Manchester City Council has spent years promising a Climate Change Strategy for Manchester. Then back in January they released a paper titled the ‘Call to Action’. This was written by a London based consultancy firm. We felt that the document lacked local knowledge and the firm who wrote it made no effort to consult with the people of Manchester, despite claiming it was aimed at engaging the local community on Climate Change? The Council’s Call to Action seems to have shied away from targets and showed very little real initiative. It contained lots of ideas on how to re brand work that the council or other groups were already doing paying lip service to the environment. A perfect example of this is the retro-fit of the Town hall. Of course we agree this needs to be done in order to make it more energy efficient but alas when the details of the retro-fit were announced it transpired that it is going to cost 165 million pounds. The plans included putting glass tiles on the bridge going into the town hall extension as well as providing retail space; we are not sure how much value this has as a green initiative. Overall we decided that a ‘Call to Real Action’ needed to be written.

So, what is the Call to Real Action (C2RA)?

Well, we felt that in order to tackle climate change we must ‘act local but think global’. We are writing a bottom up document that can set out the foundations for how we can collectively tackle climate change here in Manchester. We need to be reducing our carbon emissions while recognising that we have an opportunity to improve people’s quality of life in the process.

The first two meeting were inspiring, lots of new faces mixed with a few of the familiar. Allot of local activists have spent years trying to get the Council to recognise climate change as a real issue. There are a wealth of skills and experience to draw from and there is a broad spectrum of individuals and groups involved. We have tried to give people the option of contributing while not having to attend countless meetings. Allot of community activists are very busy people. You can contribute via the blog or help out at different points in the process. All the sections we need to tackle have been divided up between working groups.

My main area of interest is transport…yes I’m a transport nerd. I work in cycling and campaign against Airport Expansion. I decided to stick to what I know. One of the aims of the C2RA is to capitalise on the vast amount of knowledge that groups and individuals here already have. I’m heavily involved with the Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport group. This C2RA is giving us a chance to develop our own policies even further. The SEMA coalition is made up of Manchester Friends of the Earth, Manchester Green Party, Campaign against Climate Change and Plane Stupid. Together we will help to formulate ideas for how the Council can practically deal with the emissions from Manchester Airport. Catalytic Action number nine in the Call to Action is about supporting Manchester Airport to be green. Currently it emits the same amount of CO2 as Uganda and MCC is in a very strong position to address this issue as it owns 55% of it; sadly the council have forgotten to include the emissions from the planes when talking about how to green the airport.

We are calling the next meeting the Call to Real Action 100% Proof. This gives us all a chance to come together and talk about where we are all up to and how we can synthesise the various sections.

So how can people get involved?

There is a wordpress-calltorealaction.wordpress.com
Or email: calltorealaction [at] googlemail.com

When where is next one?There will be another meeting next Monday the 16Th of March in the Friends Meeting House, Manchester, from 6.00pm til 9.00— Call to real Action 100% Proof—-All are welcome.

The main event will be the launch on Monday the 6th of April 7.00pm til 9.00 at the lovely Nexus café on dale Street in Manchester City Centre

There are lots of little sub meetings that people have arranged for their writing groups including the SEMA Teach-in on the topic of Steady State Economics at Manchester University on the 18th of March from 7.15.

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2 responses to “

  1. Keep up the good workThis is real participatory democracy in action. Hope the council listen and acts…if not, then become the council!

  2. C2RA shows us all what people can achieve when they come together for a common purpose, and shows the City Council that local skills and knowledge will beat extravagant private consultancy every time…