Concerned about the climate crisis? This competition offers the chance to get those concerns down in writing and possibly spur on the efforts of those in power. Essay competition open to all ages, with cash prizes on offer.

If you are concerned about the climate crisis and think that not enough is being done about it by those in power, then this may be the contest for you. Campaign group Climate Emergency Manchester (CEM) have launched an essay contest, aimed at encouraging local council leaders to be more outspoken in their commitment to fighting climate change.

CEM states that the competition is aimed at breaking “the silence of the city council’s leadership over what needs to be done about the climate emergency.”

The competition called “What Must They Say?” asks entrants to write the speech that the leader of Manchester City Council Richard Leese and Joanne Roney, the council’s chief executive officer, should give about the climate emergency. 

Marc Hudson from CEM said:

“We submitted Freedom of Information Act requests about how many speeches had been given about the Climate Emergency by the council’s leadership. The answer was zero, and not in the positive ‘zero-carbon’ sense. That’s not good enough, so we are asking citizens in Manchester to write the speech that our leaders ought to have already given.”

The competition is open to all ages. The prize in the under 18 category is £30, with a further £30 to go to a Manchester-based organisation of the winner’s choosing. For 18s and over the prize is £50, with another £50 going to a Manchester-based organisation of the winner’s choosing. Anyone who lives, works or studies within Manchester City Council’s boundaries is eligible to enter.

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Climate Emergency Manchester describe themselves as a non-partisan group of volunteers from Manchester, whose aim is to scrutinise the council’s actual actions, rather than its proposals, in combatting the climate emergency. They have produced regular “Hung Drawn and Quarterly” reports, based on Freedom of Information requests, since the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in July 2019. CEM claim the reports “expose the gap between the council’s rhetoric and its performance”.

The winning entries of the competition, which CEM says wishes to “combat” the “climate silence” of council leaders, will be included in Climate Emergency Manchester’s next “Hung Drawn and Quarterly” report, to be released in early April. There is no entry fee to the competition, and the deadline for entries is 1 April at 12 noon.  Further details are available at Climate Emergency Manchester’s website.

Conrad Bower

Climate Emergency Manchester has created a petition calling on Manchester City Council to respond to climate change with more democracy and more cash. Anyone who lives, works or studies within the boundaries of Manchester City Council can sign the petition, which can be found online here.

Feature image: Middlebury College website

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  • Conrad Bower

    Reporting interests include social justice, the environment, and human rights. A staunch advocate for the scientific method and rational debate for understanding the world - he believes only greater public understanding and engagement with the problems affecting society, can produce the progressive change we need. Co-founder of The Meteor.


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