Our #climate petition has survived lockdown and is looking for more signatures to #buildbackbetter

We’ve written a short explainer to let everyone know we’ve still got an active petition going on, and we think it’s still important that we get as many signatures as possible – especially as we’ve seen the reluctance of Manchester City Council to listen to residents on pop-up cycle lanes as part of a COVID-19 recovery response. You can sign online and have answered a few questions on why “it is what it is”…

Our petition – why have we done it and what does it mean?

The wording is fairly technical – why?

We don’t think the current decision-making processes for improving our environment and reducing CO2 emissions is working very well and we’d like to see some changes that we think might help. Unfortunately the council don’t have a decent track record for listening and responding to residents’ concerns so we’ve felt obliged to create a petition. We’ve attended quite a few committee meetings and think improvements need to be made if the actions and policies are to effectively help residents have a better quality of life in this city.

The current Neighbourhoods & Environment Scrutiny Committee work programme is very broad. Its agendas are normally packed full, and this means difficult questions to the people who have the power in this city to change things are not always answered very well if at all. This means delays to actions, plans that might not make sense, and little accountability for those in power at the council – they can keep on doing what they feel is best. We’ve seen this with pop-up bike lanes and we’ll see it again on some other problem unless changes are made.

Using the MCC e-petition platform – why? 

The petition uses an ‘official platform’ as MCC will not recognise signatures from other platforms such as change.org as valid and they will not trigger a public debate within the council’s chambers.  We’re trying to work within the current structures of power and local democracy, which means if we want this petition to have consequences, then we’ve got to use what’s available to us – however difficult they are. Is this fair? We’d argue it isn’t as it’s difficult for people to use with multiple steps for you to trip up on (like having to think up a password), so we’ve made a video guide.

What would it mean if/when we get 4000 signatures? Cleaner air, safer cycling, less traffic, less aeroplanes in the sky? Maybe, or it could all depend on the mood of our dear leader…

This would trigger a full debate involving the core member of CEM who set up the petition – Chloe Jeffries –  being allowed to present our petition for 5 minutes and all councillors will be allowed to debate the issue for up to 25 minutes. The Council will then decide how to respond to the petition. Ahead of this, we’d be in hyper-lobbying mode asking you all to speak to your councillors and ask them to pass a motion in favour. If a motion is passed, then we’re getting into the mystical realm and who knows what is possible that far into the future… We could see a new scrutiny committee that results in better decisions and an improvement in the way we live in the city or not – might all depend on the mood of our dear council leader.

Why are we trying to get signatures in every ward of MCC?

Unless we have a wide base of diverse support spanning all wards of MCC, we’ll see the ‘but only privileged white middle class care about climate change’ excuse being pulled out again to ignore us. We’d also like as many residents in every ward to speak to their councillor about climate change. This is because unless our councillors realise it’s a concern and problem of not just a few middle class white people in the nice wards, it’ll continue to be something that’s considered a lower priority rather than being properly integrated into all work they do – power is retained by the few and things stay the same or get worse.

What can you do to help?

  1. Sign the petition
  2. If you’ve already done this, THANKS! Share it on social media and let others know why you signed it… Or if you don’t do social media, maybe write something and share it with your friends, family and neighbours via email or something on paper – get creative!
  3. Email your councillor and ask if they’ve signed it and if not why not…
  4. Please do share it wider than your normal social bubble – especially if you know people who live outside of the Chorlton-Didsbury ‘triangle of prosperity’.

We’re always happy to get help or feedback so let us know what you think. Contact: ap@climateemergencymanchester.net

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