Hi all (or, after looking at the viewing stats, I should say, “hi both”),

Here’s the latest and final survey that we are asking people to fill in.

On the 20th of every month from now till November we will publish the answers we’ve had so far, and formally send them on to Manchester City Council and also the Steering Group for the Action Plan/Stakeholder Conference.


Am going around to various groups’ meetings and (with their permission!) asking people sets of questions. Went to Green Party, Friends of the Earth and now Manchester Climate Action. Next up is Greenpeace on Thurs 29 July, and any other groups who are interested. Once have done the ‘green ghetto’, very keen to talk to non-environmental types. If you are in such a group that might be willing to have C2RA (for anything from 10 mins to an hour, with more interactivity and fun the longer we have), then please email calltorealaction@googlemail.com

What’s the main danger in the November 30 conference?
Going through the motions -allowing this to become just another publicity exercise
Grand-standing by politicians and big business leaders (e.g. United Utilities) about how much they’re doing and empty rhetoric e.g. “Manchester led the world with the industrial revolution and now we must lead again” = greenwash
Letting self-congratulation get in the way of recognising how difficult this is going to be
not enough recognition of what small organisations are doing
The dogma of ‘growth for growth’s sake’ going unchallenged
not engaging people – “death by powerpoint”
Not striking the right balance – too self-congratulatory or too doom and gloom

What’s the most important outcome for Nov 30?

Agenda for the next year – concrete goals
understanding scale of changes needed
include the airport in climate change plans
enhance engagement in the successor conference
get lots of people involved before and after
putting personal responsibility in context i.e. Easier to make good choices if the social/political background is right, BUT personal responsibility is still essential.

How should people be kept informed about the conference?
Tell kids in schools – send people round and do a fun activity
Use billboards and other street adverts and Manchester Evening News and radio
NOT using endless fliers
By groups other than the council itself
Promotional events
Network existing groups
Facebook, youtube.

Who should “we” engage with?
Action for Sustainable Living
High Schools
Universities in Manchester
Religious groups
Human rights groups e.g. Amnesty
Trade Unions
Tyndall Centre
Local community groups
Local people
Local shops
“Deprived” groups/areas who don’t normally respond to ‘this sort of thing’
Housing associations and developers
Benefits claimants and similar

What don’t you know that you want to know about Manchester and Climate change?
Effects of airport on C02 targets
Amount/type of energy used and future plans
How the city can become self-sustaining and less dependent on oil i.e. Producing own food and energy.

How can we achieve the second headline objective “to engage all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations in a process of cultural change that embeds ‘low-carbon thinking’ into the lifestyles and operations of the city”?
Local small lots of inviting, social/friendship groups
events engage
Energy co-op
Make Manchester an example for other cities
Make MCFC/MUFC do high visibility engagement on a faster time-scale
Try to get the mainstream media on board
Frame sustainable living as something beneficial (see film ‘Power of Community’)

How should we be educating ourselves and others?

Schools- AfSL?
Oil dependence -everything! Food, plastics…
More frequent ‘teach-ins’ a la Concrete Utopia and Climate and Capitalism
Things like MCFly that re about things other than the council
Mandatory time off work to learn mitigation and adaptation skills
Send the GMP drugs squad out in the community to teach people important skills rather than what they usually do- yes, retrain the Tactical Aid Unit.

21 people at the Friends of the Earth meeting took part in a) watching ropey youtube videos and b) q and a about climate change action plan/stakeholder conference and c) getting into small groups and circulating around a series of flipcharts with questions posed (see raw data below).

Thanks to them, and to the FOE co-ordinating group! Results will be fed back to the relevant people (i.e. the Steering Group) shortly.

How should people be kept informed about the conference?

email- regular mailouts
target forums interested groups use
social networking
get ads/info on GMPTE, bike racks etc
big screen e.g. Outside Selfridges
also consider the “what” to inform people of
MEN, local newspapers
council publications
posters- libraries, bussstops, billboards, phone boxes
company newsletters/intranet champions
environment type businesses – bike shops, health-food shops
university, students union
council events/local festivals/events
word of mouth
local radio, northwest tonight
channel M
personal contact to counter the ‘noise’ of all other competing time commitments
follow on document
regular public review of progress e.g. 6 monthly
Town Crier

What’s the most important outcome for Nov 30?

Tangible actions (SMART)
Full engagement with local voluntary and third sector projects
Chief Execs to be invited (of plcs, ltds, smes, third sectors
a “Real” broad-based coalition
Identify where funding is needed
Identify accountable for actions on council
target landlords
how will they measure progress
transparency – publish results and outcomes of event
increased interest and awareness
bylaws committing council over and above reputation [this is response to a question about whether the Action Plan was legally binding]

What’s the main danger in the November 30 conference?

Has to mean something. How to put ideas into practice
Not enough people turning up
Working day (i.e a week day)
Unrepresentative sample of the population (getting the “same” people going
False sense of security
way it’s presented “stakeholder conference” offputting to many. Revamp image/rebranding – tell people what it’s about and what’s in it for people to attend
could be seen as a rubber-stamping exercise
avoid using the word stakeholder
not inspiring attendees, possibly confusing
failure to set targets
people don’t get the meaning of stakeholders – too vague
just another talking shop, no tangible actions or momentum results
disefranchises some people
feel like something’s happening when its not
That does not involve real people, or that the local authority do not listen!
Talking shop- no concrete commitments after
Ideas from day disappear (feedback to participants essential)

How can ‘we’ achieve the second headline objective “to engage all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations in a process of cultural change that embeds ‘low-carbon thinking’ into the lifestyles and operations of the city”?
Individuals to invite 5 others into their house to give five actions/tips people can do. Then they get 5 others… “give the planet a hand”
Working with the mass media messages we’re all bombarded with
Promote positive alternatives of low-carbon living
Existing strong networks- allotment societies, TRAs, e.g get a council climate champion to visit and talk about it
Piggy-back existing events and street parties
Celebrate it – create a vision of the elements
look at best practice from other countries
appeal to people- cash incentives?
Video footage on outdoor TV screens, billboards around central Manchester etc
More interactive stuff for public to visit – ecohouses

What don’t you know that you want to know about Manchester and climate change? (we’ll get answers to these questions as soon as able)
Average household c02 emissoins
What ACTUAL activity is happening and planned
Does Manchester City Council know what its emissions are?
What is the vision for what Mcr will look like in 2020?
Is MCC on target to meet its 10:10 targets
How are they planning to meet the second headline objective?
Who (depts/indivs) will be responsible for implementation/achieving targets
How does Mcr compare with other cities in terms of per capita emissions
Help for the fuel poor- what are they doing?
How they measure their impact

Who should we engage with
Tenants and residents groups
Allotment groups
Eco-projects at churches and religious groups
Youth groups (e.g. Jewish FZY, BBYO)

Went to the Green Party meeting last Thursday (am starting off with Environmental Groups, will then branch out to other groups).  Did a q and a session (see bottom of this page) and also got people into groups to answer various questions.  Sadly no time left for groups to answer more than one question, or to cross-fertilize.

Next week am doing Friends of the Earth, Manchester Climate Action and later in the month Greenpeace. Will also post their answers to these and similar questions.

Who should “we” talk to? (we being people who want the Stakeholder Conference to fulfill its potential)
School children
groups who represent disability, access etc.
Faith groups
SPECIFIC mosques, churches etc
Conservation groups, permaculture, community gardens
Schools doing ‘ecoschool’ project standards
Geography teachers
Woodcraft Folk
Teaching Union
Manchester Trades Council
National Trust Rep
People and Planet
Independent Media
Health Workers
Campaign for Free Public Transport
Rail Users Groups
Groups like Shelter and other homeless orgs
Sustainable Businesses (unicorn, 8th Day etc)
Uni (tutors and students)

How should we be educating ourselves and others?
Promoting through youtubes, interactive media
community outreach – contact various socieites, e.g. Church groups, ethnic minority groups, TARAs
meet and (challenge) greet with the Council – go to surgeries. Mass Lobbies with our demands for stake holder conference
Build relations with the council to understand structure
Produce document answering key questions for people outside teh movement to understand what stakeholder conference is
Themed pre- Nov 30 meetings

What would make you get involved in “C2RA”?
A belief that there are, at least a few, certain outcomes
A SPECIFIC task to be involved in
Be able to make a contribution that involves family-friendly ours (e.g. Picnic in the park)
Something that would use my specific skill set
See how it impinges on my daily life
Social based meetings and work based meetings (free food)

Dangers in Process and how to avoid
No follow up
Stage manage (death by powerpoint)
Preaching to the converted
Confused by council-ese
Lip service
How to avoid – don’t use powerpoint. Detailed follow up (meetings, events, groups)

What do you think “success” would look like with the stakeholder conference?
local residents actually invited to attend, in good time
a change to the decision that aviation not be included in the targets and discussions.
A concrete, achievable, affordable action plan, that contains specific i,e. NOT “we will encourage more cycling” but “we will put in a cycle lane in x places, and make 200 street-hire cycles in the city”
stop the felling of mature trees. Why are we always told mature trees are diseased but not told what disease it is, or a tree is felled when some pollar4ding will do. More pollarding of mature trees like we see in Europe.


How does the Climate Change Action Plan fit into the Council’s 10:10 aspirations?

The 10:10 campaign is a small step towards the aspirations of the CCAP. They obviously hope that the 10:10 will build the momentum towards greater CO2 reduction. They think they’ll get their 10% reduction by measures thermostat in their buildings this winter.

Is there a Greater Manchester Action Plan and how are the other local authorities dealing with climate change?
The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has got an “Environment Commission” that is looking at Energy, and sharing expertise. There’s mention of a ‘low carbon economy’ in the Greater Manchester Strategy. Through gritted teeth I will admit that MCC is ahead of all the other Gtr Manc local authorities.

Isn’t big industry the problem not our individual lifestyles and if so how will the council deal with that?
Manchester(the area covered by MCC) is mainly service and tertiary industry, it is post-industrial so to focus on industry would not resolve the emissions problem.

Can the council sort out the buses which are huge polluters in Manchester?
The buses have been privatised and de-regulated but MCC is taking steps to ensure better service level agreements with bus companies in the short term.

On Tuesday November 30th the first “Stakeholder Conference” for the Climate Change Action Plan will happen.

Call to Real Action wants you to answer the five (well, six if you count your postcode) questions on a short and anonymous survey. The answers will be seen by the “Steering Group” that is overseeing the Conference.

Thanks for helping!

Right. C2RA is back. Its mission – to help people in Manchester prepare for and get maximum benefit out of the Tuesday November 30 “Stakeholder Conference” for the Manchester Cliamte Change Action Plan.
More detail to follow imminently, but here’s the first video…

Call to Real Action thanks all the people who came to the “Concrete Utopia” event last Saturday at the Central Hall.  A good and highly-interactive time was had by all.  Over the coming week, a variety of blog posts will appear hear, recording what happened on the day.  This will include the powerpoint presentations from the “Eco-house” and “Food” sessions.

To kick things off, here is an account of the “Religions” session.

The faith session at the Concrete Utopia event was attended by two speakers: Zahid Hussain of Ecomosque and also Mark Dowd from Operation Noah. The small group had an interesting debate about how our faiths can contribute to increasing environmental awareness. However, both Hussain and Dowd acknowledged that there were also limitation on faith informing our climate change action. As Dowd notes, no-one knows the carbon footprint of Jesus and many Christians are more interested in saving souls rather than saving seals. Furthermore, Muslims are required to travel (once only I should point out) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Even so it was highlighted that faiths do allow us to realize the need of self-limitation and also sacrificing the current luxuries that we enjoy which negatively impact the planet. Hussain remarked that we need to take more action and also better inform current Muslim leaders for whom climate change is either on the bottom of the agenda or has slipped off altogether. Dowd added that it would be worthwhile to encourage churches becoming examples of eco-excellence and as a final remark, confirmed the value of faith communities as a framework for support on the path to a low-carbon future.
Arwa Aburawa
Freelance Journalist