I returned from my summer to continue working on Envirolution, first up was a Manchester Green Party Meeting. I went to the meeting as Matthew not as Envirolution as an idea. I have been exploring ideas and purposes for the past three years and I am still today.
I started off by asking people the very same thing I juggle with each day, to contextualise what it all means. For this example I chose the first three words that came to mind when I said the word ‘environment’. There was no surprise when the post-it notes (words in ‘’) I looked through later contained the same thoughts that I struggle with.
So what does the ‘environment’ mean? My thoughts often flow through four stages and collectively in the room I think so did theirs. The practical, and as this was a Manchester Green Party meeting this obviously included the ‘Green Party’. But it also captured: ‘our locality’ and ‘homes’. The beauty and where we find the intrinsic value: ‘Green Space’, ‘rivers and forests’ and ‘animals’. Then we have concern and often helplessness: ‘Climate Change’, ‘Eco-criminals’ and ‘Dirty, smelly roads’. But thankfully I always finish on the aspirational: ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Sustenance’.
Once I have battled with the meaning I try to decide what I should be doing about it. Since I started looking into environmental actions in 2009 I have been open to new ideas, new groups. I have tried to get involved in all that I can (perhaps sometimes with a negative effect as I got stretched too thin). This had led me to Call to Real Action, Manchester City Council Environmental Advisory Panel, Sustainable Manchester, Action for Sustainable Living, Transition City Manchester, Manchester Youth Voluntary Project, Transition Chorlton. For a lot of this time there has been one project that commanded my attention, one which I have found I was readily giving a lot of time and Energy to; Envirolution. The concept of Envirolution has grown to become a powerful and promising idea built on the foundation of two successful environmental events.
I was at the meeting for a couple of reasons. One was to get an idea if we were on the right lines with the events that we have created, so I asked ‘what they would like to have at an environmental event?’
Some of the responses I can confidently say we are working hard to include and have had success with. Like having an audience that is outside the usual environmental campaigners, a wide range of subjects covered and Manchester City specific themes. One area highlighted from the Platt Fields event was the challenge of having forward thinking discussions from leading figures in their field in a way that can be accessible to all. This is a challenge that we are excited to see what innovative solutions we can come up with for the next event.
One comment that I heard that I think is pure genius was the idea of actually composting all the waste that the event generates at the site of the event. I can’t wait to see this is action! (maybe the year after we can give away pot plants with compost from the previous event?!?!)
These are the thoughts of Matthew Rowe, one of Envirolution’s coordinators
Envirolution is Manchester’s Environmental Festival.