There is a climate emergency and absolutely everyone needs to act now. Below are some practical steps you can take.
Join it! If you are able to make it to London for any time at all your support would be hugely appreciated by Rebels there. We can put you in touch with others from Manchester who are there, just send us an email. If you would like to go with your children there is a fun, family area as well as loads of advice and resources available.
If you can’t go there are other ways you can help. If you have a couple of free hours join the Rebel Ringers group on Facebook to support by calling people to ask them to attend the Rebellion. And make sure you are following Extinction Rebellion UK on Facebook and Twitter and share their posts.
Email your councillor about climate. Email them just to let them know it is an issue you are concerned about and which you want action on. Many of the Manchester councils recently declared emergencies but their actions don’t match their words. Most have done very little. It is important to keep up the pressure.
Talk to your friends and family, ask groups you’re involved with what you could do as a group, whether they are open to getting involved in projects.
Print out the poster, below, designed by Manchester illustrator Stanley Chow, and stick it up in a window which is visible from the street. It is a great way to spread the message and find others in your area who want to take action too. If you’re feeling keen, send to a friend, print out a few and hand them around.
Join Extinction Rebellion’s Uprising , in the UK this is in London from 7 Oct.
ACT & AMPLIFY
Individual change is not enough, big changes are needed which is very much the focus of Rising Up. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make individual changes. Of course not. It can feel positive to make personal changes and these can be amplified to inspire action from others. Below are some ideas about what can be done.
Pledge to go flight free for 2020
Share your flightfree pledge online. (Print off the pledge and share a photo of yourself holding it.)
Go on holiday locally. Make your trips abroad overland, share about your journey on social media.
Start conversations about this online. You could share articles about how hugely harmful flying is – we need a big culture shift to happen really quickly. Or just talk about your feelings about it, are you feeling positive about it, does it feel hard?
Sign petitions and campaigns
If long distance journeys are a part of your job ask your employer to sign up to Climate Perks.
Get informed about the fight to block Heathrow’s third runway. Many of the North West politicians voted against the Labour Party and in favour of the third runway. This is because of the link up with Manchester’s airport. Support Plan B and donate to their legal battle to stop the third runway.
Meat and dairy
Cut down on or cut out meat, fish and dairy.
Talk on social media about what you are trying to do. Ask for recipes and ideas, share recipes. Share articles and petitions about the issues.
Sign petitions for taxes to be raised on meat and dairy.
Try to cycle or walk and use public transport where possible. Cut down or cut out car use.
Support Better Buses GM which campaigns for Manchester buses to be re-regulated in order to have cheaper and more convenient public transport.
Support campaigns which aim to make cycling easier and safer in Manchester. We desperately need cycle infrastructure which would allow us – especially those of us with young children – to get around the city safely by bike. And even if you have no intention of cycling, safe cycling is still a positive thing for you as it will reduce numbers of cars on the road and improve the air that your children breathe. Currently it is dangerously and illegally polluted.
Support campaigns which fight increased car parking in Manchester, as this increases car usage and therefore pollution.
Support the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and support it including private cars.
Email your local councillor to tell them your views on the above.
Air pollution outside schools is a big problem. If you need to drop your kids off by car consider stopping a street away (reduces the build up) Turn off your engine straight away when you stop.
Ask your school to do a campaign to make all parents aware of not idling.
Might it be possible to organise a school cycle or walking bus so the children can go in with others?
Local habitat for insects and wildlife
Plant some insect friendly plants, allow part (or all) of your garden to go wild, make a small pond, don’t sweep up leaves, leave a corner with branches, off cuttings, twigs etc. All of this can be lots of fun with children.
Put a blue heart somewhere visible. Share about your garden on social media and about the reasons behind doing so.
Learn about our native plants including ‘weeds’ – these are what our insects, birds and wildlife need.
Run a social activity which helps others learn and appreciate nature, perhaps a foraging walk to collect wild food such as blackberries or wild garlic, a bat watch, a pond dip.
Email your councillor with our Rising Up demands or to support any examples of grass left long, or wilding you notice in your area. Councillors get numerous emails from people complaining about scruffy grass, or even that trees drop leaves on their cars and asking that the trees be cut down. It’s nice for councillors to get positive emails and it is good that we balance the people asking for it all to be cut back.
Get involved with a community rewilding or wildlife friendly planting project. (See this space for a Rising Up hands on project.)
Ask your child’s school to rewild an area.
Grow your own food
This TOTALLY depends on where your current knowledge is at. If you’re totally new to it start small. Grow cress with your child in an egg head. Plant mint (in a pot – it goes crazy), a rosemary bush, start a herb planter. Or if you’re willing to do a bit more or know a bit more put some raised beds in your garden, plant fruit trees. Don’t ever use peat compost (we desperately need our peatland to absorb carbon), don’t use weedkillers or artificial fertilisers.
Learn about it. This topic is so so big. Join facebook groups, read up on no dig, permaculture, polycultures and growing perennials. Share what you learn.
Join a local community allotment, start a local Incredible Edible scheme (can be tiny, ask to use an unloved spot of land and stick some plants in), ask your child’s school to do this with the children.
Cut down on or stop buying new things. Make eBay/charity shops your first stop when you need something.
Mend clothes and other items, take them along to a Repair Café, if one exists near to you.
Hold a clothes swap with your friends and acquaintances. Informal ones work well and can be sociable and fun. Make a big pile and get rummaging.
Get together with neighbours and agree a tool or toy swap or library.
Join Rising Up! Manchester Families or Extinction Rebellion Manchester.