While football may be a game of two halves, climate action in Manchester is a “game”* of two quarters.
The first quarter is this. In the last two years, Manchester as a city used up one quarter of its entire carbon budget for the twenty-first century.
Have you heard a single speech from a single politician about this? Have you received a single email from a single councillor on the Executive – saying “we are way way off track. We need your ideas, your energy, your help”? Have you been invited to attend any (online) emergency meetings of a scrutiny committee, of full council, of ANYTHING?
No, you haven’t. The people who are well paid to be “in charge” of climate policy in this city – both for the City Council itself and the City as a whole – have said nothing. Is this the leadership that we need for the challenges ahead?
One of the reasons they can stay so silent is that they are rarely (some would argue ‘never’) held to account. If this really were the emergency situation that all 96 councillors happily voted to declare on July 10, 2019, then the climate emergency would have been hogging the headlines (and not just the letters page of the Manchester Evening News) every bit as much as the COVID emergency. It hasn’t been, which brings us to…
The second quarter is this. Today, we got to a quarter of the signatures we need. We got the 1000th signature on our petition for a seventh scrutiny committee. A committee of equal standing to the existing six, meaning it would meet ten times a year. It would have two hours in each agenda to dig into what was – and was NOT – being done about the climate crisis we face. One thousand people who live, work or study within Manchester City Council’s boundaries have signed the petition. We thank them all.
We have to convince three thousand more people to do the same, by November 10th.
We are building a “Petition Taskforce” to do this. Whether you have an hour to give us, or 10, we want you on board. We want to both get the signatures but contribute to the creation of a growing, vibrant and resourceful network of people and organisations. A network that cannot be ignored, condescended or co-opted. A network that will – regardless of whether we get the signatures, of whether Councillors vote to create the much-needed scrutiny committee – persists, stares into the abyss and just keeps going. Just. Keeps. Going.
We have created a short handbook for you, so you can get up to speed on what we are doing, why, and the sorts of things we will do in our pursuit of another 3000 signatures.
There’s also a regular hour-long Friday meeting – starting at 3.30pm – for us to plan what we are going to do in the week ahead… Anyone who is in Manchester and able to devote some time and energy to getting signatures is welcome to join us. But you can be involved without attending these meetings too. Email us – email@example.com
(1) This is not a “game”. Millions are suffering already, billions will. And that’s before we even think about all the other species …