Top tips for lockdown sanity, #climate activism and more – @ClimateEmergMcr monthly public meeting

Climate Emergency Manchester held a short sharp (but fun) public meeting online last night, picking up the threads of something that was beginning to work well last year (before we disappeared into a frenzy of signature collecting). Below is a Chatham House rule (no names mentioned) account. We *may* be holding these monthly – if so, watch this space for details.

We started with quick name-go-rounds in which people were invited to say their name, where they were (e.g. wards of Manchester) and their top tips for staying sane during lockdown number 3.  And the answers varied – “hard pass,” “arts and crafts and crochet,” “running and not checking the news until the afternoon,” “Platt fields park has kept me sane. Writing and making stuff,”  “stop watching news, and yoga,” “reading a lot of escapism and walking every day even when weather bad,” “brewing beer and taking dog for a walk” and “yomping around the park with bricks and a voice recorder that you then get software to transcribe. Also Netflix (Breaking Bad).”

People were very actively encouraged to do private chatting with each other (a network relies on everyone knowing each other at least a bit, with our “you can give your email/Twitter handle but please don’t ask anyone for theirs” rule.

Pooja then gave a brief explanation of what CEM is (Voluntary group, non-party political dedicated to the proposition that Manchester could and must respond to climate emergency with more than just glossy pamphlets and vague promises which get broken like glass at the Capitol building. Seven members of core group, lots and lots of people who do stuff with us, dipping in and out (ask us about “legitimation peripheral participation” another time).)

We then whipped through the various projects that CEM is working on and how people can get involved, and answering questions/making note of suggestions

  • Seventh Scrutiny Committee (Chloe) – Feb 9th at Resources and Governance. IF we can convince them to recommend it to full Council, there will be a vote on 31 March.
  • Monthly scrutiny (Adam and Chloe) – Scrutiny committees meeting Tues, Weds, Thurs. Do NOT “go” alone, they are morale-killers
  • HDQs – HDQ6 was released last week. HDQ7, in April, needs to be all-singing, all dancing.  We need researchers, graphic designers, publicisers.
  • Operation “Climate Vote” (Robbie and Chloe in charge) – to get climate as high up the list of topics people think about when voting in local elections, which may take place on 6th May (NB CEM will not be endorsing individual candidates or parties)
  • New Student Climate Handbook (Pooja and Marion in charge)
  • Operation Strawberry (Marc in Charge)
  • Website overhaul (Calum in Charge)

If you’re interested in any of these projects, email us on contact@climateemergencymanchester.net and the “right” person will get back in touch with you.

We made note of one particular upcoming event, yet to be fully publicised, online, Thurs February 4th– a climate emergency themed art exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.

We then had a little time to talk about the CEM website, which will be overhauled in the coming months. There were some kind comments (blush), but all agreed it looks a little bloggy, and isn’t always the easiest to navigate, with some good content (not our words!) buried. Nobody would mistake us for a corporate outfit though, so there’s that…

So, we will try to use our newish graphic design and web design skills. Help very welcome on this…

We were done by ten to nine (who, really, wants to be zooming after that)? Thanks to all who attended.

The crucial thing to understand is that you can be involved in CEM without EVER coming to a “big” meeting like this. (Even though we think our meetings are good, they are ultimately still meetings). We subdivide the work, so that one or two members of the core group have a clear sense of what is needed and can tell you what tasks are coming up. You can if you choose get involved in particular task forces, which may or may not have regular meetings. Even if they do, you don’t have to attend.

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