Manchester Happenings


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Lets Get the Greater Manchester Food Revolution Moving!

Help by supporting Manchester Veg People's CrowdFunding Campaign

Manchester Veg People is a co-operative of local organic growers and buyers, who are growing veg sustainably, distributing it and serving it up in Greater Manchester pubs, restaurants and canteens.

They got together because they were worried about the impact of the current food industry, both on the environment and on small scale farmers, as shockingly the people who produce the food we eat are some of the lowest paid people in the food supply chain.

They decided they should do something about it by creating fairer a distribution model - a co-operative where growers and buyers work together creating relationships of trust and understanding between members.

This is a model that supports existing growers (who have particularly struggled over the last two growing seasons due to the unpredictable weather), but also new people into farming - by making it a viable way to make a living. This is something we desperately need in the Northwest (and across the UK) - if we want more of our veg grown locally, then we need more people to grow it for us.

Manchester Veg People have been going for 18 months now, and things are starting to take off. The problem is that until now they have been operating using shared vans, storage and office space. It's time to get serious, to show that this fairer model can really work. All they need is their own van, a cold store - and your support!

Manchester Veg People launched their CrowdFunding campaign on Saturday 8th June. You can support them by donating anything from £5 to £500 in return for a selection of brilliant rewards, by clicking on this link:

Spread the word/follow the campaign on Facebook at ManchesterVegPeople, on Twitter @MancVegPeople or on our website at

Liz O'Neill


A Talk by Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson is a well-known climate researcher, who was invited to talk to Manchester City Council. Here are two reports:

Jane, attendee
This morning I went to a presentation made by climate scientist Kevin Anderson to a full meeting of Manchester City Council (see report at Manchester Climate Monthly). The picture he paints of where we are currently headed is pretty terrifying, and yet he is dynamic and positive enough that what he has to say is not depressing. What he said made most other preoccupations seem irrelevant. “We need to ask ourselves if we can live in a world 4 degrees warmer where trains can’t run, there are water and food fights and there is a breakdown in sewage and energy infrastructures,” he said. ”If not, then we must do all we can and at all costs to avoid it.” And that means reducing emissions radically now. On the positive side, 60-70% of global emissions are produced by 1-5% of global population, so if they/we (anyone who flies is included in the top 5% of emitters) can be persuaded/made to stop then staying below 3 or 4 degrees is still possible.
Which got me to thinking, again, about the rôle air travel plays in the art world. All this jetting off to biennials and international festivals, art nomadism, is highly problematic. How useful is it really? Is it something people would consider reducing/going without? Exhibiting internationally is now a standard part of building an art career. What would it take for people to stop doing it? What is the best way to talk to people about it? If I start getting these kinds of opportunities, will I have the strength to say no?
Air travel is only 7% of UK emissions, but it’s one of the areas where individuals can make changes relatively easily; it’s a lot easier for me to not fly than it is for me to retrofit my house (been working on that for several years now, and hoping to actually get it done through the Carbon Co-op in time for next winter…) or for me to affect the Government’s road building policy. And there are so many other things that can be done – increasing local food growing, insulating our houses, improving public transport, replacing buses with trams, reducing our consumption of meat and dairy – and most if not all of these things are also part of creating a steady state economy, reducing economic inequality, and oh generally making things better. It’s all possible, with enough will. And a lot cheaper than the bank bailout, in the short as well as the long term.


McFly's words:
Science speaks to democracy on climate, or, “Manchester’s climate Wake Up Call”
by arwafreelance

Climate scientist Kevin Anderson talks to Manchester's full council about turning climate rhetoric into reality, steady state and why it's too late in the day to be pinning our hopes on technologies
Weds Jan 30: Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, was invited to give a 30 minute presentation to Manchester's full council meeting today. The great hall was packed out with 90+ councillors and over 35 members of the public. Here's what happened next...
As usual, Professor Kevin Anderson delivered a no-nonsense presentation about what the science is telling us about climate change - that it's coming faster and harder than even scientists thought - and what we are doing to stop it (very little basically). In fact, we are producing more carbon every year. Anderson kicked off by saying that whilst a 2 degree rise in global temperature was seen as acceptable twenty years ago, the latest research shows that it's actually more dangerous than previously thought. And yet we continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere. Leaders fly into agree carbon cuts at climate summits and yet our emissions climb steadily upward. Globally, emissions are rising by 3% every year and every decision that we make now will ultimately decide our fate.
"We can't do enough to stop these rising emissions with just supply technologies," explains Anderson who is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. "The only way you can change this is by changing demand [for resources] and behaviours now. We can't wait for technologies in 2030, we have to focus on what we can do right now." If targets set by the council in their climate plans 'Manchester - A Certain Future are delivered, then that would put Manchester on the right path he added.
However, Anderson states that the council needs to be more ambitious. They need to cut CO2 by 60-70% by 2020 and 90% by 2030 rather than 41% by 2020. Manchester City Council also needs to adapt the city and the homes of its poorest inhabitants for a changing climate whether that means more flood, more heat-waves or colder winters.
"We need to ask ourselves if we can live in a world 4 degrees warmer where trains can't run, there are water and food fights and there is a breakdown in sewage and energy infrastructures," says Anderson."If not, then we must do all we can and at all costs to avoid. "The world after 4C is beyond adaptation, it's unstable and the warmer it gets the more likely it is to trigger other things which make it more unstable," says Anderson. "We need to avoid this at all costs- if death is the alternative than it's not too expensive and we must do all we can at all costs." So, how do we make such changes? Well, Anderson points out that 80% of the emissions are from 20% of the population and so the town hall which is full of influential and well-off people need to change their own habit and lifestyles.
The question is; are we sufficiently concerned to accept to make personal sacrifices and changes to our lifestyles? he asks. Are we sufficiently concerned to accept a steady state rather than a growing economy?
That brings us neatly to the Q&A which included questions from councillors on topics such as nuclear, aviation, employment, the voice of the poor and also steady state economy.
Leader of the council Richard Leese highlighted the Low Carbon Hub which will be investing 7 million in domestic retrofit in the next 2-3 years and acknowledged that encouraging a reduction in demand of energy is important. He also raised a question on nuclear to which Anderson replied that the UK shouldn't be considering nuclear when it has so many renewable options although globally nuclear will need to play a role. Anderson also added that retrofitting is a great way to provide job and also make homes more resilient - a win-win situation and a counter to those who say that we need to tackle unemployment first and foremost. Labour councillor Neil Swannick welcomed the talk as an important 'wake up call' at a time when climate change appears to have slipped off the agenda.
Lib Dem councillor Norman Lewis also asked what MCC's recent acquisition of Stansted airport means for it's carbon commitments given that the aviation industry is such a large polluter. Only half jokingly, Anderson said that if the council was buying them to close them then that would be okay. "We can't see emissions from aviation grow and so the airport can't expand," he said. "You can make planes technically more efficient but you do need to constraint the amount of aviation we have or live in colder homes. As flying is mostly what rich people do, then we can't really ask poorer people to make that sacrifice."
Labour councillor Kate Chappell asked whether the figures in the recent report bySteady State Manchester with regards to aviation producing more emissions than home energy consumption were accurate and highlighted the need to deal with aviation. Anderson said they seemed broadly accurate as locals living near an airport tend to fly more often that those living with further away and so have high aviation footprints.
Speaking to MCFly after the event, Richard Leese said: "I've heard Kevin Anderson give that speech before which is why I asked him along to full council. I think there is a certain shock factor which will help stimulate people into action and encourage members to be active in the implementation of the council's climate plan. My aim is to get councillors to be active proponents in tackling climate change and not just passing strategies.
"The real task now is to address those things we can address such as behaviour change which is in our Manchester - A Certain Future plans and is the aim of projects such as Cooler which is all about carbon literacy. We need to use Kevin's address as a catalyst to push that kind of work forward."
It's certainly been an enlightening if depressing event, as Nigel Murphy, executive member for the environment put it, but it's been an important wake up call. It may seem depressing for many councillors right now but at least they have a better sense of the reality we face. As Kevin Anderson states, real hope can only come from an honest assessment of the scale of the challenge we now face. I think today's talk may have brought us a little step closer.
Arwa Aburawa
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Critical Mass (cyclists' rally), Manchester. Meet 6pm, Central Library (top of Oxford Road). Every last Friday of the month.

Bloomers Bike Project

Bloomers Bike Project is using Eventbrite to organize 7 upcoming events. Check out Bloomers Bike Project's events, learn more, or contact this organizer.

Bloomers Bike Project is committed to promoting the benefits of bicycles to women as an energy-efficient, economical, non-polluting form of transportation, and as a healthy lifestyle choice, by providing access to affordable equipment and education in Manchester, UK. Events include easy and faster cycle rides, cycle holidays, roadside and indepth maintenance.

See Eventbrite website

Greater Manchester Campaign Against Climate Change holds regular meetings at Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester.  Contact Judy, judy.paskell[at]

Manchester Airport

The airport's Community Trust Fund supports community groups affected by it flightpaths. This area stretches to reach the eastern and northern boundaries of Northwich, to include Comberbach, Marston, Wincham, Lach Dennis and parts of Lostock, but exclude Anderton and the Rudheath estates. Details on Manchester Airport website.

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