You are here

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #136

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 20, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Agroecology Is Booming in Argentina - By Fabiana Frayssinet, Inter Press Service, January 17, 2017 - Members of the association have a different concept of what is organic. “It’s when they have no social or economic poisons either. When there is no exploitation, or gender-based wage differences, or child labour. Everything has to conserve a balance,” she said.

Aslef rail union boss Mick Whelan: ‘I'm not a great fan of glorious defeats’ - By Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian, January 14, 2017 - It would be hard enough to win over the public without a hostile media determined to monster him as an extremist who promised “10 years of passenger hell” (he insists he never said these words to transport secretary Chris Grayling); hypocritical (photographs of him travelling on the trains he says are dangerous); and greedy (his pay package is often quoted as £137,000, though this includes pension and national insurance contributions; his actual salary is £94,000.) Some of the “exposés” have been laughable – not least that he lives in a “£500,000” house in Wembley (cheap for London).

As Trump takes office, job growth is pushing GOP governors to embrace renewables - By Peter Maloney, Utility Dive, January 17, 2017 - Three Republican governors recently strengthened the renewable portfolio standards in their states in a sign that the link between job growth and renewable energy incentives may be trumping traditional partisan affiliations.

BC trades union says it's been radio silence from Kinder Morgan on pipeline jobs - Matt Lee, CHED 630 AM, January 13, 2017 - “We’ve tried to engage but to this point we’re a little shocked at the lack of engagement. If Kinder Morgan hopes to have shovels in the ground by September of this year, I think we need to sit down and have a discussion about what the requirements are going to be.”

Call: Join the seventh “We are fed up with agro industry!” demonstration in Berlin - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 19, 2017 - Agri businesses: Take your hands off our food!

Check out the route! 2017 Return for Human Rights Tour only two months away - By dtaff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 18, 2017 - 2,000-mile route of major spring action charts path from Immokalee through the heart of Wendy’s territory in the midwest.

Climate Change Is Already Displacing Mexican Campesinos - By Amy McDermott, Telesur, January 12, 2017 - Right now, the primary factors driving Mexicans to migrate to the United States are better economic prospects or family connections — both of which can be twisted up with climate change. But in Mexico and around the world, climate changes tend to reshuffle populations within borders, too. Droughts and floods, in particular, often trigger shorter-distance moves, largely from rural areas into cities.

Commission and Council milk powder adds to the dairy overflow - By Jose Miguel Pacheco, Philippe Collin et Victor Pereira, and Stéphanie Delhaye et Henri Lecloux, La Via Campesina, January 19, 2017 - On January 23rd, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), along with the European Milk Board (EMB), will demonstrate in front of the Justus Lipsius building – Rue de la Loi 175, 1000 Brussels, against the placement of milk powder resulting from public intervention, and in defence of the restoration of regulatory instruments on milk production in the EU.

Demand accountability for the Marikana Massacre! Protest the Lonmin AGM! - By Liam Barrington-Bush, London Mining Network, January 14, 2017 - Since the police killings of 34 striking mine workers in August 2012, British-South African mining firm, Lonmin, has failed to live up to many of its social commitments to the workers and the survivors of the deadly attack. Join South African Bishop Johannes Seoka outside the Lonmin AGM to demand accountability from the company and its investors.

Environmental Safeguards Provide Billions In Economic Benefits - By Farrin Cousins, DeSmog Blog, January 14, 2017 - These economic benefits come in several forms, the most obvious being the money being spent directly to create jobs for those tasked with enforcing the rules. But the biggest economic boost comes from longer life spans and better overall health that people experience from breathing cleaner air and living in areas with reduced water pollution.

European Commission fails to protect workers against diesel fumes - By staff, European Trade Union Institute, January 11, 2017 - On 10 January, the European Commission published its second draft of the revised Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work. The omission of diesel engine exhaust from this draft has prompted criticism by the European trade union movement.

Federal Animal Disease Lab Awash in Deficiencies - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 12, 2017 - The nation’s premier wildlife disease laboratory suffers from a number of serious deficiencies and deviations from accepted scientific standards which raise questions about the validity of its research, according to a complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The facility studies both animal diseases, such as White Nose Syndrome in bats and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, elk, and moose, as well as diseases transmitted to humans, such as Avian Influenza and West Nile Virus.

First German Doctors’ Pension Fund divests from coal - By staff, Fossil Free, January 18, 2017 - Another divestment success as the Berlin Doctor's Pension Fund has committed to partially divest from coal companies, and doctors continue to push for full divestment from all coal, oil and gas companies.

500-Plus Organizations Call for Rejection of Scott Pruitt as EPA Head - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, January 18, 2017 - In addition to many high-profile environmental organizations, notable signatories include NAACP, Hispanic Federation, Communications Workers of America, Working Families Party, National Nurses United, Breast Cancer Action, Indigenous Environmental Network, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, Our Revolution, PDA, CREDO and Daily Kos.

For an agricultural and food policy at the service of the people! - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 12, 2017 - Today, the European Coordination Via Campesina will present the basis for its engagement in the debate for the future CAP, in order to set up an Agricultural and Food Policy that truly answers the needs of the European peoples and that shows the human and responsible face of Europe.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants to Close in 2021 - By Rick Pezzullo, Hudson Independent, January 18, 2017 - According to Entergy, about 1,000 employees work at the Indian Point Energy Center and opportunities within the company will be offered to those interested in continuing employment.

Keane introduces bills to preserve Colstrip power, aid workers - By Jayme Fraser, The Missoulian, January 17, 2017 - The state needs to try to keep Colstrip units open as long as possible, and start planning for how to transition its economy and workers when jobs there are lost, Rep. Jim Keane told a legislative committee on Monday.

The Keystone Pipeline Network Could Soon Be Completed Under Trump, But Will It Be Safe? - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, January 17, 2017 - Trump insisted during his campaign that people can get rich using eminent domain claims. Fairchild and Bishop believe that Trump is mistaken. Both of them feel betrayed by the government, which has made it possible for a foreign corporation to profit from their land.

Lofty goals… or empty promises? - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 12, 2017 - First draft of new industry-led initiative charts uncertain course toward “responsible labor practices” in US produce sector.

Nigeria oil union suspends three-day nationwide strike after talks - By Paul Carsten and Alexis Akwagyiram, Reuters, January 11, 2017 - A Nigerian oil labour union has suspended a nationwide three-day strike over job losses that hit petrol stations and oil tankers, following talks with the government on Wednesday.

One of India’s Largest Training Camps on Ecological Agriculture Ongoing in Karnataka - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 17, 2017 - Masses of people gathered together is not an unusual sight in India; this is common at religious events or political mobilizations. But to see thousands of farmers come together to attend a class on ecological farming is extraordinary. One such class is taking place at the Muruga Matha, a religious institution in southern Karnataka, where a five-day intensive study camp on a chemical-free farming method called Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is taking place.

‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead - By Zarefah Baroud, CounterPunch, January 18, 2017 - But ordinary citizens are too making a difference. In January of 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe initiated a mobilization effort to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a crude oil pipeline trailing from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipelines journey was meant to cut through the ancient burial grounds as well as threaten the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Portland firefighter describes his time at Dakota Access Pipeline protest - By staff, KATU TV 2, December 27, 2016 - Right now, the primary factors driving Mexicans to migrate to the United States are better economic prospects or family connections — Portland firefighter Gary Fergus is back home after joining the protest. He says he's a regular at the Bison Coffeehouse in Northeast Portland and he noticed fliers posted by the shop's Native American owner asking for volunteers.

The Precautionary Principle is Paramount - By Bonnie Castillo, National Nurses United, January 17, 2017 - The precautionary principle to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action or policy is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action that may or may not be a risk.

Renewables, efficiency dominate robust job growth in energy sector - By Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive, January 18, 2017 - The solar and wind industries experienced the strongest growth, as solar jobs rose 25% over the past year and the wind sector expanded 32%. The energy efficiency industries also experienced an upswing in jobs, adding 133,000 jobs to reach 2.2 million total jobs.

The robots are coming... for our jobs - By Wayne MacPhail, Rabble.Ca, January 18, 2017 - Of course, since the 19th century machines have replaced workers. And they have allowed factory owners to deconstruct the skills of artisans into narrow but consecutive tasks that unskilled labour could carry out repeatedly. They've replaced weavers with gins. They have usurped the role and name of humans who did repetitive arithmetic (originally called computers). They replaced the workers, cables and plugs of telephone switchboards. They've turned the hand-tooled into the machined-stamped and glistening backs into backhoes.

Solar Employs More Workers Than Coal, Oil and Natural Gas Combined - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, January 17, 2017 - Proportionally, solar employment accounts for the largest share of workers in the Electric Power Generation sector," the report, released on Jan. 13, states. "This is largely due to the construction related to the significant buildout of new solar generation capacity." Overall, the U.S. solar workforce increased 25 percent in 2016.

Some operators oppose $8 million lawsuit settlement with Muni — and want more money - By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, San Francisco Examiner, January 16, 2017 - The amount isn’t enough, said plaintiffs Michael J. Benardo, Dorian Maxwell and Anthony Parker in a joint letter, to account for their unpaid overtime which amounts to $395 million, the amount operators initially sought when they sued the SFMTA.

Strike ends at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, January 13, 2017 - Close to About 1,700 miners brought production at Kusasalethu to a standstill on Wednesday, demanding a special bonus, the removal of the general manager and guarantees that disciplinary action would not be pursued.

Swift Energy, Transocean lay off dozens of Texas employees - By Ryan Handy, FuelFix, January 17, 2017 - Two prominent Gulf Coast employers, Swift Energy Operating and Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, will lay off dozens of employees this month, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

A Tale Of Two Countries – China’s Betting On Renewable Energy While Trump Dreams Of Coal’s Glory Days - By EDF, Breaking Energy, January 17, 2017 - That whoosh you just heard was China passing the United States in the race for the 21st century energy economy. Or is it the 21st century jobs race? Or the “world’s only superpower” race? Unfortunately, it might be all three.

3 Midwestern States That Refuse to Abandon the Renewable Energy Revolution - By Susan Cosier, Natural Resources Defense Council, EcoWatch, January 17, 2017 - A handful of midwestern states are refusing to abandon their growing clean energy and efficiency industries, which support roughly 113,900 jobs in Illinois, 87,600 jobs in Michigan and 100,800 jobs in Ohio.

Transit workers negotiate for higher wages with contract set to expire - By Amanda Mikelberg, Metro, January 12, 2017 - The contract for thousands of New York City transit workers expires in a few days, and union officials negotiating a new deal with the MTA are seeking salaries on par with other divisions the agency operates.

US Workers Who Make BPA Have Enormous Loads of It in Their Bodies - By Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, January 4, 2017 - Some workers who make or work with the endocrine-disrupting chemical have levels 1,000 times higher than the general public, a federal study found.

USDA Grants Final Approval for Invasive GE Grass - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, January 18, 2017 - “The USDA’s decision ignores a groundswell of united opposition from state departments of agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, university professors, scientists, farmers and conservationists,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Because this blatant bow to industry will continue to harm farmers, endangered species and the precious landscape, the USDA has left us with no choice but to explore our legal options to return the burden of controlling this weedy grass back to the shoulders of the corporate profiteers who brought it into the world.”

What do love letters have to do with farming? - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 16, 2017 - Writing love letters may seem like an unusual activity for a course on farming and agroecology. But, in this course, young farmer-students proposed to their imaginary partners in their letters, commenting on their realizations about gender. “I realized that we place so many conditions on women,” wrote one student. A key reflection of the entire course was that shifting to agroecology and sustainable agriculture isn’t just about a change in production models, its as much about changing the relationships we have--including between genders.

What does environmental justice organizing look like in the time of Trump? - By Laurie Mazur, Grist, January 18, 2017 - California is a leader in demonstrating an equitable approach to climate policy. We’ve been able to win policies that get people jobs and bring wealth into the community and clean the air for our kids and offer economic and political and social opportunities. Being able to move that agenda faster and to model it for other states is really critical. California can point the country toward the future — not just in policy but in politics and power. That’s exactly where our state needs to be, and organizations like APEN and our communities have to help guide that and lead that.

“Why This Nuclear Engineer Says Every Nuke Plant in the US Should Be Shut Down Yesterday - By Karl Grossman, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, January 13, 2017 - As I was reading last week the first reports on the Indian Point agreement, I received a phone call from an engineer who has been in the nuclear industry for more than 30 years­ with his view of the situation. The engineer, employed at nuclear plants and for a major nuclear plant manufacturer, wanted to relate that even with the Indian Point news—“and I’d keep my fingers crossed that there is no disaster involving those aged Indian Point plants in those next three or four years”­—nuclear power remains a “ticking time bomb.” Concerned about retaliation, he asked his name not be published.

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.

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.