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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #132

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 17, 2016

News of interest to green unionists:

Automation, Climate Change and Donald Trump: What Kind of Future Are We In For? - By John Light, Bill Moyers & Company, December 5, 2016 - Author Peter Frase combines science fiction and Marxist theory to imagine possible outcomes, for better and for worse.

CTA workers plan contract protest, but no service disruptions - By Jordan Owen, Chicago Sun-Times, December 20, 2016 - CTA workers will take part in a “day of action” across the city Wednesday to demand a fair contract, but do not plan to inconvenience commuters.

Coral Not Coal; Australian Activists Fight To Save the Great Barrier Reef - By Maxine Newlands, The Ecologist, December 15, 2016 - Carmichael mine will provide 600 initial jobs to a region suffering with 10% unemployment, the second highest in Australia. Original predictions of 10,000 jobs were disproved in court, with "the correct jobs figures" downgrading the jobs estimated by Adani. There will be 1,464 net jobs, not the Adani figure of 10,000," says Environmental Defence Office (EDO) CEO, Jo-Ann Bragg.

Dairy and Poultry in India—Growing Corporate Concentration, Losing Game for Small Producers  - By staff, La Via Campesina, December 21, 2016 - Despite India’s booming success in cooperative models of production, especially the dairy cooperative movement that turned it from a milk deficient country to the world’s highest milk producer, there is a growing push towards free trade, privatization and hyper competitiveness.

Diamond Pipeline Company Admits The Massive Project Will Only Create 15 Permanent Jobs - By Emerson Urry, EnviroNews TV, December 14, 2016 -  Jobs, jobs, jobs — that’s about all anyone ever heard from supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline before that project went down in flames at the hands of the State Department earlier this year. Opponents continuously pushed back that Keystone XL would have created less than 40 permanent jobs while putting the environment at great risk. But that didn’t matter to KXL cheerleaders. They just kept on a truckin’ with their “jobs, jobs, jobs” sales pitch, despite what the permanent jobs numbers really were.

Dirty Threads, Dangerous Factories: Health and Safety in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry - By Garment Worker Center and Others, UCLA Labor Center, December 9, 2016 - In collaboration with the Garment Worker Center and UCLA Occupational Safety and Health (UCLA LOSH), the UCLA Labor Center just released Dirty Threads, Dangerous Factories: Health and Safety in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry. The study finds that fast fashion, an approach that moves garments from design to shelf at an accelerated pace, leads to dangerous working conditions for garment workers.

Energy Efficiency Is Growing Jobs & Fueling The Economy - By Sheryl Carter, NRDC, December 19, 2016 - 2016 marks another year in a long string of significant gains for energy efficiency—making efficiency not only the most cost-effective way to meet our energy needs, avoid the need for more dirty power plants, and cut people’s utility bills—but also to grow our economy and create jobs. The uncertainty about policy under the new Administration, and nominations like Rick Perry for the Department of Energy, may lead some to wonder whether this positive trend will continue into 2017 and beyond.

EPA Slams Big Ag’s Syngenta on Farmworker Safety Violations - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, December 19, 2016 - The the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint last week against agrichemical giant Syngenta for putting the health and safety of farmworkers on Kauai at risk by violating several federal pesticide regulations. The agency says Syngenta failed to tell workers to avoid fields recently treated with restricted-use pesticides, resulting in the hospitalization of several workers. Restricted-use pesticides are so toxic that they are not available to the general public. According to EPA, Syngenta allegedly “allowed or directed workers to enter the treated field before the required waiting period had passed, and without proper personal protective equipment. After the workers’ exposure, Syngenta failed to provide adequate decontamination supplies onsite and failed to provide prompt transportation for emergency medical attention.”

A Guide To Inspiring Climate Action In The Age Of Trump - By Jeremy Deaton, Clean Technica, December 15, 2016 - In deep-red states like Texas and Iowa, wind energy is creating jobs and shrinking electric bills. In Oklahoma, Florida and Georgia, Tea Party Republicans are clamoring for solar power. Small towns in rural America have embraced renewable energy. This is where climate advocates have the greatest opportunity to reach the right wing — on the promise of clean power.

Gutting The EPA Will Put Millions Of Lives, And The Economy, At Risk - By Farron Cousins, DeSmog Blog, December 17, 2016 - If Trump follows through on his promise to get rid of the Clean Power Rules, it would result in a net economic loss for the United States. As the rules stand right now, they would save both states and citizens on their utility bills, in addition to creating an estimated 74,000 to 243,000 new jobs in the United States. The economic multiplier effect tells us that every job created will have a ripple effect through the economy, resulting in more and more jobs being created due to increased spending by citizens and increased demand for goods. If the Clean Power Rules are eliminated, these jobs will never manifest, resulting in untold economic losses.

If our protests against Donald Trump aren't strategic, they will fail - By Stephen Crowley, The Guardian, December 16, 2016 - The decision to halt the Dakota Access pipeline was a huge victory for Native Americans and environmentalists. But a decisive factor in the Department of Army’s decision might have been the thousands of veterans who mobilized to block the pipeline. If an anti-Trump movement could draw in veterans, police officers, rank-and-file union members, in whatever number, it could prove unstoppable.

Leaked Report Reveals BP Safety Failures as It Heads Back to Gulf of Mexico - By Maeve McClenaghan and Lawrence Carter, Greenpeace EnergyDesk, December 13, 2016 - The confidential document handed to Energydesk and shared with the Financial Times, reveals serious weaknesses in the way the company manages critical  information and reporting of incidents at its refineries and oil rigs. It went on to claim the failures got close to two potentially lethal accidents and was costing the firm $180m a year.

MTA union workers threaten strike if contract demands aren’t met - By Vincent Barone, AM New York, December 14, 2016 - The union that represents MTA bus and subway workers is shaping its contract requests around the dangers of the job — and workers have threatened to strike if terms aren’t met.

New Yorkers brave cold to turn up the heat on New York to divest from fossil fuels - By Betámia Coronel, Fossil Free, December 16, 2016 - Most importantly, this report highlighted that pension funds have become one of the largest contributors to divestment commitments. This past year we witnessed major cities like Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Washington DC commit to divest, proving that New York is dangerously behind the times.

ND Farm Bureau can still do the right thing - By Jeri Lynn Bakken, Dakota Resources Council, December 12, 2016 - North Dakota’s voters understand the way to build strong communities is to ensure family farmers live in the communities they serve and have a stake in the land they work.  They also understand that strong communities build a strong state where the people working the land contribute to the economy and preserve the environment—They understood this in the midst of the great economic depression of the 1930’s and they understand it today.

NRC E-Mail: Pilgrim Plant ‘Overwhelmed’ Trying to Run Station - By staff, CapeCod.Com, December 7, 2016 - "One of the issues that they described is that the workers are under pressure to keep the reactor running. Entergy staff don’t want to investigate problems because they might have to shut down the reactor to fix it," Turco added.

Philadelphia launches $1 billion green jobs plan - Katie Colaneri, NPR, December 14, 2016 - Philadelphia is moving forward with an ambitious plan to create 10,000 “green jobs” over 10 years. It involves investing $1 billion in public and private money into energy efficiency projects in all city-owned buildings, schools, as well as 25,000 low-to-moderate-income homes and 2,500 small businesses.

Pilgrim nuclear plant staff said to be ‘overwhelmed’ - By Travis Andersen, Boston Globe, December 8, 2016 - Staff at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station appear to be “overwhelmed” and struggling to improve performance at the facility, which has a poor safety record and is set to close in less than three years, according to an internal memo from a federal regulator made public on Tuesday.

Plea for a global plan to combat occupational cancer - By staff, European Trade Union Institute, December 19, 2016 - Dr Jukka Takala, a world expert on work-related cancer, considers it necessary to establish a global programme for eliminating carcinogens in the workplace. ‘Cancer is the primary cause of death in the workplace,’ he stated on 16 December 2016 at an ETUI monthly forum.

Removal of Import Duty on Wheat will destroy North Indian Farmers: warns Bharatiya Kisan Union - By staff, La Via Campesina, December 21, 2016 -  Farm leaders from Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and outer Delhi attended a meeting organized by Bharatiya Kisan Union (a member of La Via Campesina) at the Punjab Bhavan in New Delhi and laid forth their concerns about crumbling rural agriculture and their immediate demands to address this.

Searching for Justice in Appalachia - By Nick Mullins, The Thoughtful Coal Miner, December 18, 2016 - "Since leaving the mining industry six years ago, I’ve gone in search of justice for Appalachia. It has been a hard journey coping with the deepening realities of our situation and the staggering amount of damage that’s been inflicted upon our communities—culturally, economically, and environmentally. I’m not going to lie. There have been many times I’ve wanted to give up and just find a quiet little farm off to ourselves, but I can’t. Perhaps it’s sheer insanity, but I can’t stop fighting."

This Southern Rail Conductor Will Change Your Mind About The Strikes - By Nick Ferrari, LBC, December 14, 2016 - John Chew, who has been a conductor for 17 years, gave Nick pause for thought as he perfectly explained why it is so important for train doors to be operated by a guard rather than the driver.

Transnational coalition calls for fair working conditions on digital platforms - By staff, European Trade Union Institute, December 15, 2016 - On 14 September, a network of European and North American labour unions and worker organisations called for transnational cooperation to ensure fair working conditions on digital labour platforms (such as clickworker, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Jovoto and Uber).

"3% of the farms control 50% of the arable lands in the EU": Kaya Thomas at the FAO workshop on implementation of VGGT - By Kaya Thomas, La Via Campesina, December 14, 2016 - At the FAO Workshop on the Implementation of Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT), held in Budapest Hungary, Kaya Thomas from Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL) /ECVC spoke at length about land fragmentation, collapsing rural infrastructure and contradictory land laws. Here is the full text of her speech that she delivered on behalf of CSOs and social movements.

Washington State Bets Retirement Funds on Fracked Gas and Petrochemicals - By Eric de Place, Sightline Institute, December 14, 2016 - ...Yet the state of Washington may help bankroll this project—quietly betting state employees’ retirement funds on a huge new methanol refinery in Kalama.

What A California Refinery Town Can Teach America - By Vincent Barone, Bill Moyers & Company, December 13, 2016 - A soon-to-be-published book by a longtime labor organizer chronicles how a grass-roots democracy movement overcame corporate money.

Why Coal Is Not Our Future - By Riduna, Skeptical Science, December 15, 2016 - Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has repeatedly asserted that coal will remain in use for electricity generation for ‘many, many decades to come’. He argues that moving to renewable energy would reduce production and use of coal resulting in unacceptable loss of mining and transport jobs, particularly in rural areas. However, the threat of larger job losses did not stop his predecessor from withdrawing subsidies for the car industry, resulting in its closure nationwide - action supported by the present Prime Minister.

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