GMCA Green Summit 2021: Taking people on the Journey

On Monday 18 October the 4th Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Green Summit took place at The Lowry in Salford.

The Summit, themed around communities and ‘Taking people on the journey’, invited talks and presentations from individuals, the community and voluntary sector and businesses.

Dr. Nafhesa Ali, Sociologist and Research Associate at the University’s Sustainable Consumption Institute and on the Leverhulme Trust funded ‘Towards Inclusive Environmental Sustainability (TIES)’ project, was invited to give a lightening talk in the Session ‘The complexity of environmental engagement’.

Three key points emerged:

1. The importance of building bridges between professionals within the environment sector and individuals, communities and grassroots organisations living and working in Greater Manchester.

2. There is an understanding that communities and individuals do want to engage and talk, and that it is time to move away from terms that suggest engagement is ‘complex’.

How we can do this:

  • Training on ‘how to engage communities and individuals’ by people who already do this well, which may include, but is not limited to, training by grassroots organisations, individuals who are happy to represent minority communities and/or individuals/other professionals who work with engaging people on a daily basis.
  • Reduce consultation fatigue by reciprocal engagement.
  • Ensure an inclusive consultation process by including a diverse range of individuals and communities are involved in the consultation process.

3. Actions need to be accessible and doable for people on the ground. It is important to acknowledge and recognise that social inequalities can hinder involvement with the environment agenda, but if actions are ‘doable’ and realistic this will support and increase engagement from the residents of Greater Manchester.

The session was chaired by Zamzam Ibrahim, Vice President of European Students Union, also included lightening talks from Emma Gardner, Diocese of Salford; Caroline Kennedy, M6 Theatre Rochdale and Clare Fallon, Growth Company.