Every week it seems there is a new report – a pathway this, an action plan that. They all kind of meld into one, and you think, “ah, well, there will be another one along in a fortnight, so never mind.”
Please don’t think that about what we are about to tell you.
On Wednesday 5th February, at 2pm, councillors who sit on Manchester City Council will be looking carefully at a yet another document full of the right buzzwords – this time a “Zero Carbon Framework” for the years 2020 to 2038. For the City of Manchester – all 32 wards, from Higher Blackely in the north to Woodhouse Park in the south.
No point in denying it – this “framework” is very probably going to be vague, bland and offensively inoffensive. Some members of Climate Emergency Manchester will privately say it is shit. Others will say it publicly. But they will all agree that this shit matters.
This shit matters.
We know the temptation is to roll your eyes, and to laugh at the endless cycle of Groundhog Day, where Council officers promise they are just about to start doing something, and leading elected members get het up about the scepticism of backbench councillors and the public. We know that temptation, and we fight it daily. Most days we win.
We know that temptation. But this time, on so many levels, as Australia burns, as the seas rise, as the reefs die, it has to be different.
Right NOW we need you, dear reader, to do these things, more or less in this order.
Check your diary.
- Can you be present at the meeting of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, on Wednesday 5th February, from 2pm to 4pm. If so, put it in your diary now.
- If not, well, we will come back to that.
- Can you be present for the ‘pre-meeting’ that Climate Emergency Manchester will be hosting from 1pm at a venue (to be confirmed) nearby? If so, put it in your diary now.
Check your skills and availability
- We urgently need more eyes on the plans. If you have ANY experience of scrutinising council documents, of lobbying councillors, around graphic design, video-making, meme-makking, social media “etc” PLEASE get in touch with us NOW on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Don’t have any of that? STILL get in touch. We need people to do other things too, whether it is reading stuff to see if it makes sense, proofreading, retweeting, you name it. email@example.com
Here’s the plan.
From now to Wednesday January 29th
- We are gearing up for the release of the “Zero Carbon Framework” on or about January 29th, on this page of the City Council’s website (we have already asked the relevant officer a week ago about whether the final framework will look like a fleshed out version of the draft one from March 2019. No reply, but in a face-to-face encounter a couple of days later, he assured us he would reply ‘in due course.’
- We are watching the footage of the last Scrutiny Committee meetings, rereading the draft framework, anticipating the final report’s silences (we always, of course, hold out the hope that THIS time will be different, that there will be SMART goals, firm commitments to implementations and to scrutiny. But we’re not holding our breath….)
Between Wednesday 29th January and Tuesday 4th February
- Once the final report goes up here. we will be reading it, discussing it and then producing a short briefing paper with the observations/questions sourced by people like YOU.
- We will be lobbying councillors on the committee to ask them to ask searching questions (they are quite good at this already…)
- We will be trying to get as many people along to the 5th February as we can
Wednesday 5th February
- We will be there, live tweeting, asking questions if we can, blogging afterwards and figuring out what can be done between then and the Framework going to Executive in mid-March.
- If you can’t be there in person, you can watch the meeting on the webcast and tweet about it, with the hashtag #mcrclimateplan. Send us your thoughts about it!
For clarity: None of us is paid a penny for this work. We are volunteers. None of the core group of CEM is a member of any political party, is trying to build a political career.. We just want this city and especially its Council to actually – finally – take real action, as opposed to bluster and excuses, and the dressing up incremental action (much of it decided years ago) as if it were a response to a declaration of emergency.
We want your help. We need your help. Please, get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org