As the concept and corporate reality of the so-called 'Northern Powerhouse' seems to be all about businessmen in suits pushing over-development and fast trains, ecologist James Walsh has written an alternative vision - The Northern Greenhouse - A New Vision Of The North.
"The environment of the North of England is under attack from property developers, frackers and huge corporations" he says "Our roads seem to be more like car parks these days, and events happening in the Arctic and Antarctic are highly concerning while the mainstream media seems to cover extreme weather events without informing the general public of the real facts...
"When you look at the plans for the Northern Powerhouse there seems to be no consideration whatsoever for climate change and the environment" he adds.
The Northern Greenhouse, James explains, is "a reaction and a holistic approach that gives the environment and the economy equal parity of esteem – in some ways the book is a people's manifesto and a discussion paper."
There are ten statements about the Northern Powerhouse that the book examines...
1. It recognises the need to balance the North/South divide
2. The brand has promoted the North worldwide
3. The brand has got people talking about the North
4. The Northern business community is now more motivated
5. Many projects have no social license, have no, or very little, public consultation and cross the environmental redline
6. 'Northern Powerhouse' does not recognise climate change
7. The 'Northern Powerhouse' Conferences have been criticised for the very high price of tickets
8. As a result, in reaction, Northern civil society has mobilised
9. Alternative conferences have been, and are being organised
10. People power is neutralising corporate and political power.
"I thought that it was time that the alternative view promoting Renewable Energy, Sustainable Agriculture and EcoTourism should be heard" says James "Organisations such as Friends of the Earth have been regularly hosting meetings and conferences to talk about the green potential of the North of England; and the announcement of the Greater Manchester Green Summit in March 2018 is the acknowledgement from mainstream politics of the ever louder calls from the grassroots that we need urgent change in the way that we approach the environment."
He sees some of the work in Salford as leading a potential way forward...
"A large percentage of the research for this book was conducted in Salford and there are some encouraging situations here, such as the new Little Woolden Moss Lancashire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve on the Salford Mosses, the Kingfisher Trail, the increased interest in the wildlife of Salford Quays and the brand new nature reserve in the Irwell Valley" he says.
The forty page book is a grassroots view of the environment of the North of England and the green economy potential, and hopefully it will make a few people in power have another think – or face the consequences.
The Northern Greenhouse - A New Vision Of The North is available on Amazon Kindle £5 – click here for details
See also the You Tube promotional film – click here .
The Northern Greenhouse is a follow up to The Birds of Salford Docklands – for details see previous Salford Star article – click here.
For more details of James Walsh's work see his Northern Spring blog site – click here