree. This symbolises our confidence in the future of our Food Hub to deliver meaningful solutions for generations to come and offers hope in a world with so many competing challenges

Sid talks very openly and movingly of how he felt when his wife died and the role of the hub in bringing some cheer back into his life. For many it is a place where not only can you learn about and experience the joys of growing, cooking and eating healthy fresh and truly local food, but where you can find community. If you’re really lucky you might get a little song from Sid and cheering smile from Elliot.

Posted in Campaign Update, Food, Good News, press release journalism | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seminar: “Ethics and Intergenerational #Climate Extortion” #Manchester, Weds 7 November 

The speaker for the  Philosophy Research Seminar on Wed. 7th Nov.  will be  Prof. Stephen Gardiner (University of Washington). The title of his talk is  “Ethics and Intergenerational Climate Extortion.”

stephengardiner The seminar will take place in Arthur Lewis Building, Boardroom  (ALB 2.016/7) from 3.15 to 5 pm.

Prof. Gardiner’s website:


Ethics and Intergenerational Climate Extortion 

 This paper argues (i) that extortion is a clear threat in intergenerational relations, (ii) that the threat is manifest in some existing proposals in climate policy, and (iii) that it is latent in some background tendencies in mainstream moral and political philosophy. It focuses on some troubling undercurrents to recent arguments in climate policy and climate ethics for “making the grandchildren pay” for climate action. It also makes the case that intergenerational extortion raises issues about the appropriate limits to the sway of central values such as welfare and distributive justice.


Posted in University of Manchester, Upcoming Events | 1 Comment

QUIZ: Can you stop #climate change with small lifestyle changes or should you fill your pockets with stones and walk into the river?

The Beaverton, a trusted Canadian news source, has a useful quiz about all the ecological modernisation tosh that you can hear about tomorrow night at some shop, versus, well, the Virginia Woolf Option. (h/t to Sam G!)

You’ve seen the bone-chilling report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on , and boy oh boy, them bones them bones them chilled bones! So what should you do? The internet seems to think that small, incremental lifestyle changes might help turn the tides of human-driven destruction of our planet. But on the other hand, the is just around the bend, and those smooth stones would weigh you down so perfectly as you shuffled off this mortal coil. Go green? Or go bloated blue? Let’s find out!

1. Do you need meat at every meal?
Nope! I’m happy to reduce my meat consumption, trying out options like meatless mondays or seasonal, plant-based meals. Even just cutting down on beef can be a huge help in reducing my emissions. Sustainability can be yummy!
I don’t need meat at every meal, but I want it. And if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, I am a greedy, selfish, little person who is desperately seeking some shred of comfort in the unforgiving machinery of capitalism. I know what I do is bad, but what models for good do I have in my life? CEOs? Presidents? Only the soft gurgle of the river promises me any release from this troubled world.
2. What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a Toyota Prius. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step towards reducing my carbon emissions. Plus, it’s got absolutely fabulous trunk space!
 I take the fucking bus. It’s green as hell, but no amount of overcrowded public transportation on my way to work can change my complacency in the mechanisms of corporate greed. In my fantasies I smash those mechanisms with stones, but in reality I know my only option is to weigh my beige slacks down with those very stones and let the river wash away my guilt.
3. Have you considered energy efficient appliances?
I just recently upgraded to a smart thermostat (the future is now!), and I’m saving up to get a more efficient A/C next summer. Plus, my new LED lights make for great party lights when I have people over for green drinks!
I have considered many things. But the best choice always seems to be to fill my pockets with stones and walk into the river.
4. Would you rather do a cottage vacation or a European getaway?
I love Europe, but I’ve come to understand that transatlantic flying make mother earth feel super sad. So I’ve changed my habits and have come to enjoy local vacations more. Cottage getaways! A bus down to Montreal or NYC! Or even a fun staycation at an Airbnb in the funky Kensington Market area!
This morning I had to sit in on a video meeting with the CFO of our company while he flew on a private jet to Hawaii for a game of golf. He complained about how it was his third flight this week, and how he was so tired of the filet mignon they serve on board. Beneath his entitled, petty voice, I kept hearing the sound of the river. She calls to me.
5. What do you think about the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?
I’ve been working on buying fewer things and consuming less in general. Wherever possible I reuse and recycle things. In general, everything I buy I try to find the lowest carbon option: clothes, food, energy. Oh, and I have just the cutest reusable tote bags for shopping at Whole Foods!
A Carbon Majors Report shows that just 100 companies have been the source of 71% of carbon emissions since 1988. What the fuck do my inconsequential little choices have to do with numbers of that dizzying size? The illusion of individual choice and individual guilt obscures the grim reality of capitalism. I know that three Rs won’t change a goddamn thing for those 100 fossil fuel producers polluting our earth. But one R might make all the difference to me: River.
Posted in humour, Unsolicited advice | Leave a comment

DeSmogUK – worth your support

So, MCFly subscribes to a rather excellent news outfit called “DeSmogUK” – lots of good investigative journalism on the frackers, the deniers and so forth…  Here’s their latest newsletter…

Thursday 25 October 2018

This week, we’ve been focusing on the investigation into allegations that the judge who handed three fracking protesters “manifestly excessive” jail sentences has family ties to the oil and gas industry.

Under the Judicial Code of Conduct, judges are expected to disclose personal relationships, social contacts and activities that could cause a bias or a conflict of interest and which put their impartiality into question. Our reporter Chloe Farand has the full story here.

We also reported on the big news that Shell is ending its corporate partnership with the National Gallery after a decade, as the credibility drains out of the Big Oil sponsorship sham. Our editor Mat Hope has the full story here.

This is an issue we’ve been reporting on for several years – and it’s the sort of story we’d like to continue to expose.

But we need your help.

We’ve got ten days left of our crowd fund appeal and we need your help to reach our target of £20,000.

Have you given yet? Have you shared the link yet?

If not, PLEASE donate to our crowdfunding campaign.

Be a FRIEND for just £10

Be a SUPPORTER for £25

Be a SPONSOR for £50

Or why not be a CHAMPION for £100

Any amount small (or large!) is welcome.

We are at a critical time in our history and we need your support to fight back against those who are fuelling climate breakdown.

Thank you.

We’re always looking for feedback on our newsletter and stories. If you’ve got something you’d like to share, please do get in touch with editor@desmog.uk

Posted in Campaign Update | Leave a comment

Groundhog Day again: Greater #Manchester #climate working groups “Five Year Plans” etc

After last week’s soul-destroying powerpoint, MCFly gets sight of an email from the “Low Carbon Hub” (which used to be called the “Environment Commission” – almost ten years ago Manchester Climate Fortnightly was reporting on its uselessness).

The email (you can see the whole thing at the end of this blog post) invites people to take part in working groups which will produce draft plans which will….

Oh, come on, we all know the score by now.  Five Year Plans (I kid you not).  As someone said on seeing this

Same old, same old – with Slack thrown in for extra collaborative effect! Now with an online discussion forum, people can share ideas about movement towards a plan building on the new strategy not only face to face and in vacuous documents like this, but also digitally! Brilliant!

There are two basic questions that the people behind this latest farcical offering won’t answer

a)  Doesn’t this imply that, um,  You. Haven’t. Actually. Been. Doing. Anything. For. The. Last. Ten. Years?

b) How come you’ve not contacted the people who attended this year’s Mayor’s Green Vomit, sorry, Summit, to invite them to participate?  Because other people besides me (I’m on your blacklist, for unfathomable reasons), who did get to go, have heard diddly-squat from you lot.

If this were not so tragically serious, it would actually be funny.  Still, it keeps some middle-class activists calm, and keeps some academics in REF-able ‘activity’ (as opposed to, you know, action).  Meanwhile – and this is not hyperbole – we enter the last decade in which we even have a snowball’s chance of pretending to prepare for the (now almost certainly unavoidable) cataclysm.  But our powerpoints and five year plans will protect us. Oh yes.

Here’s that email. Read it and weep.


Sent: 03 October 2018 13:32
To: GMCA-LCH <LCH@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk>
Subject: Green Summit – Working Group Invitation


A few weeks ago, the Greater Manchester’s Springboard to a Green City Region report was published. This report summarised the feedback and learning from the 2018 Green Summit as well as feedback from listening events, and it sets out the first steps we are taking this year.

One of those steps was to establish online working groups that will help develop detailed delivery and investment proposals focusing on key actions that should be taken forward in the near term. These online working groups, along with other key actions highlighted at the 2018 Green Summit, will come together into a 5-year plan. 

We are currently planning three working groups – with a focus on Energy, Buildings and Sustainable Consumption and Production (Incl Circ Econom, food etc) Green Summit actions that need evidencing.   This work will build upon the evidence gathered from the Green Summit. We are proposing that each working group will help us to focus on developing a few business cases based on the Springboard Report, that can be used to identify how we will deliver key actions. 

We hope that the working groups will help create these business cases through two `in person’ meetings and an online workspace. The `in person meetings’ will take place at the GMCA office at Churchgate House on 56 Oxford Road at the following times:

  • Energy group: Monday 29 Oct. 4-6pm
  • Buildings group: Wednesday 31 Oct. 4-6pm
  • Sustainable Consumption & Production group: Thursday 1 Nov. 4-6pm

We have chosen these times to also attract people who can only attend at the end of a working day.

Each group will have an online workspace in Slack – a mobile and web based tool that is a cross between email and WhatsApp. Click here to join the GMCA Slack group. This weblink will prompt you to create an account so you can join Slack. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll automatically be directed the GMCA Environment Team Slack page. At the first `in person’ meeting, we’ll discuss Slack and how it will be used to augment the working group’s efforts.

Finally, please find attached to this email a one-page brief that provides background for the working groups, what we hope the groups will delivery and a timeline of activities.

We would appreciate your participation in the workgroups and hope you will join us at one of the relevant launch meeting in a few weeks.  Can you please confirm by return if you are able to attend one of the three sessions and, if so, which one.

Best regards,

Mark Atherton

Asst Director Environment

Posted in Greater Manchester, Low Carbon Hub | Leave a comment

Greater Manchester councils investing £1 BILLION into fracking industry – largest in country (press release)

A press release sent to MCFly (which thinks all the political parties – Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens – have been almost as woefully fail-y on climate as the social movements) by the Lib Dems, giving Manchester City Council (94 Labour councillors, 2 Lib Dems) a well-deserved kicking for the usual opacity, evasions and non-action…  We’re so toast, but I suppose we do have to keep staring into the abyss, eh?



Councils in Greater Manchester are investing £1 billion into the fracking industry, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Manchester Council is a leading member in a regionwide £1bn investment into the fracking industry, despite a policy opposing the controversial drilling.

The region’s councils invested more half a billion pounds into global fracking giants BP and Shell, whilst companies like Statoil, Exxon, Chevron also received hundreds of millions each.

A total of 6% of the £17bn pension fund went into fracking, making it the second largest investment by proportion of its fund but the largest overall investment in the country,

Public support for fracking has been consistently low, with the recent polls suggesting just 18% of people in the UK support the drilling.

But a 2014 poll run by the Manchester Evening News found that 73% of Greater Manchester residents opposed fracking.

Despite this, Greater Manchester Labour Councils are supporting investing nearly £1bn into the fracking industry.

In the last full council meeting, Labour refused Lib Dem questions to clarify their position on the investment.

The revelation follows the Government’s recent decision to allow fracking in the UK, with Cuadrilla set to become the first company to begin the controversial practice.

Uncovering the shocking investment, Manchester Lib Dem leader John Leech said:

“Fracking is widely unpopular across the country and in Manchester, some polls even indicate that up to 80% of local people oppose it.

“Climate change is the single biggest threat we face and rather than leading the fight for our environment, Labour councils in Greater Manchester are investing in the most unpopular, dirtiest and most damaging industry imaginable.

“Imagine the difference this £1bn could make if redirected into renewable and clean energy.

“Liberal Democrats take the fight for environment seriously and this revelation is another example of Labour’s stranglehold on Greater Manchester and why electing Lib Dems across the region is more important than ever.”

Posted in Fracking, Greater Manchester | Leave a comment