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A2. Green Unionism

Unions Make City Building (Glasgow) a Model of Sustainable Construction and Employment

City Building is a ground-breaking not-for profit building organization with an in-house training centre, a large apprenticeship scheme, and a highly unionized, directly employed workforce.

The post Unions Make City Building (Glasgow) a Model of Sustainable Construction and Employment appeared first on Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Job Announcement – Nurse Program Coordinator

Are you a nurse interested in how the environment impacts human health? Want to help make a difference in communities around the country most impacted by environmental hazards? Want to work with fun, passionate, and supportive nurses? If yes, then we’d love to have you join our team.

ANHE’s Mission: Promoting healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy.

The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) is the only national nursing organization focused on the intersection of human health and the environment. Our vision and principles that guide our work can be found here. This statement emphasizes that “ANHE’s environmental health work is rooted in scientific evidence and science, the imperative to do no harm, and commitment to diversity, inclusion, collaboration, equity and justice driven by compassion and human caring.”

ANHE is embarking on the first of its kind environmental health nurse fellowship program. With this program, ANHE will train a cohort of 30 nurses in a yearlong fellowship on pressing environmental health issues and provide them with the knowledge and support needed to make positive change in their communities.  We are hiring a part-time nurse program coordinator to be an integral part of the team planning and coordinating the program. This is a great opportunity to connect with nurses around the country and work with environmental health nurse leaders.

We are a virtual organization and have staff members around the country. We are a dedicated, passionate, and fun group of nurses.

This position reports to the Executive Director. This position is a temporary part-time contract position with two years of funding secured. Expectations for hours worked per week is 8-12.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with the team on project tasks, including but not limited to:
    • Craft fellowship application and review applications
    • Develop curriculum and fellowship materials
    • Outreach to nurses in EPA regions 6-10 to apply for fellowship
  • Responsive to mentors and fellows during the fellowship to support program success
  • Support outreach to community organizations to aid in facilitating partnerships for fellowship collaborative activities
  • Coordination of webinars and two in-person convening meetings
  • Support program evaluation efforts


  • Registered Nurse
  • Located within EPA regions 6-10 (See map)
  • Ability to take initiative and produce results
  • Ability to work remotely and have reliable internet connection
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills (both verbal and written)
  • Ability to meet multiple deadlines and track multiple tasks concurrently
  • Proficient in Google Suite (Gmail, Drive, etc.), Microsoft Word, and social media (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds (ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Dedicated and committed to improving health through healthier environments for all
  • Some travel is required for this position – two in person meetings and possible travel to fellows’ project sites


  • $40-$50/hour commensurate with experience. This position does not have benefits.
  • We have a weekly team call but otherwise your schedule is flexible, provided the work is completed and deadlines are met.

How to apply:

Please email the following information:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume/CV
  • Writing sample
  • Name, affiliation, and contact information for three references

Email these to Katie Huffling by January 30 and make sure to address any pertinent experience, including professional and personal experience, that is relevant to this position.  If past the deadline, please contact Katie Huffling to see if position is still open.

ANHE is an equal opportunity employer and encourages those from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism


PEER - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 07:31
Lowest Number of New Anti-Pollution Cases in 30 Years
Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Landfill and street recyclers for the first time united and organized in South Africa

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 07:17

Some of the members of ARO who attended the dialogue with members of the public on the 2nd September 2018.

On the 2nd Septemeber 2018, African Reclaimers Association (ARO) introduced itself to the broader public as the first organisation of recyclers that united those who work in landfills and streets. The reclaimers decided to frame this organisation as african because it incorporates all those who are engaged in the recycling trade regardless of their nationality.

ARO logo.

ARO started life as the Interim Johannesburg Reclaimers Committee (IJRC) and was formed initially to respond to the City Of Johannesburg’s decision to displace informal recyclers who collect in the streets by paying private companies to collect recyclables from High-income areas in the city. The City pays these companies to do the work that reclaimers do for free. After repeated appeals for discussion on the then proposed tenders and the possible effect they would have on livelihoods of thousands of people who depend on collecting, transporting, sorting and selling recyclables, the city continued to sign contracts with two private companies. Recyclers were forced to call the first-ever march of the landfill and street recyclers in 2017.

We managed to stop two of the contracts, however, another two were signed. The effects of these contracts have been devastating to incomes of informal reclaimers. Their incomes have declined by over 60% in all areas where private companies were introduced. Research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has shown that close to 90 000 South Africans work as informal recyclers collecting close to 90% of all materials that is recycled. South Africa is ranked third behind countries such as Sweden on its recycling rates. These impressive rates are almost all entirely due to informal recyclers who form the foundation of the recycling economy but often ignored by policy-makers and industry.

ARO wants to change all this. We want South Africa to increase its recycling rates and for informal recyclers to be paid for the free labour they provide, which is the foundation of the recycling economy worth hundreds of million of rands. We collect, sort, transport and sell materials, saving the state and private industry millions and extending the life of landfills. We perform a vital environmental service, removing thousands of tons of discarded materials every year.

Amongst us are university drop-outs, former teachers, ex-mine workers, ex-offenders looking to make an honest living, young people, older people and the precariously employed. Most of us are not looking to be employed by government or private companies, we just want to make a living and be self-employed. We also want to work with residents to make ourselves known as people who share your streets and also want to remove the stigma that our work brings. We are not drug addicts, most of us are men and women with families who work hard to make a living.

We support our children to fund their schooling, we feed and clothe them and we never collect waste. We collect that which is of value but is discarded by many in society. We look forward to meeting residents, industry and government and to make our struggles and contributions to society is known. With ARO we are no longer in the shadows and we look forward to meeting you.

A member of ARO from Village Main Station, listens carefully during the dialogue that Reclaimers held with members of the public at Jozi Book Fair on the 2nd September 2018.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Climate Solidarity: Workers Vs. Warming

IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 18:09

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, February 8, 2017

Workers have no greater interest than to prevent the destruction of the earth’s climate on behalf of themselves and their posterity. But workers often act as an organized force to oppose climate protection measures in the name of their interests as workers. How is such a paradoxical state of affairs possible? How did we get in such a state? How can we change it? How can the working class reorganize itself to fight for climate protection? Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming proposes answers to these questions.

Climate Solidarity presents a vision for the labor climate movement. It offers a comprehensive and at times provocative view of the past, present, and future of organized labor and climate change. It provides a substantive analysis for leaders and activists in the labor climate movement. It presents a well thought out, historically informed analysis both of climate change and of organized labor. Climate Solidarity will be read and discussed by those who will shape labor’s response to the climate crisis.

Jeremy Brecher is the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements, including the labor history classic Strike!, recently published in an expanded fortieth anniversary edition by PM Press. Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming is part of Brecher’s Climate Insurgency Trilogy, along with Climate Insurgency: A Strategy for Survival and Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual.

What’s in Climate Solidarity

The Introduction to Climate Solidarity, “Climate and Work,” poses the paradox of workers producing the greenhouse gases that are producing catastrophe for us and future generations.

Chapter 2, “The World Order of Climate Alienation,” describes the features of the modern world order that helped create and perpetuate climate alienation, including the nation state system, private property, markets, wage labor, and dependence on fossil fuels. It demonstrates how these features can lead workers and our organizations to pursue short-term particular interests at the expense of our long-term common interest in a sustainable, climate-safe planet. It shows how these same features render workers largely powerless to protect the climate should we wish and choose to do so. It explains how short-term particular interests and powerlessness interact to produce climate alienation. It concludes with a broad outline of how these features must be changed to make effective climate protection possible.

Chapter 3, “Worker Movements,” describes the ways in which workers have come together throughout modern history to act on common interests. It shows how worker actions have been rooted in patterns of mutual solidarity, self-organization, and challenge to authority. It describes how worker solidarity, organization, and action have often been restricted to limited groups and objectives. It indicates how those restrictions have limited the power of workers to influence our conditions of existence. And it tells how those limits have often been overcome in new forms of collective action.

Chapter 4, “Organized Labor and Climate Protection,” describes how the tension between the apparent short-term interests of particular groups of American workers in particular climate-destroying activities and workers’ common interest in climate protection have been expressed in two major trade union statements on global warming and in the controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Chapter 5, “The Emergence of Climate Solidarity,” shows many ways in which American workers are expressing our common interests in climate protection and finding ways to act on them.

Chapter 6, “A Climate-Protecting Workers’ Movement,” explores how workers could move beyond short-term special interests in climate-destroying activities to develop broader solidarity and self-organization through the struggle to protect the Earth’s climate.

Chapter 7, “A Worker Climate Action Plan,” proposes a program of social change that workers need to impose on those in authority to eliminate climate alienation.

Chapter 8, “Climate Solidarity vs. the Alienation of Labor,” sums up the central role of worker climate protection in both protection of the earth’s climate and in the self-liberation of workers from a destructive world order.

Read More - Download PDF.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: green unionismgreen syndicalismJust TransitionLabor Network for Sustainabilityenergy democracyclimate justice

Growth and diversity in the U.S.clean energy industry

Work and Climate Change Report - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:34

Two new reports foresee employment growth in the U.S. renewable energy industry – despite the chilling effect of the tariffs on solar equipment imposed  by the Trump administration, as described in a Solar Energy Industry Association press release in December.   The first study, Clean Energy sweeps across rural America  (November 2018) by the Natural Resources Defence Council examines job growth in wind, solar, and energy efficiency in rural regions throughout the Midwest U.S., and finds that the number of clean energy jobs grew by 6 percent from 2015 to 2016 (a higher rate than the economic in general), to a total of  nearly 160,000 in 2017.  In 2017, in the rural parts of every midwestern state except North Dakota and Kansas, more people worked in clean energy than in the entire fossil fuel industry.  The report emphasizes the outsized impact of job opportunities in rural areas in which job growth is normally negligible or even negative. The report also profiles examples of  community solar programs operated by co-ops and investor-owned utilities.

A second report  models the impact of  replacing Colorado’s coal plants with a mix of wind and solar backed by battery storage and natural gas.  This report was prepared by consultants Vibrant Clean Energy and commissioned by energy developer Community Energy Inc., with a main focus on cost savings and carbon emissions.  However, it also forecasts job impacts under three scenarios (keeping coal plants to 2040, gradually retiring coal plants, and retiring all coal plants in 2025), and overall,  it forecasts a 52% increase in employment in the electricity industry.

The January 9 press release  quotes a representative from Community Energy Inc:  “The key to unlocking these benefits is to create a legal framework that enables utilities to voluntarily retire the coal plants. Otherwise, it could take years to negotiate or litigate utility cost recovery, replacement power costs and impact on local communities.” The full Coal Plant Retirement study is here .

Finally, the Solar Energy Industries Association issued a press release in early December, highlighting its 2018 initiatives to improve gender equity and diversity – including the creation of the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which includes summits to increase women’s leadership and various industry opportunities.  In September 2018,  the SEIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding  to help the solar industry recruit and employ more students from the 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  This will include hosting a national jobs fair, individual jobs fairs at the HBCU schools and bringing solar companies to campuses for recruitment.   A webinar series on diversity and inclusion is scheduled for SEIA member companies in 2019.

Canadian youth continue their climate strikes in frigid January weather

Work and Climate Change Report - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 09:52

Children in Canada and around the world  continue to demand climate action from their nations’ policy leaders, following the example of the  now-famous Greta Thunberg.  In the first week of January 2019, according  Greta’s Twitter feed, climate strikes were held in “South Africa, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Czech Rep, Uganda, Nigeria, Faroe Islands, Italy and many more”.    As you would expect, social media plays a huge part in the campaigns, centred on the #Fridays for Future Facebook page  and @fridaysforfuture Twitter account.

In Canada, Twitter accounts to watch are from  @Sophia Mathur , (the 11-year old  Sudbury girl who was the first to join the international campaign – profiled here ); @Student Climate Activist , and Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition , both from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Toronto Climate Future from Toronto and the GTHA , also with a Facebook page here .  The Citizens Climate Lobby is hosting an interactive map  to track climate strikes around the world, and The Climate Pledge Collective offers free resources to  help others organize FridaysforFuture events.

Traditional media have provided fairly limited coverage of the stoic students who  protested in Canadian cities on January 11: from the  Waterloo Record, “On a bitterly cold day in Waterloo, a new type of protest begins”   (Jan. 12) and “Children and youth strike against climate change in Waterloo Region” at (Jan. 11); “Students, climate activists protest provincial climate plan at Queen’s Park” (Jan. 13) from The Varsity, the student newspaper of University of Toronto; and “I want to know the earth will be ok” from the Winnipeg Sun (Jan. 11).  CBC Vancouver reported the previous student climate strike on December 7 ; others are listed in the Work and Climate Change Report summary from December .

And another Canadian youth group to watch:  PowerShift: Young and Rising, who are gathering in Ottawa on February 14 – 18 .  From their announcement: “We will dig deep into discussions on topics including fracking, pipeline politics, Indigenous sovereignty, divestment, and green jobs. We will learn how to make lasting change through community organizing, direct action, art, storytelling, and using traditional and digital media. … PowerShift aims to ensure that once the convergence is over, the youth climate movement continues to grow through our networks, continued capacity building, and strategic action.”



Economists debate decarbonization: optimistic and pessimistic scenarios

Work and Climate Change Report - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 08:21

debate forum , Is Green Growth Possible? was hosted by the Institute for New Economic Thinking in December, consisting of papers by  economists debating whether catastrophic global warming can be stopped while maintaining current levels of economic growth. The arguments are summarized  for the non-economist in “The Case for ‘conditional optimism’ on climate change” by David Roberts in Vox (Dec. 31) .  Economists may be interested in the full papers, which  include “The Road to ‘Hothouse Earth’ is Paved with Good Intentions” and “Why Green Growth is an Illusion”, both by Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm.  The authors conclude that  “..  The world’s current economies are not capable of the emission reductions required to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees. If world leaders insist on maintaining historical rates of economic growth, and there are no step-change advances in technology, hitting that target requires a rate of reduction in carbon intensity for which there is simply no precedent. Despite all the recent hype about decoupling, there’s no historical evidence that current economies are decoupling at anything close to the rate required…. Without a concerted (global) policy shift to deep decarbonization, a rapid transition to renewable energy sources, structural change in production, consumption, and transportation, and a transformation of finance, … the decoupling will not even come close to what is needed.”

The Inconvenient Truth about Climate Change and the Economy”  by  Gregor Semieniuk, Lance Taylor, and Armon Rezai summarizes and analyzes the October 2018 IPCC report, Global Warming of 1.5 °C. ,  finding it overly optimistic about global productivity growth and fossil fuel energy use, and reiterating the argument that politics are holding back climate change solutions. They conclude that “a big mitigation push, perhaps financed by carbon taxes and/or reductions in subsidies, is possible macroeconomically even if the link between energy use and output is not severed. This, however, would require considerable modifications of countries’ macroeconomic arrangements. Needless to say, military establishments and recipients of energy subsidies wield political clout. Fossil fuel producers have at least as much. Whether national preferences will permit big shifts in the use of economic resources is the key question.”

Finally, in “Conditional Optimism: Economic Perspectives on Deep Decarbonization”, author Michael Grubb  takes issue with Schröder and Storm, saying that their papers rely on historical data and rates of change, and thus are characterized by a “pessimism about our ability to change what matters fast enough. ” Grubb states that this “may  be emblematic of a growing trend in energy-climate economics, of what we might term historical futures analysis.”  He lays out a  technical economic critique and suggests four fundamental principles for his own “conditional optimism”, which relies on analysis based on the rate of displacement of carbon intensive energy supply by the growth of alternate sources.


PEER - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 07:21
Oil and Oil Sands Pay No Federal Taxes Despite Potentially Huge Cleanup Costs
Categories: A2. Green Unionism

The Waste Pickers’ Association of Bogota Launches the Plastic Wood Plant

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 06:28

On Friday, December 14, 2018, in Bogota, the plastic wood processing plant of the Waste Pickers’ Association of Bogota was launched. This event is of special importance for all the waste pickers of Colombia, since it became possible due to the remuneration coming from the recognition that waste pickers and their organizations have received as public service providers of waste recovery in Colombia and also, since it embodies the right to expand across the recycling value chain; a right which is also enshrined in the National Constitution of Colombia.

This plant will enable the processing of multiple types of post-consumer plastic packages which do not have a market in Colombia. With them, construction solutions will be produced in the first place for waste pickers and then, in a wide range of opportunity niches. This process had the technical support of the Foundation “llena una botella de amor” (fill up a bottle with love), which started this productive initiative several years ago in the municipality of Rionegro (Antioquia). Today, they have increased their effort to build housing solutions around the whole country and in other Latin American countries.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Can unions deliver good green jobs at Tesla?

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 15:07

The “Driving a Fair Future” website has documented the complaints against Tesla for years – including an analysis of  Tesla injury rates between 2014 and 2017 at its Freemont California plant, which showed that injuries were 31% higher than industry standards.  In June 2018, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board  began to hear some of the workers’ complaints of safety violations and anti-union harassment, with the United Auto Workers representing them.  Two themes have emerged in the saga of Tesla’s bad labour relations:  1. how can the apparently “green jobs” become decent, good jobs?  and  2. would unionization at Tesla give a toehold at other precarious Silicon Valley workplaces such as Google, Amazon, and their like.

“Tesla’s Union Battle Is About the Future of Our Planet” (Oct. 9) in Medium describes the union drive at the Freemont California electric vehicle  manufacturing plant, in light of its environmental mission. The article contends : “ This case isn’t just about Tesla. It’s about the future of an industry that sees itself as key to addressing the climate crisis. Clean tech companies peddle a progressive vision of a low-carbon future, but Tesla’s anti-union fervor suggests that some in the industry have lost sight of their work’s bigger point.”

Workers from Tesla’s solar panel factory in Buffalo New York  expressed similar sentiments in interviews with the  local news organization . Taking pride in their green jobs, they are seeking better pay, benefits, and job security through a unionization drive announced in December.  The Tesla Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo received $750 million in taxpayer funding for the state-of-the-art solar production facility, promising new jobs in a high unemployment area; the unionization campaign involves about 300 production and maintenance employees in a partnership between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers. The drive is endorsed by the Labor Network for Sustainability , which states: “We are hearing a lot about the need for a Green New Deal that will provide millions of good jobs helping protect the climate. These Tesla workers represent the Green New Deal in action.” Follow developments on the Facebook page of the Coalition for Economic Justice Buffalo.

Implications for High Tech workers: Why Elon Musk’s latest legal bout with the United Auto Workers may have ripple effects across Silicon Valley” is a thorough overview  about the UAW unionization drive at Tesla’s auto  manufacturing plant at Freemont California, from CNBC   in early December.  Similar themes appeared in  “What Tesla’s union-busting trial means for the rest of Silicon Valley” appeared in Verge in September 2018,  chronicling the arguments of the UAW and Tesla management – including Elon Musk and his tweets – during the NLRB hearings  in June 2018.   The article concludes that “Tesla’s case [is] a bellwether — particularly for Amazon. … Tesla might be a car company, but it’s also a tech company — and if its workers can unionize, tech workers elsewhere are bound to start getting ideas.”

What is life like for these high tech workers? A New Kind of Labor Movement in Silicon Valley” in The Atlantic (Sept. 4  )  gives a good overview, and introduces nascent groups as Silicon Valley Rising  and Tech Workers Coalition  .


Economists weigh in on deceptive carbon pricing messages

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 12:32

Economist Brenda Frank contributes to the ongoing battle of ideas about carbon pricing in Canada with his  January 9 blog : “Carbon pricing works even when emissions are rising”. Frank begins:  “An old, debunked argument against carbon taxes has flared up recently: If total emissions aren’t falling, the tax must not be working. Let’s quash that myth.”  Continuing the arguments he published in a 2017 blog, “The curious case of counterfactuals”, his central question is, “if emissions are still rising, how fast would they have been rising without a carbon price?”  He cites recent studies, such as “The Impact of British Columbia’s Carbon Tax on Residential Natural Gas Consumption” (in  Energy Economics, Dec. 2018), as well as  the extensive carbon pricing reports produced by the Ecofiscal Commission, most recently Clearing the Air: How carbon pricing helps Canada fight climate change (April 2018).  The  conclusion: carbon pricing is more “complicated than something you can fit in a tweet”, and  complex analysis demonstrates that it does work.

Marc Hafstead , U.S. economist and Director of the Carbon Pricing Initiative pursues a similar theme in  “Buyer Beware: An Analysis of the Latest Flawed Carbon Tax Report” ( November 28).   Hafstead contends that “some papers can introduce confusion and misinformation”, and demonstrates how this is done in  The Carbon Tax: Analysis of Six Potential Scenarios , a study commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research and conducted by Capital Alpha Partners.  Hafstead critiques the modelling assumptions and concludes they are flawed ; he also charges that the paper fails to explain its differences from the prevailing academic literature.

Even without Hafstead’s economic skills, one might be wary of the U.S. paper after a check of the DeSmog’s  Global Warming Disinformation Database , which provides mind-blowing detail about the financial and personnel connections between the Institute for Energy Research and  Koch Industries . DeSmog maintains records on organizations and individuals engaged in “climate change disinformation” in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Review of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and carbon levy; updates on renewables and methane regulations

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 08:21

Environmental Defence released a report in December 2018, Carbon Pricing in Alberta: A review of its success and impacts  . According to the report, Alberta’s carbon levy, introduced in 2017 as part of the broader Climate Leadership Plan, has had no detrimental effect on the economy, and in fact, all key economic indicators (weekly consumer spending, consumer price index,and gross domestic product) improved in 2017. The report also documents how the carbon levy revenues have been invested: for example, over $1 billion used to fund consumer rebates and popular energy efficiency initiatives in 2017; support for Indigenous communities, including employment programs; a 500% growth in solar installations; funding for an expansion of light rail transit systems in Calgary and Edmonton; and prevention of an estimated 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. The conclusion: the Climate Leadership Plan and its carbon levy is off to a good start, but improvement is needed on promised methane reduction regulations , and the regulations to enforce the legislated cap on oil sands emissions need to be released.

Methane Regulations:    The Alberta Environmental Law Centre published a report in 2017 evaluating the province’s methane emissions regulations. On December 13, the government released new, final regulations governing methane. On December 19, the Alberta Environmental Law Centre published a summary of the new Regulations here  

Since the Environmental Defence study, on December 17, the government announced  agreement on five new wind projects funded by Carbon Leadership revenues, through the  Renewable Electricity Program. Three of the five projects are private-sector partnerships with First Nations, and include a minimum 25 per cent Indigenous equity component to stimulate jobs, skills training and other  economic benefits. The government claims that all five projects will generate 1000 jobs.

On  December 19 the government also  announced   new funding of  $50 million from Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan for the existing  Sector-specific Industrial Energy Efficiency Program , to support technology improvements in the  trade-exposed industries of pulp and paper, chemical, fertilizer, minerals and metals facilities.

Balanced against this, a December 31 government press release summarized how its “Made in Alberta ” policies have supported the oil and gas industry: including doubling of support for petrochemical upgrading to $2.1 billion; creation of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) investment team to work directly with industry to expedite fossil fuel projects; political fights for new pipelines (claiming that “Premier Notley’s advocacy was instrumental in the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline”), and the ubiquitous Keep Canada Working  advertisements promoting the benefits of the Trans Mountain pipeline . The press release also references the November announcement that the province will buy rail cars  to ship oil in the medium term,  and the December 11 press release announcing that the province is  exploring  private-sector interest in building a new oil refinery .

First Informal European meeting of waste pickers and second hands operators

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 05:38

The first Informal European meeting of waste pickers and second hands operators Towards an European network took place in Torino, on November 21st at Eco dalle Città in Torino, Italia.

The meeting was convened by Amelior, Rete ONU and ViviBalon to begin a process of building a European network promoted and focused on waste pickers, which could become a reference point for the second hands sector at European level.

In fact, this sector today does not have a broad and important representation, that can dialogue with the Community institutions and which can represent the needs of the operators. With second hand sector, we mean the workers who go through others’ trash and recollect reusable objects.

The participants exchanged information on their activities and shared the good practices that could be the object of comparison and exchange.

All the participants stressed the need to have a point of reference in addition to national ones to enhance:

  1. The profile and identity of waste pickers in Europe.
  2. The common characteristics of those who work in the second hand sector.
  3. The need for political representation among institutional actors, starting from the EU.
  4. The possibility of carrying out common transnational projects.
  5. The importance of enhancing the social and environmental impact of operators and more generally of the re-use sector.
  6. The opportunity for waste pickers to become the driver of the re-use sector.

Rete ONU, ViviBalon and Amelior have made available their willingness to work in the coming months to find further contacts in other European countries and resources for which to convene an extended meeting of the sector.

Provide your email in the following form if you want to get updates of this process or leave a comment to this post:


  • Alessandro Stillo, Rete ONU, Italy
  • Pietro Luppi, Rete ONU, Italy
  • Salvatore Planeta e Cristina Grosso, Associazione ViviBalon, Torino, Italy
  • Aleramo Virgili, Rete di Sostegno ai Mercatini ROM, Roma, Italy
  • Paolo Hutter, Eco dalle Città-Ecomori, Torino, Italy
  • Mauro Fedele, Consorzio Equo, Italy
  • Samuel Le Coeur, Amelior, Montreux-Parigi, France
  • Sonja Barbul, Papusza, Austria/Roma Nation
  • Arijan Toska, Macedonian Business Resource Center, Fyrom, Macendonia
  • Massimo Castiglia e Daniela Messina, Comune di Palermo, Italy
  • Pier Andrea Moiso, Cooperativa Triciclo, Torino, Italy
Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Canada joins the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Work and Climate Change Report - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:44

Canada officially became a member of the the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)  on January 9th, on the eve of the 9th Session of the Assembly in Abu Dhabi, where  1,200 delegates from more than 160 governments, the private sector and civil society met. IRENA describes itself as: “an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.”

Canada’s membership  brings to 160 the number of countries participating in IRENA, and will make it easier for Canadians to place their renewable energy development in an international context, by inclusion such flagship publications , such as the  Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review  . Recently, Vancouver B.C. was profiled as a case study in the IRENA publication Scaling up Renewables in Cities: Opportunities for Municipal Governments .

The official press release from Canada’s ministry of Natural Resources was brief, and did not indicate any future plans for Canada’s involvement in IRENA research activities.   Some context is provided in a news item from the National Observer  . 


PEER - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 07:19
Humans and Wildlife at Risk by End of Critical Monitoring and Pollution Testing
Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Sure We Can’s Challenges and Hopes at the End of 2018 and Beginning of 2019

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 04:33

We have been revitalized, re-charged and re-energized by the recyclers’ gathering we participated in in October 2018, in Buenos Aires. Thanks to the organizers, the hosts, the fund searchers, and all the participants! The 2020 Recyclers’ Congress is something to dream about and long for during the coming year.

Back at home in New York City, we are facing challenges with the space we use for our operations. The lease ends at the end of January 2019, and the owner wants to sell it. Sure We Can has the ‘option to buy’ (priority to buy it), but the price ($ 3 million) is not at all doable for us. We are knocking on all possible doors. Thanks to this challenge, we have contacted groups like the New Economy Project; groups that could be good partners for many other areas and concerns during the year ahead.

We had been in conversations with our District Councilman, Antonio Reynoso, regarding the space problem. In the past few weeks we scheduled two appointments with him, and both were cancelled at the last minute. We were preparing data about the importance of our service to the City (Reynoso is the Chair of the Sanitation Committee of NYC City Hall). In the process of waiting, we discovered a great study published this December: Employment and Economic Impact of Container Deposits. (This study will be in Eunomia’s web very soon to download for free). The study gives reliable data of the economic impacts at present (see chart), but also predicts greater impacts with a modernized system. Modernized means an expansion of the scope: to include other recyclable containers that currently don’t have a deposit, and to increase the deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents, among others.

Eunomia had opened their first USA office in NYC; and Sarah Edwards, the CEO of the new office, is more than willing to join us for the meeting with Reynoso. In this way, despite our initial frustration, it was GOOD they postponed our meeting two times. Now, Sarah will be able to come with us to the meeting which has since been re-scheduled for January 7. A very much-needed partnership (for data gathering, analysis, policymaking and advocacy) has started.

“This is both an exciting and challenging time to start trading in the USA. Despite federal government inaction, states, cities, businesses and grassroots organisations will continue to drive positive environmental change. We look forward to working with them to deliver sustainable long term solutions.” (Sarah Edwards)

Last December 14, 2017, a graduate student from New York University presented his final project: a photo essay about Sure We Can’s reality. Hence, this time we have good pictures to share with all of you!

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Updated: Agreement reached between RCMP and Wet’suwet’en First Nation protesters after arrests in B.C.

Work and Climate Change Report - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 12:14

Despite the high praise for British Columbia’s new Clean B.C. strategy released  on December 5,  B.C. has a problem – supporting the $40 billion LNG Canada facility makes it almost impossible for the province to reach its GHG reduction targets. (Marc Lee his most recent critique in “BC’s shiny new climate plan: A look under the hood”.)  And on January 7, the headlines began screaming about another problem related to LNG Canada, as the RCMP began to enforce an injunction granted by B.C.’s Supreme Court, arresting fourteen members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

The Wet’suwet’en  built a fortified barrier on a remote forest service road near Houston, B.C., about 300 kilometres west of Prince George, to prevent construction workers from TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Corp.) and their pipeline subsidiary Coastal GasLink. The company maintains that they have signed agreements with all First Nations along the pipeline route, but those agreements have been made with elected chiefs and councils of the five Wet’suwet’en bands. The hereditary chiefs maintain that the agreements do not apply to traditional lands.  The Vancouver Sun provides good local coverage atFourteen people arrested after RCMP break down anti-pipeline checkpoint“;   The Tyee explains the background and issues in “Nine Things You Need to Know about the Unist’ot’en Blockade” ; The Energy Mix  writes “Negotiations Seek ‘Peaceful Solution’ At Unist’ot’en After RCMP Arrest 14 Blocking Coastal Gaslink Pipeline” (Jan. 9) .

First Nations viewpoint appears in a series of posts at APTN News, including: “An act of war’: Gidimt’en clan prepares for police raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory” (Jan. 5);  “Researchers say RCMP action against Wet’suwet’en would place corporate interests over Indigenous rights” (Jan. 6) ; and “RCMP set up ‘exclusion zones’ for public and media as raid on B.C. camps start (Jan. 7) . According to those reports, “The Gidmit’en Clan, whose members are at the second check point, have called any RCMP raid an “act of war.”

Not all First Nations oppose the LNG Canada project.  In a summary of a Canada 2020 conference in Ottawa on December 13 , First Nations speakers  included Larry Villeneueve, Aboriginal Liaison with Local 92 of LiUNA, (involved in four training sites in western Canada for a skilled Indigenous workforce); Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, now Co-Chair of Indigenous Affairs Committee at LiUNA; and Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation.  In An open letter to opponents and critics of LNG development   on the Haisla Nation website, Crystal Smith writes: “We urge you to think strongly about how your opposition to LNG developments is causing harm to our people and our wellbeing. Opposition does nothing towards empowering our Nation, but rather dismisses our Rights and Title and works towards separating our people from real benefits.” As this issue has heated up, on January 8 she posted “Investing in ourselves is not selling out” .

Rallies in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en resistance have been coordinated through a Facebook campaign, International Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en , and reports indicate turnout across Canada, including Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Montreal, New Brunswick, Whitehorse, and Calgary.  The APTNews  (Jan. 9) includes photos and video;  Regional CBC outlets have also covered the story:  “Protesters across Canada support Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps  (Jan. 8);  “Protesters, counter protesters gather in downtown Calgary after B.C. pipeline arrests” ; “Protests in Regina, Saskatoon show solidarity with B.C. First Nation fighting pipelines”  (Jan. 8).  The National Observer reports that the Prime Minister was forced by protesters to change the time and venue of his address to First Nations leaders in Ottawa on January 8th. Prime Minister Trudeau is visiting Kamloops on January 9 but has declined to visit the protest camp.

UPDATES: On January 9, the National Observer reported on a press conference with B.C. Premier Horgan, at which he asserted that “his government believed it had met its obligations to consult with Indigenous nations in approving TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink project by receiving the “free, prior, and informed” consent that is referenced in United Nations declarations on indigenous rights.”  He sees sees “no quick fix” to the issue and did not set out any path forward.

An “uneasy peace” was reached between the RCMP and the Wet’suwet’en protesters on January 9, allowing workers access to the  Coastal GasLink pipeline construction site in order to avoid a second RCMP raid on the protest camp. According to  “‘Peaceful Resolution’ to Unist’ot’en Blockade Allows Access, Not Construction, Chiefs Say” in The Energy Mix (Jan. 11)    and a related CBC report, “it’s a temporary solution to de-escalate things while everyone figures out their next moves.”

What comes next? Construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline is certainly not settled, not only because of the issue of  Wet’suwet’en permission to build on heriditary lands  (that issue explained here ).  There is also dispute over whether or not the pipeline falls under provincial or federal jurisdiction – an issue to be addressed by the National Energy Board in April. Read Andrew Nikoforuk in “Is Coastal GasLink an Illegal Pipeline?” in The Tyee (Jan. 11) or  “Coastal GasLink pipeline permitted through illegal process, lawsuit contends” in The Narwhal .

An analysis in The Energy Mix, “Pipeline Investment ‘Goes Palliative’ in Wake of Unist’ot’en Blockade”  (Jan. 13) compiles responses to the blockade from several media outlets, and sketches out two themes. The first, Canada has provided yet another example of how unattractive and uncertain it is to energy investors; the second: First Nations concerns are represented by  both hereditary and elected leaders. “As long as they [the government]  are willing to resort to force instead of diplomacy, we haven’t even begun to engage in meaningful reconciliation.”


Green New Deal – an opportunity for the U.S. and for Labour

Work and Climate Change Report - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 10:45

As the U.S. Congress returned for its 116th Session in January 2019, newly-elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal  have become the symbols of the “freshmen” class in Washington. The term is now everywhere – as shown by  “What’s the Deal with the Green New Deal” from the Energy Institute at Haas, University of California at Berkeley, which coins the acronym “GND” and shows a graph of the Twitter traffic on the topic.  More substantially, the article critiques the economic, job creation proposals in the Green New Deal proposal, as does economist Edward B. Barbier in “How to make the next Green New Deal work” in on January 1. From a Canadian, much less conservative viewpoint, Thomas Clayton-Muller discussed a Canadian version called the “Good work Guarantee”, as proposed by  in “Canada needs its own Green New Deal. Here’s what it could look like” in the National Observer (Nov. 29) , and Matt Price urged unions to follow the lead in “Unions Should Go Big on a Green New Deal for Canada” in an Opinion piece in The Tyee  (Dec. 10) .

Jeremy Brecher and Joe Uehlein of the  Labor Network for Sustainability write “The Green New Deal provides a visionary program for labor and can provide a role for unions in defining and leading a new vision for America” in “12 Reasons Labor Should Demand a Green New Deal” in Portside. The article reviews the history of the original U.S. New Deal, but more importantly, shows how the Green New Deal can help U.S. labour unions reclaim bargaining power, political power, and good jobs.  They conclude with a long list of Labour goals for any Green New Deal, including: Restore the right to organize: Bargain collectively and engage in concerted action on the job; Guarantee the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly in the workplace; Restore the right to strike; Guarantee the right to a safe and healthy work environment; Provide a fair and just transition for workers whose jobs may be threatened by economic change; Establish fair labor standards; Establish strong state and local prevailing wage laws; Encourage industry-wide bargaining; Establish a “buy fair” and “buy local” procurement policy. They conclude with suggestions for how unions can support a Green New Deal .  Héctor Figueroa ,  President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union also urges other unions to support the GND, and describes its importance for his union in “For the Future of Our Communities, Labor Support for The Green New Deal” in Common Dreams (Dec. 13) .

The political story of the Green New Deal revolves around the negotiations to form a House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, summarized in a great article from Inside Climate News, “New Congress Members See Climate Solutions and Jobs in a Green New Deal” (Jan. 3).  HR-1, the first Bill tabled by the Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party in the new House of Representatives is a  60-page statement, which establishes the mandate of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in Section 104, (pages 46-49). Reaction from the Sunrise Movement  stated:  “The mandate for @nancypelosi‘s Climate Select Committee is out, and it’s everything we feared. No mandate to create a plan on the timeline mandated by top scientists; No language on economic & racial justice, or a just transition; Allows members to accept fossil fuel money. As well, it lacks power to supoena.” Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash is extensively quoted in  “They Failed Us Once Again’: House Democrats Denounced for Dashing Hopes of Green New Deal”  from Common Dreams (Jan. 3), and though disappointed, she states: “In losing this fight on the Select Committee, we have won the biggest breakthrough on climate change in my lifetime.”

The Select Committee is  not the only political avenue to deal with climate change. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Democractic Representative Frank Pallone, announced it will hold its first hearing on climate change, as reported by The Hill  . And prospective Democratic presidential candidates are under pressure, as described in “Green Leftists Prepare to Give Democratic Candidates Hell” in the New Republic (Jan. 4) .