What do we learn this week? Of parallel universes, petitions and denialists in denial about their denial…

After the storm, the eerie calm: last week Manchester City Council’s climate change “Agency” held a 90 minute “conference” that wasn’t about climate change (all is explained in this scorching blog post).  This week, in various online meetings, CEM core group folk have been taken aback at just how dismayed and vehement many people (including senior and influential Manchester folks) are about the tight control imposed, and the complete unwillingness to engage with a) reality [the city burned through a quarter of its remaining carbon dioxide for the 21st century in two years] and b) sensible and useful ideas.

Because, yes, Climate Emergency Manchester does more than just submit Freedom of Information Act requests – we also have fruitful discussions with various established and new organisations. The common theme that is emerging is that the current behaviour of “let’s all pretend things are on course, even when our leaders are forced, on page 17 of their glossy document to admit they are massively not” is not in any sense sustainable.

But back to those FOIAs!  On Thursday we reported that, contrary to what some would have you believe, Manchester City Council was – and this is a direct quote from a Manchester City Council officer’s email to his or her (probably his, let’s face it) Tameside counterpart – ““not proposing any pop up cycle lanes”.

We learn a bit more about CEM friend Juan Villanueva

The Active Citizenship Toolkit progresses apace – we now have a list of 52 “must-have” elements, and a guide to ‘enabling legitimate peripheral participation’. Various folks are expressing interest, and coming up with VERY useful suggestions.

We interviewed Dr Renee Lertzman about climate, environmental melancholia and activism, and also Rev Grace Thomas about climate (yes, it’s our thing) solidarity and (the whiteness of climate) activism.

Meanwhile, core group member Marion Smith mused on being a “reluctant environmentalist” – the challenge of speaking on issues where you are not the world’s leading expert.

Meanwhile, Pooja Kishinani, another friend of CEM (see her piece on media representations of the youth climate movement here) had to resort to using the Freedom of Information Act to get basic facts about what is and is not happening in Rusholme, because none of her three councillors had replied to her emails in the previous three weeks (after CEM published this article about that, one did, on behalf of the other two).

CEM had two (yes, two) letters in the Manchester Evening News this week, responding to absurd climate denialist claims (yesterday the denialist even denied that he is a denier, forgetting what he wrote earlier in the week). See here and here.

What’s coming up? Well, there’s a meeting on Monday 3rd August about collecting the signatures we need for our petition to get a seventh scrutiny committee.  We would love your ideas about how to collect the rest of these signatures. Email us (for the details of how to log in to the online meeting) petition@climateemergencymanchester.net

We will also be releasing a report about what has actually been happening with pop-up cycle lanes in Manchester (it’s quite a short report, obviously, but important and interesting nonetheless!).

Longer-term, two dates for your diary – on Tuesday 1st September Extinction Rebellion is holding an event in Manchester, as part of a three day Northern Rebellion. More details to follow. On Friday 25th September, the school strikers hold their next “Global Day of Action.”

As ever, if you want to get involved in what we do, please email us on contact@climateemergencymanchester.net  We have all sorts of tasks, for all levels of skill and availability…


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