All posts by calummcfarlane

After the Climate Emergency comes….

…disappointment. As reported over on Manchester Climate Monthly, MCC are pressing ahead with their plans for Great Ancoats Street.

So much for “we do things differently here” – a wholly different kind of thinking is needed for the predicament we are in, and this isn’t it.


My son didn’t want to go to the park today…

Taken from here…

My eldest son (nearly six) didn’t want to come to the park today. It was warm and sunny, but he didn’t want to get dressed. “What’s wrong? Can you try to tell me, then we might be able to help?” “You and mummy can’t help” A horrible dark light bulb goes on in my head.

I speak quietly in his ear “Are you worried about climate change?” He looks at me, eyes bright with tears, and nods. It all tumbles out, he’s so sad about the animals being shot, losing their homes to deforestation, who are victims of changing weather.

My own eyes, already stinging, blur as well. All the grief, the horror, the desperation, are ready and waiting. I restrain the urge to sob, but my cheeks are wet. I repeat “I know, I’m so sorry”. It feels wholly inadequate, but then, what isn’t?

He knows it’s too big for his parents to fix, or for him to make it better. We tell him lots of people, including us, feel the same way. That we are doing what we can, to support the work to reduce the harm. He wants to believe us, and eventually we dry his tears.

I wonder if he will remember today, years into the future. Will he ever understand what it is to hold a child’s psyche in your hands, malleable like clay, fragile like china, and to do your best to mold it to be strong, and at the same time, beautiful.

At the park, butterflies chase each other, and birds are singing. I think to myself, will he have the chance to be a parent, to nurture a love of the natural world, whatever may be left of it? Or will it be something too dangerous to contemplate by the time he is of age?


I know my son is one of the lucky ones – so many children are being told far worse things, every day – “No, there’s no food today” or “I don’t know where your Mama is”.  But this is what climate breakdown, and all the other harms humans are committing, are doing to so many childhoods. If that isn’t worth fighting to lessen, I cannot tell you what is.

Join us, or join something else – but do not sit on your hands. The world needs you to act, whether you are a parent or not.


Open letter in support of 10th July Climate Emergency Motion

UPDATE: The form is now closed to further submissions, thanks for all your support. IF you want to get more involved you can lobby your councillors about the motion or fill in our handy “get involved” form.

You can see below the open letter CEM will be sending to the Manchester Evening News in the next week or so. If you’d like to add your name the list of signatories (can be either as an individual or as an organisation), please complete and submit the simple form below the letter.

If you’d like to get involved with our campaign in other ways large and small, we have a form for that as well!

NB – email address is needed for verification, but we will of course NOT be sharing that information with anyone.

“On Wednesday 10th July Manchester City Council will debate whether to declare a climate emergency. The motion has been put forward by a Hulme councillor, Annette Wright, and comes against the backdrop of ongoing climate strikes by children, the protests by Extinction Rebellion, a petition started in March by the “Climate Emergency Manchester” group,  and ever more alarming reports from scientists about climate breakdown.

Manchester City Council has long talked a good game on climate change, but the rhetoric has sometimes outstripped the reality.  The fault for some – but by no means all – of the gap can be laid at the door of central government. Over the last nine years Manchester has suffered huge cuts in funding.

This climate emergency motion provides a great chance to reboot engagement with all sectors of Manchester – business, but also trades unions, religious groups, community groups and the like.  We the undersigned urge Mancunians to contact their local councillors to ask them to support the motion, and we urge the Council to pass the motion unchanged, or with amendments that strengthen it rather than weaken it.

We also pledge to be critical and constructive allies of the council in the coming years as it turns the words of the motion into deeds.”


Event report: “What can we do about the Climate Emergency in #Manchester?”

This may look like a quiet country chapel, but this is actually Northenden Methodist Church, overlooking the busy Palatine Road. Just goes to show that nature produces beauty if we leave her alone…


Inside, over 25 residents of Greater Manchester, mostly from the Northenden area gathered today to talk about… well, the Climate Emergency.  On the agenda – what practical actions can be taken, either by concerned citizens or possibly, the City Council – or the two working in combination.  Those who came also  shared knowledge and asked questions about the climate emergency, and what might be done about it locally. We were happy to see two of the ward’s three councillors – Mary Monaghan and Sarah Russell (Sam Lynch wanted to come, but had a prior engagement.)


A key goal of Climate Emegency Manchester is to get people who know each other not at all or only in passing to actually talk to each other.  We say that if there’s a meeting, people should meet (“the clue is in the name”).  So, the first thing we did, after thanking the local person who organised the venue and advertised the event, was getting the attendees to talk to people they didn’t already know and just chat.  After a few minutes of that, we asked people to organise themselves into groups based on level of knowledge on Climate Change and related issues. Each group brainstormed questions they wanted to ask of the room.

It quickly became apparent that there was a lot of appetite for discussion on topics as wide ranging as re-opening the local railway station, the recent school strikes by young people in Manchester and further afield, tool sharing, recycling and repairing, and de-growth economics.


The discussion included comments from the councillors present about how regular litterpicks were already happening in Northenden, as well as adverts for other activities.  We did a brief “advert” for Climate Emergency Manchester, explaining that we are keen for people to be involved at whatever level for however long they want (several people filled in paper versions of our ‘get involved‘ form).

Long after the meeting had formally closed, attendees were still talking, discussing ideas, forming new relationships and discussing ways to take forward the ideas discussed in the meeting. To us, that’s success.  As for other outcomes of the meeting – watch this space!

CEM would like to thank all the people who joined us today for their time, and particularly Amanda for inviting us!

We’re extremely keen to be invited to do meetings like this in Sharston, Benchill, Ancoats, Gorton, you name it – if you want us to come to your place of worship, tenants association, sports club or whatever, please get in touch!   Our preferred format is something like today, helping new relationships to form among the attendees, but we can also do talks followed by Q&As, or workshops.