A date and venue has been set for the next gathering for everyone interested in preparing Manchester for the post-growth world.
Please make a note in your diary now for the evening of Thursday 19th July. Between 6.30pm and 9pm dozens of people will pass through Madlab, 36-40 Edge Street, in the Northern Quarter. They will mingle with new friends and old, put forward ideas, learn about different ways that they can be involved, look at an early draft of some of the sections of the report.
Next Wednesday 20th June 2012, councillors and citizens will discuss a report about Steady-State economics, at
Mancheser City Council’s “Economy Scrutiny Committee.” (See below for details)
This report was written solely by several council officers, despite a long-standing offer to work collaboratively from a group of academics, business people and activists (an offer the Council initially accepted).
Manchester Climate Monthly have re-posted (with permission) a critique of the Council’s report, pointing out its short-comings and offering constructive ways forward. It can also be found here.
The meeting starts 9.15am in Committee Room 11 at the Town Hall. It’s free, there’s no need to book. Some of us are meeting at the Waterhouse pub on Princess Street from 8.30am.
On Thursday 27th October 2011, Ryanair had to cancel a marketing event at the University of Manchester Students Union after students dismantled their promotional stall in protest against the company’s record on the environment and workers’ rights.
Ryanair had advertised to hold a stall from 12pm to 3pm last Thursday (29 October). However, at 12.30pm, a group of around nine students began dismantling the company’s banners and display boards and popping their promotional balloons. The Ryanair sales team soon left the building.
Students said the action was in anger at Ryanair’s disregard for the dangers of climate change by aggressively marketing cheap flights. They said the action was also taken in solidarity with disgruntled Ryanair workers. Last August, Ryanair worker John Foley staged a rooftop protest at Liverpool John Lennon Airport against the company’s anti-union activities and poor record on workers rights.
Physics student Catherine Redcliffe said, “Ryainair’s relentless pursuit of profit over all other concerns is trampling on workers’ rights and endangering our future at the same time. The aviation industry takes more money out of Northwest region than it puts in.”
Nonetheless, Ryanair seemed adamant that the day had been a success claiming that their staff were “about to pack up and head home” when the stall was disrupted. Spokesperson Stephen McNamara said, “Ryanair thanks the Plane Stupid clowns for once again turning a good promo into a great promo.”
However, students were bemused by this claim. Redcliffe explained, “Ryanair’s promotional stall was advertised on posters to last from 12noon to 3pm. The stall was dismantled at around 12.30pm after which their sales team left – so they lost out on most of the day. Their response is nothing unusual though. Everyone’s used to being lied to by Ryanair.”
Student Union democracy
The students, who did not claim to be from any particular group, were further angered at Students Union management for renting the space to Ryanair in the first place. Previously, students had voted that their union should campaign on climate issues and not have business relations with environmentally-damaging companies.
Geography student Marc Hempton, 20, said, “I wanted to show how Ryanair’s presence was a breach of our democratic process. This is my Union and our collective decision had been sidelined by unelected management. We shouldn’t allow environmentally damaging companies in our union where we have fought for positive policies on climate change and against relationships with unethical companies. I’m glad we sent them packing for the day.”
The day before the stall (Wednesday 26th October), activists had petitioned UMSU management with letters signed by students to cancel the promotional event. Management refused, saying that Ryanair stall was bringing in extra cash.
Hempton added, “In some ways, this is a microcosm of problems regarding climate change and workers’ rights. Where making a quick profit is prioritised at the expense of people and our environment, it makes it harder to address these issues and creates bigger costs further down the line.”
UMSU were unavailable for comment.
This article was adapted from the Mule.
Environmental activists who occupied tree-houses and barricaded themselves in underground tunnels during the long running protests against the construction of the second runway at Manchester Airport will be re-united at a public event this Thursday 17 February commemorating the 10th anniversary of the opening of the runway in February 2001.
Hosted by activists from Manchester Climate Action and People and Planet, the evening will see veteran activists from around across the country return to Manchester for an event including a photo and video exhibition from the protest camps, displayed at the University of Manchester Students Union.
Merrick Godhaven, 41, who now lives in Leeds explained why he was returning for the event, “There’s a radical history of resistance to power, and that history will never be taught in schools. We have to make the effort to make this people’s history live, and see that one generation can take inspiration and practical ideas from what has gone before. The present campaign against Manchester Airport is also a source of inspiration to me. Seeing the new generation of activists team up and share ideas with the older one makes us all stronger and more likely to succeed.”
Lance Crookes, who was also involved at the time, and who now lives in Northenden said, “Manchester’s council leaders were very vocal when they promised that 50,000 new jobs would be created as a result of the 2nd runway but there has been silence since it opened in 2001.”
MULE contacted Manchester Airport for a response on the question of job creation, however they declined to respond.
Simon Bradley, 22, from Manchester People and Planet, “The event not only looks at the rich heritage of environmental activism in Manchester, but also provides a valuable opportunity for today’s generation of activists to meet those who were campaigning on the same issues a decade ago. With the airport still at the top of the environmental agenda in Manchester, swapping stories and experiences can help us raise awareness and challenge the Airport’s dangerous expansion plans.”
The event is being organised in the run up to the trial of six climate activists who breached airside security at Manchester Airport last May – temporarily shutting the airport down. The four day trial begins on Monday 21st February at Trafford Magistrates Court. The defendants are charged with aggravated trespass and will plead not guilty.
“Site Battles: Second Runway at Manchester Airport” will take place on Thursday 17th February at 7.30pm at the University of Manchester Students Union. The event is free and open to members of the public.
Environmental activists have been angered by the news that the Cooperative Bank has taken part in a refinancing deal for the development of Manchester Airport. The bank will provide £40 million over the next 5 years to Manchester Airports Group despite its much-vaunted ‘Ethical Investments Policy’ which includes mitigating the threat of climate change as a central tenet.
The Bank’s policy states, “We will not finance any business whose core activity contributes to global climate change, via the extraction or production of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas), with an extension to the distribution of those fuels that have a higher global warming impact (e.g. tar sands and certain biofuels).”
Zoe Creighton-Hird from Manchester Climate Action said, “If their ethical policy states that they won’t finance businesses that contribute towards climate change via fossil fuels then why do they finance businesses that do the same via emissions from aviation? It’s another case of aviation being ignored as a massive contributor to climate change and goes to show that the Coop’s environmental image is an illusion, if they are willing to invest millions into the fastest growing cause of carbon dioxide emissions.”
Manchester Airport is currently responsible for around 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year, making it one of the biggest polluters in the North West. It plans to demolish local homes to expands its operations, with the intention of doubling passenger numbers by 2030.
The Coop Travel arm of the business states the following on its website, ”We were the only travel agent to oppose the development of a third runway at Heathrow and we oppose the development of runways throughout the UK unless there is a clear sustainability case.”
The Cooperative Bank’s brand is based heavily its environmental credentials, in particular for its recent active role in opposing the tar sands project in Canada. While its ethical code is widely regarded as being at the forefront of conscientious banking, this move raises serious questions over the bank’s policies.
When contacted by the MULE, a spokesperson for the Cooperative Bank said, “The Bank’s Ethical Policy is based on consultation with our customers and reflects their ethical concerns.”
“Whilst we acknowledge that the climate change impact of various forms of transport are a concern to some people our Policy does not contain an explicit statement excluding finance for air travel related business.”
“We are, however, arguably one of the UK’s leading businesses in tackling climate change, through, for instance, our refusal to invest in fossil fuel extraction and production, procuring virtually all our energy supply from renewable sources and our, as part of our Toxic Fuels campaign with our customers and members seeking to halt the increasing trend towards exploiting fuels with a higher global warming potential such as tar sands.”
The finance deal with Manchester Airport Group totalled £280 million, with six other banks – Barclays, Handelsbanken, RBS, HSBC, National Australia Bank (through its subsidiary Yorkshire Bank) and Santander – providing £40 million each over a five year period.
Campaigners against the expansion of Manchester Airport took a 12 foot inflatable elephant to the city council’s Climate Change Action Plan stakeholder conference on Tuesday 30 November. Members of Manchester Climate Action were highlighting the omission of the airport from the council’s climate strategy – the ‘elephant in the room’.
Participants arriving at the conference including council leader Sir Richard Leese and a number of business and community representatives were flyered explaining the elephant at the foyer entrance of the Museum of Science and Industry in Castlefields.
The first annual stakeholder conference was aimed to engage with residents and businesses of Manchester about reducing their carbon emissions. The event was part of the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan, named ‘Manchester: A Certain Future’, which was published in 2009 and promised to cut the city’s C02 emissions by over 40 per cent by 2020.
The stunt by Manchester Climate Action occurs the week before 11 activists from Manchester Plane Stupid stand trial at Trafford Magistrates Court following a protest at Manchester Airport in May. The trial begins on Monday 6 December 2010 and is expected to three to four days. A show of support is being organised outside court from 9am.
A campaign titled ‘Manchester Airport on Trial’ is being run around the court trial and has received statements of support from Heathrow Labour MP John McDonnell, Independent journalist Johann Hari, and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
Around 50 people attended the debate on direct action at Man Met Students Union on 25th November 2010. The event was organised by Manchester Climate Action and Plane Stupid in the run up the trails of seventeen climate activists who took direct action to stop emissions at Manchester Airport last May 2010, temporarily shutting it down.
The three panellists addressed the following issues:
- Why do people take direct action and transgress the law?
- What are the legal defences available to people in court?
- Can civil disobedience be justified and is it effective?
- What role could it play in fighting the cuts, tackling climate chaos and creating social change?
Dan Glass from the Climate 9 spoke of his work exploring the boundaries between environmental justice and the law. He can be heard discussing the issue on Radio 4′s ‘Costing the Earth’. Dan is also a defendant in the Ratcliffe-on-Soar trial which began on 22nd November 2010 at Nottingham Crown Court.
Kate Brandon is Strategic Engagement Worker at the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Action Group (SNAG). Part of her work involves acting as liaison between different community groups in Manchester and the City Council as part of the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Partnership. Kate raised some problems and concerns with direct action including the risk of alienating some parts of the public and the need to take people with us in climate campaigning.
Catherine from Taget Brimar talked about direct action and the law within the peace movement, and what useful comparisons could be drawn in relation to climate change.
The discussion was facilitated by Sarah Wakefield (General Secretary – University of Manchester Students Union).
- The Drax 29 were found guilty of obstructing a railway line in June 2009.
- In September 2008 – six people were acquitted of criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station.
In 2009, indigenous peoples throughout the world called for a globalmobilisation ‘in defence of mother earth’ on October 12, reclaiming theday that used to be imposed as ‘Columbus Day’.
Responding to this call, and the demand for a day of action for ‘systemchange, not climate change’ issued by the global movements gathered inCopenhagen last year, Climate Justice Action proposed a week of action for climate justice from Oct 12th – 16th.
On Saturday 16th October 2010, Manchester Climate Action took part in the successful blockade of Corynton Oil Refinery in Essex with over 600 people as part of thenational Crude Awakening action. No tankers went in or out for the day.
From the Mule.
Six Manchester residents from the group Manchester Plane Stupid pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated trespass yesterday (5th October 2010).
A trial date has now been set for February 21st 2011. In the first climate change trial of its kind in Manchester expert climate scientists will defend the six in court.
On 24th May 2010 the activists created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons in order to keep the plane grounded.
The action came in response to the airports recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of homes on Hasty Lane. Manchester airport faces continued scrutiny for wanting to increase airport capacity whilst critics say aviation expansion continues to be incompatible with climate change targets across the UK. Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits.
The environmental and social impact of Manchester airport will further be on the spotlight during the trial as all the local councillors around the airport had their unanimous objection to expansion overturned by the Manchester Council Planning Committee in November 2009.
Penny Woodson from local campaign group Manchester Climate Action said, “Despite the threat of climate change, Manchester Airport wants to demolish local people’s homes to expand flight numbers and increase emissions. The public are facing VAT rises this January yet the aviation industry pays no VAT at all. With all these injustices stacking up, direct action is necessary.”
Another group who simultaneously used tripods to blockade the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in and out have been charged with obstruction of the highway. Those defendants have already pleaded not guilty and will stand trial on 6th December 2010.
Manchester Airport did not respond to MULE’s questions.
On Saturday 4th September, campaigners from Manchester and London held a joint demonstration calling for an end to domestic flights. There are currently around 38 flights per day between Manchester and the London hubs. Manchester Climate Action helped organise the days events….
The day began with a rally in the morning at London City Airport. Campaigners then travelled through London on an open top bus to Euston where they boarded a train to Manchester. They were greeted off the train at Manchester Picadilly by a group of Manchester campaigners with placards and banners reading, “Trains Not Planes” as well as “Railways Not Runways”.
They then joined a larger rally at Terminal 3 of Manchester Airport. Councillor Martin Eakins, Amanda Walters from Manchester Plane Stupid, Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change, John Stewart from Airportwatch and local Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson all spoke about different airport expansion issues – including climate change, jobs, direct action and effects on local communities.
After the rally, the group headed to Hasty Lane for some fruit picking with the Abundance Project followed ba an evening party. The fruit was donated to a local community centre in Wythenshawe – showing what positive contributions Hasty Lane can make to the area without being turned into cargo sheds.
In August of this summer, the Camp for Climate Action set up on the front lawn of RBS headquarters in Scotland. Manchester Climate Action’s Tom Barlow reports back from the field.
- Photo by Kriptik
- Environmental and anti-capitalist campaigners have been taking action against the Royal Bank of Scotland for several years, even before they were bailed out by the Government. With anti-RBS sentiment at a high in Scotland around 100 Mancunians decamped to near Edinburgh to join the Camp for Climate Action 2010.
The camp was not just focused on RBS but also its’ investments, especially in large and environmentally destructive companies such as Manchester-based Peel Holdings and Glasgow-based Cairn Energy. It is companies like these that are behind a new bout of open cast coal mining in Britain and the destruction of a forest lands the the size of Britain in Canada.
The site of the protest was as audacious as the actions to follow, with barely 100 metres between the camp and the international headquarters of RBS, the sprawling camp was in full view of all the employees and directors for a week. This is in comparison to previous Climate Camps where they have often been situated up to a mile or more away.
The audacious location of the camp set the tone for the following days. Instead of the usual one day confrontation with the police, the activity of the camp was continuous and varied. With RBS sponsoring the Edinburgh fringe festival, which was on at the same time, a lot of mock street theatre, ‘greenwash’ detection and subvertising of their corporate messaging occurred in Edinburgh itself.
At the same the headquarters were graced with hundreds of dancers in white boilers suits who repeatedly wound their way round the headquarters and even attempted to occupy it.
On the feted day of action a 20 foot siege tower with a papier machier Rhino’s head made it’s way sedately to the front of their international headquarters whilst at the same time over twenty different actions happened across Scotland, with open cast coal mines being shut down, headquarters of oil and mining companies being occupied, as well as several branches of RBS. Even the regional headquarters of RBS were blockaded by protesters super gluing themselves to the front car park.
Hostile media coverage of the camp focussed on a seemingly phantom oil spill, which police press releases attributed to the Climate Camp with accusations of ‘recklessness’. The story was lapped up by journalists without any evidence to link it to the Camp – and protesters suspect the police of yet another smear attempt as had been seen in previous years.
On attending the camp Vanessa Hall, former Green Party Councillor in Manchester believes “we the tax payers own this bank. We have been through the democratic channels, I have even served as a Councillor. But the government and big business do not listen until we take our message to their front doors, barricade them and demand to be heard. We demand a better future than the policies of short-term power and profit will deliver.”
Manchester Climate Action are now gearing up for ‘Crude Awakening’ - a mass action in London on Saturday 16th October targetting the oil industry.
On Monday 24th May 2010, activists from the group Manchester Plane Stupid have breached airside security at Manchester Airport in a protest against the expansion of the airport. The protest involved two groups. The first group of 6 people breached the perimeter fence and created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons.
A second group used tripods to blockade the road entrance to the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in or out. They have unfurled a banner reading: “More air freight = more climate change. Stop all airport expansion now.”
The group were protesting against the recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of historic homes on Hasty Lane.
Lisa Jameson from Manchester Plane Stupid said, “This isn’t just about airport expansion or rising carbon emissions. This is about challenging an economic system based on the absurdity of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources, a system which prioritises bail-outs for the banks and then makes us pay for it in public service cuts. Capitalism is the cause of the problem, climate change is one of its many symptoms.
Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits.
“The third runway at Heathrow was stopped because ordinary people stood up to the government at the time and the aviation industry using a broad range of tactics. Direct action has historically played an important role in creating social change and will continue to do so.”
The aviation industry consistently overstate their importance in creating jobs and their contribution to the economy.
The lack of tax on aviation fuel is costing the UK economy £9 billion per year.There is also a tourism deficit in the North West region of £2.2 billion. That is the difference between what Britons flying abroad spend in foreign countries and what foreign visitors spend in the North West.
Each round of airport expansion is justified on the promise of more and more jobs. In the 1990s Manchester Airport promised to create 50,000 jobs with the second runway – but the actual number was far lower. We need to begin a just transition to a low carbon economy by creating jobs in sustainable industries such as rail and renewables.
Annie McLaughlin said, “Recently, we’ve seen attempts by British Airways to use the courts to overturn workers’ right to strike. We support the rights of all workers to fight for good conditions. It is essential that the changes needed to prevent climate change are not used as an excuse to restrict workers rights.”
McLaughlin continued, “The proposed expansion of the freight terminal makes no sense, economically or environmentally. The existing capacity is not fully utilized and an expansion would simply be a stepping stone to expansion of the airport as a whole, which would be an environmental disaster.”
“With the planet on the verge of climate breakdown it is essential that the real cost of aviation expansion is taken seriously – currently emissions from aviation are not included in Manchester City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan.”
CLIMATE CAMP UP NORTH
Saturday 13th March 2010
Hebden Hay Hostel
Followed by an (optional) day of tree planting in the local area on Sunday
14th March with Treesponsibility. Join us for the whole weekend!
Accommodation provided on Saturday night.
AGENDA – Sat. 13th March 2010
Provisional aim of the day: To have come up with some solid proposals so that everyone goes away knowing what’s going to happen action wise as a network in the North.
11am – 11.30 – Welcome, housekeeping
11.30 – 12.00 – Feedback from national gathering
– impressions, decisions, how might that effect us?
Report back from CJA meeting in Amsterdam
Do skills inventory – what do we lack? What do we have?
12.00 – 13.15 – Split into groups of 6 – 10 people. A choice of discussion on these two things below. Aim to start creating proposals.
What are we trying to achieve strategically?
Movement building? Outreach? Radicalisation? Concrete results?
How do we achieve this short, mid and long term strategically?
How does that relate to National? What can we do (as a region) – action wise?
What do we want to do (as a region)- action wise?
What would we like to see the national network do – action wise and strategy
How can we relate to the national gathering?
How can we share skills?
How can we feed forwards and back practically – i.e. minutes/proposals/spokes?
Do we need our own finance and/or other working groups?
What about internationally – can we mandate people to feed into CJA – or anything else?
Possibility of talking about Politics too, if people want, although ‘politics’ should also run through the other discussions.
13.15 – 13.30
Have feedback from the groups before lunch
Emphasis on creating concrete proposals please
13.30– 14.30 – LUNCH
14.30 – 15.00 Shout out for proposals that people want to talk about (both from earlier discussion, and leftfield)
15.00 – 16.00 Split into working groups to flesh out these proposals (as many groups as proposals want to discuss). Creating pros and cons.
16.00 – 17.45 – Prioritise proposals, and then discuss them in order of enthusiasm. Spend two hours on hearing proposals and seeing what we can come to consensus on.
Temperature check before hand, bike rack contentious ones, push forward on warm ones to give more time to debate and amendment on contnetious ones.
17.45– 18.00Announcements, housekeeping, shake out, chill……….
Accomodation provided Saturday night by Treesponsibility ready for tree planting on Sunday.
Sunday 24th January 2010
11am – 6pm @ Bridge 5 Mill, MERCI, Ancoats, M4 7HR
We are going to evaluate how well we managed to meet the aims of last year, discussing how effective the various actions and mobilizations were.
Self-organize by compositions – neighbourhood, affinity group, campaign group
How has your group interacted with the CfCA in the past?
How would you like to see your group relating to CfCA in the future?
Do you see obstacles to and reasons for your engagement?
How should the CfCA be organized?
Compositions feedback to the whole meeting
Facilitators: Andre, Hannah Mc,
Whole group discussion
Focussed on the key topics, tensions or ideas that have emerged from the previous session
Facilitators: Hannah G,
An overview is given of upcoming international events in Bonn, Mexico, Bolivia, International Day of Action,
Facilitators: Bert, Simon, Guy
Number yourselves off from 1 – 6
In your numbered groups, six facilitators will rotate on the following topics and engage with questions where relevant:
1. Develop & Focus on Community & Local Struggle
What are specific challenges in engaging with community & workplace struggles?
Why would we engage with these forms of struggle?
How can CfCA engage with these struggles, and how can it engage?
2. Build connections with ‘other’ struggles
What connects different struggles?
What sort of struggles should we be connected with?
How should we connect with them?
Can we learn from previous connections between environment & social struggles? (eg. Dockers and RTS)
3. International networking
What does an international network mean?
Why would we be part of an international network?
How does an international network manifest itself?
How should a network organize itself?
4. What have the elections got to do with us?
Are there specific topics we ought to take a position on?
Can we rely on governments to take action on climate change?
Can we take action around the election, without getting drawn into questions around voting?
5. Just Transition
What do we mean by just transition?
What does just transition have to do with green jobs?
What issues does just transition raise for an anti-capitalist perspective?
6. Focus on ‘carbon-specific’ targets
What are the dangers of focusing only on ‘carbon’ targets?
Is it enough to focus only on carbon reductions?
By focussing on carbon specific targets, do we appear as a single issue movement?
Feedback for 15 minutes.
Facilitators: Robbie, Manc1, Manc2, Manc3
(World Cafe facilitators to meet with facilitators of next session)
Focussed on the key topics, tensions or ideas that have emerged from the previous session
Any Other Business
“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
Martin Luther King, Strength to Love p27
Wanna do something about climate change?
Then get involved!
Formed after the 2007 Camp for Climate Action at heathrow, Manchester Climate Action is fighting climate change and environmental destruction in Manchester with direct action, community building and educational outreach.
We organise non-hierachically and believe that tackling the root causes of climate change means tackling the political and economic systems which caused the mess in the first place.
To receive updates (3 – 4 times a month) from Manchester Climate Action email: manchester[at]climatecamp.org.uk