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This week’s news, actions & events (9th January 2022)

Welcome to the latest Manchester Friends of the Earth weekly digest!

In this week’s digest:

Actions

1. Tell the EU to stop abusive lawsuits! (Sum of Us)

2. Tell your MP to oppose hostile measures in the policing bill (Friends of the Earth)

3. Phasing out fossil fuel heating consultation (Biofuel Watch)

Events

With the recent increased Coronavirus levels, we will be hosting our meetings online.

For details on events hosted by other organisations please check their Covid arrangements with them before attending. Check our website for the latest event listings.

Tue 11 Jan: Climate Action; Welcome webinar (Friends of the Earth) online

Tue 11 Jan: Northern Groups New Year Meet Up (Friends of the Earth)

Thu 13 Jan: Campaigning skills training: Build People Power and Win Environmental Campaigns Training Course (Friends of the Earth) online

Sat 15 Jan: National Day of Action against the Police, Criminal Sentencing and Courts Bill (Manchester)

Mon 17 Jan: The future of local climate action (Friends of the Earth) online

Tue 18 Jan: What is Climate Justice? (Friends of the Earth) online

Wed 19 Jan: Nature campaign meeting (Manchester Friends of the Earth) online

Wed 19 Jan: Sustainable Transport meeting (Manchester Friends of the Earth) online

Tue 25 Jan: Beyond gas: How do we secure warm, safe homes for all? (Friends of the Earth) online

Thu 27 Jan: Manchester Friends of the Earth Annual General Meeting onlineSun

30 Jan: Big Garden Birdwatch, Fog Lane Park (Manchester Friends of the Earth)

News
1. Government invites oil companies to help write rulebook on whether new fossil fuel drilling is green (Independent)

2. 5 new laws for 2022 – and what they mean for your rights (The Big Issue)

3. That’s a wrap: French plastic packaging ban for fruit and veg begins (Guardian)

4. Imagine If The Rich Countries That Caused Climate Change Actually Took Responsibility (Time)

5. Help on energy bills must not come at cost of climate action, Sunak warned (Independent)

6. Climate change: Find out the energy efficiency of homes in your area – as most important factor revealed (Sky News)


Actions

1.  Tell the EU to stop abusive lawsuits! (Sum of Us)

There’s almost nothing to stop corporations threatening legal action to silence their critics. It’s just another business expense — they don’t even need to win in court, and they still win.

Journalists, campaigners and whistleblowers distracted, demoralised, destroyed? Job done.

But the European Commission is about to propose the first EU law against such abusive lawsuits. This could be a gamechanger for us — but only if it’s truly water tight.

The European Commission is figuring out NOW what the new law should be. The public consultation they have launched closes on January 10th and after that they will present the draft law. Now is the last chance to tell them that what we want is binding legislation that protects all SLAPP victims in the EU! Are you in?

Tell the EU to stop abusive lawsuits against watchdogs like journalists, NGOs and activists.

Sign the Petition


2.  Tell your MP to oppose hostile measures in the policing bill (Friends of the Earth)

The government’s policing bill threatens our fundamental right to protest by introducing draconian new police powers to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest. It could also result in longer prison sentences for organisers of protests, and fines for attendees.

Things got even worse in November when the government made a barrage of increasingly hostile changes to the bill.

The latest changes will make it even harder for the voices of citizens and communities to be heard by those in power. We can’t let these go ahead.

What’s more, the bill’s trespass offence will criminalise the way of life of nomadic Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities – already some of the most marginalised communities in the UK.

But we still have a chance to stop the most hostile parts of the bill. Thankfully, MPs still need to approve the government’s changes before this bill becomes law.

So will you write to your MP and ask them to oppose the government’s attacks on the right to protest and the rights of nomadic communities? We’ve written a draft email that you can edit, so it should only take a minute.

The bill is now in its final stages. This is our last chance to stop the worst parts of the policing bill from becoming law.  

We must act now. Please write to your MP today!


3. Phasing out fossil fuel heating consultation (Biofuelwatch)

Right now, the Government is consulting on a proposal to phase out the installation of fossil fuel heating from 2026 for homes in England which are off the gas grid. The proposal to replace fossil fuel heating systems such as oil, coal and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is very welcome as these fuels are harming human health, polluting the environment and making the climate crisis worse.

They propose to install heat pumps which allow homes to be electrified using far less electricity than other electrical heating systems. However they are also proposing to fund wood-burning biomass boilers and the use of liquid biofuels made from plant oils and/or animal fats for off-grid homes in England that cannot “practicably install a low temperature heat pump system”, which is deeply concerning.

Far from being ‘low carbon, ‘green’ or ‘renewable’ alternatives to fossil fuel heating for homes, wood-burning biomass boilers and liquid biofuels make climate change, air pollution and the destruction of forests and other habitats worse.

We urgently need your help to tell the Government that we want public money to fund genuinely low-carbon insulation and heat pumps, not dangerous false solutions like biomass boilers and liquid biofuels.

Help us tell policymakers that public money must be spent on genuine low carbon heating solutions like insulation and heat pumps for homes off the gas grid in England, not dangerous distractions like biomass boilers and burning liquid biofuels which are linked to forest destruction, biodiversity loss, harmful pollution and climate-wrecking emissions.

To make a submission to the consultation, you can use the draft submission we have written or view the full consultation here. You can view the consultation questions here. You don’t need to answer all the questions and the consultation closes on 12th January.

Submit your response today!

Events

Tue 11 Jan: Climate Action: Welcome webinar (Friends of the Earth)

Join our Welcome webinar and get an introduction to the Climate Action network, powered by Friends of the Earth. Learn how joining our network will help you campaign with confidence for a climate-friendly community.  

There are over 270 Climate Action groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland campaigning for local solutions to the climate crisis. Discover what support, tools and resources we offer to help you grow your group and develop local campaigns.

Who is this webinar for?

This event is for you if:

  • You’ve recently registered as a coordinator for a new Climate Action Group
  • You’re a new member of a Climate Action Groups
  • You’re interested in registering a new Climate Action Group – this might be an entirely new campaign group, or an existing group (including any aligned with other campaign networks)
  • You’re an individual interested in getting involved with our Climate Action network – either joining an existing group
  • You just want to find out more!

Agenda

  • Introductions
  • What Climate Action groups do
  • How Friends of the Earth can support your group – tools and help available for you
  • Case study: Climate Action campaign win
  • Resources and support
  • Your local staff contact
  • Further training opportunities
  • Kick off events
  • Extra time: Questions

Learn more about Climate Action groups

Your host

The Climate Action volunteer team – a team of activists who will help welcome you to the Climate Action campaign.

During this webinar we will use:

  • Vimeo
  • Powerpoint
  • Breakout rooms

Please let us know via the booking form if you have any accessibility requirements and if booking the session is difficult for you get in touch with us on community@foe.co.uk for help.

When: 6pm – 7.15pm, Tuesday 11th January
Where: Online
More info: Register your (free) place via Eventbrite


Tue 11 Jan: Northern Groups New Year Meet Up (Friends of the Earth)

A space for activists in the North of England to collaborate, network and learn.

Purpose: This Meet Up brings together activists from across three regions (the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the North East) to look at the year ahead and learn from each other as we develop plans.

Outcomes: We will feel more confident in our plans for 2022 as well as having made connections and thought about how we campaign in our local communities effectively.

Process:

  1. Time together looking at the year ahead
  2. Break out rooms focussing on campaign opportunities
  3. Break out rooms looking at organising in our community setup (urban or rural)

During this webinar we may use:

  • Zoom
  • Powerpoint
  • Breakout rooms
  • Jamboard

For the best participant experience we encourage you to join from a computer if you are able.

Please let us know via the booking form if you have any accessibility requirements and if booking the session is difficult for you get in touch with us on community@foe.co.uk for help.  

When: 7pm – 9pm, Tuesday 11th January
Where: Online
More info: Register your (free) place via Eventbrite


Thu 13 Jan: Campaigning skills training: Build People Power and Win Environmental Campaigns Training Course (Friends of the Earth)

Is your group committed to protecting people and planet? Does your group want to learn how to campaign effectively and win change?

We’re hosting a series of 8 online workshops to help you plan and deliver an effective campaign, building and strengthening your group in the process.

This course is for Local Groups and Climate Action groups.

You’re welcome to attend as many of the sessions as you want. We know that some topics may be more relevant so you can sign up for these as individual workshops as well. You could also divide the sessions between different members of your group, so the knowledge is shared collectively.

Next up:

  • 13 January (19:00 – 20:30) – Choosing an issue and understanding your context
  • 20 January (19:00 – 20:30) – Leadership and teamwork in campaigning groups
  • 27 January (19:00 – 20:30) – Working together for effective campaigning
  • 10 February (19:00 – 20:30) – Designing a powerful campaign strategy
  • 17 February (19:00 – 20:30) – Promoting your campaign and mobilising people online
  • 24 February (19:00 – 20:30) – Keeping a healthy profile
  • 10 March (19:00 – 20:30) – Group welfare: remaining in control and avoiding burnout
  • 17 March (19:00 – 20:30) – Negotiations and moving on from your campaign

When is the course?

The course with consist of eight 90 minute evening workshops taking place across 13 January to 17 March.

Do I need to attend all 8 sessions?

You’re welcome to attend as many of the sessions as you want. We know that some topics may be more relevant so you can sign up for these as individual workshops as well. You could also divide the sessions between different members of your group, so the knowledge is shared collectively.

Please use the register of interest form    to indicate which sessions you plan to attend. Details of each session can be found on the form    .

Do I need to bring my whole group?

The training is open to everyone in the network, so you’re welcome to attend individually or with other members of your group.

When: 7pm – 8.30pm, Thursday 13th January and repeat dates (see above)
Where: Online
More info: Please complete our register of interest form    to let us know which workshops you plan to attend and who you will be attending the training with.


Sat 15 Jan: National Day of Action against the Police, Criminal Sentencing and Courts Bill, Manchester

Come out to the streets in towns and cities, while protest is still legal, for another National Day of action.

The purpose of this protest is to speak out to the Lords before the final vote but also to show our resistance to the idea that we will stop advocating for our rights.

When: 1pm, Saturday 15th January
Where: St Peter’s Square, Manchester City Centre


Mon 17 Jan: The future of local climate action (Friends of the Earth)

Join this workshop to tell us about your local campaigning and share your ideas for the next phase of the local climate action campaign.

Groups up and down the country have been campaigning for their councils to implement ambitious Climate Action Plans. Over 80% of local councils have now adopted plans. It’s time for us to reflect on what we as a network have achieved so far and plan where to take the campaign next. Join this workshop to tell us about your successes and challenges and share your ideas for the next phase of the local climate action campaign.

Who is this for?

Friends of the Earth local groups and Climate Action Groups who have been campaigning for their council to adopt a Climate Action Plan or improve its policies on climate.

Why attend?

  • Share the successes and challenges of your campaign so far
  • Hear from other groups about their campaigns
  • Help shape plans for the next phase of the local climate action campaign

Your facilitators

This workshop will be facilitated by Cat Currie, Senior Campaign Activism Advisor, and Rose Taylor, Campaign Activism Advisor.

Accessibility

During this webinar we will use Powerpoint, Google docs and slides and breakout rooms.

Please let us know via the booking form if you have any accessibility requirements and if booking the session is difficult for you get in touch with us on community@foe.co.uk for help.

When: 7pm – 8.30pm, Monday 17th January
Where: Online
More info: Book your (free) place via Eventbrite
 



Tue 18 Jan:  What is Climate Justice? (Friends of the Earth)

Join us as we explore what the international climate justice movement is and how we can campaign for climate justice in our communities.

Climate Justice has become a rallying call for the climate and environmental movements. But what does it actually mean? Join us as we explore what the international climate justice movement is pushing for, why we look for solutions to the climate crisis which create a better world for all, and how we can campaign for climate justice in our communities. Getting a better understanding of climate justice is crucial following COP26 and in working towards becoming an anti-racist network – so if you’re interested in either of those things, make sure you sign up for this webinar.

During this webinar we will use:

  • Powerpoint

Please let us know via the booking form if you have any accessibility requirements and if booking the session is difficult for you get in touch with us on community@foe.co.uk for help.

When: 6.30pm – 7.45pm, Tuesday 18th January
Where: Online
More info: Book your (free) place via Eventbrite


Wed 19 Jan: Nature campaign meeting (Manchester Friends of the Earth) online

Join us at our next meeting to plan and our campaigning for 2022, including our work for the Places for everyone consultation, and the Nature Recovery plan.

When: 6pm – 7pm, Wed 19 Jan 2022

Where: Online
More info: Please contact Cat via cat@manchesterfoe.org.uk for details of the Zoom link


Wed 19 Jan: Sustainable Transport meeting (Manchester Friends of the Earth) online

Our monthly Sustainable Transport Campaign meeting will be held via Zoom. As usual there’s plenty going on, and the agenda will include:

  • Buses charter
  • Air quality campaigning
  • Bike Friday and social cycles  

All welcome.

When: 7.30pm – 9pm, Wednesday 19th Jan 2022

More info: for more information and to be sent the Zoom link for the meeting please email graeme@manchesterfoe.org.uk


Tue 25 Jan: Beyond gas: How do we secure warm, safe homes for all? (Friends of the Earth)

Join us to help shape the direction of our new home heating campaign.

Heating our homes makes up around a fifth of UK greenhouse gas emissions, while millions are stuck living in fuel poverty in cold leaky homes. We need to rapidly decarbonise our homes and ensure everyone can live somewhere warm and safe. What would a campaign to get rid of gas in the heating sector look like? Join us to help shape the direction of this new campaign.

Who is this for?

  • Friends of the Earth local groups
  • Climate Action groups

Why attend?

  • Help shape the direction of this exciting new campaign
  • Share any experience you have in campaigning on gas and domestic heating

Accessibility

During this webinar we will use Powerpoint and breakout rooms.

Please let us know via the booking form if you have any accessibility requirements and if booking the session is difficult for you get in touch with us on community@foe.co.uk for help.

When: 7pm – 8.30pm, Tuesday 25th January
Where: Online
More info: Book your (free) place via Eventbrite


Thu 27 Jan: Manchester Friends of the Earth Annual General Meeting online

Join us online for our AGM, followed by a green-tinged quiz (prizes included!) Hope you can join us for either or both.

When: Thursday 27th January – AGM 6.30pm- 7.15pm and Quiz from 7.15pm – 8.30pm (ish) Where: online – please email office@manchesterfoe.org.uk for a link


Sun 30 Jan: Big Garden Birdwatch, Fog Lane Park (Manchester Friends of the Earth)

Join us as we take part in the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. This year we will be counting birds in

Fog Lane Park, South Manchester.

More details on the RSPB Big garden birdwatch website
When: Sunday 30th January 2022, 11am – 12.30pmWhere: Fog Lane Park. Meet at junction of Westholme Road and Wilmslow Road, M20 3QN – the entrance to the park is at the other end of Westholme Road.
Info: Please dress for the weather – it is likely to be cold and may rain!For more info please contact damian@manchesterfoe.org.uk


News

1. Government invites oil companies to help write rulebook on whether new fossil fuel drilling is green (Independent)

Oil and gas companies have been invited by the government to help write the rules on whether new drilling complies with the UK’s climate obligations, just months after Boris Johnson urged countries to stop extracting fossil fuels at Cop26.

A consultation quietly launched a few days before Christmas and after MPs went back to their constituencies signalled that ministers will green-light new oil extraction – despite scientists saying such exploration is not compatible with reaching net zero by 2050.

Read more …


2. 5 new laws for 2022 – and what they mean for your rights (The Big Issue)

Every government introduces new laws — it’s what politicians are for, after all — but the agenda for Boris Johnson’s government has raised serious concerns across the political spectrum.

If passed, these bills would place restrictions on everyday parts of life in Britain. From the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which could make peaceful protest punishable by time in jail, to the Elections Bill that could change who is, and who isn’t allowed to vote.

Read more …


3. That’s a wrap: French plastic packaging ban for fruit and veg begins (Guardian)

A law banning plastic packaging for large numbers of fruits and vegetables comes into force in France on New Year’s Day, to end what the government has called the “aberration” of overwrapped carrots, apples and bananas, as environmental campaigners and exasperated shoppers urge other countries to do the same.

Emmanuel Macron has called the ban on plastic packaging of fresh produce “a real revolution” and said France was taking the lead globally with its law to gradually phase out all single-use plastics by 2040.

Read more …


4. Imagine If The Rich Countries That Caused Climate Change Actually Took Responsibility (Time)

Typically, much of the climate change discussion refers to it as a “threat.” But the reality is, for many on earth, the crisis is already here. Many small-island developing states have already suffered climate-related losses of livelihood, security, and welfare. My country, Palau, has been ravaged by the climate crisis, suffering two major typhoons that resulted in a loss of more than half of our national GDP.

Read more …


5. Help on energy bills must not come at cost of climate action, Sunak warned (Independent)

Rishi Sunak has been warned not to allow the Tory right to use the cost-of-living crisis as cover for rolling back the UK’s climate change ambitions.

The Chancellor is coming under intense pressure from Conservative MPs to scrap or suspend green levies on energy bills to cushion the impact on customers of price rises expected to reach £600-£700 per household this spring.

But the Tory MP who signed zero-carbon targets into law as energy minister, Chris Skidmore, warned that abandoning the levies would be “disastrous for the transition away from fossil fuels”.

Read more …


6. Climate change: Find out the energy efficiency of homes in your area – as most important factor revealed (Sky News)

The age of your home is the single biggest factor in how much heat it leaks or energy it consumes, according to new research.

Analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that age was more important to energy efficiency even than fuel or property type, because building techniques and regulations have changed over time and due to wear and tear.

Read more …

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