Mancunians Give Their Vote for Green Trade Justice
The two day action by Manchester Friends of the Earth  and Manchester World Development Movement in central Manchester earlier this week, in which the people of Manchester were asked to petition Tony Blair and to ‘green’ Peter Mandelson, met with a tremendous response.
As well as signing a petition to Peter Mandelson EU Trade Commissioner, members of the public were asked to vote for green trade justice – an end to poverty and protection of the environment – by crossing and signing Friends of the Earth ballot cards, which will be sent to Tony Blair. The action was such a success that on day one most of the ballot cards had been filled in and Friends of the Earth London office had to rush up more ballot cards for day two. Over two days, more than 300 passers-by stopped to give their support.
People were also given the opportunity to ‘green’ Peter Mandelson with paint to make up for his record on the environment – he recently said that in trade policy, environmental and social considerations should only be taken into account if they improve competitiveness. A number of people were happy to take up the offer!
The action was part of the Global Week of Action for Trade Justice. People up and down the UK and across the globe are campaigning for better and fairer global trade rules to redress the imbalances in the current system. At the moment global trading rules are pretty much set by the rich countries in their own interests. The result for many developing countries is tremendous poverty and hardship – more than 1bn people live on less than a dollar a day – and this in turn leads to a great deal of environmental damage.
Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigner Karen Keen said:
“It now depends on the outcome of the general election. We want Tony Blair during his presidency of the G8, to live up to the commitments he has made. We asked the people of Manchester to support that and the wonderful, positive reaction we have had shows how close the issue is to the hearts of many Mancunians.”
Notes to Editors
 Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).