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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #142

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, March 3, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Amid health care uncertainty, black lung clinic provides support for miners - By Daniel Moore, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 26, 2017 - It sounds like a thing of the past: Coal miners contract lung disease after toiling for years underground and then run into barriers trying to get health care paid for by the coal companies they once worked for. But it’s still a 21st century reality for many who unearth coal for power plants and steel mills.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Gambling billions of public dollars as fracked gas supply is highly doubtful - By staff, NC WARN, February 28, 2017 - In communities along the proposed route, the ACP is promoted as a driver of economic development. But new jobs and businesses based on the promise of cheap, abundant gas might not survive as fracking production continues to decline, driving prices up.

Big Oil’s Grip on California - By Michael J. Mishak, The Nation, February 13, 2017 - In America’s greenest state, the industry has spent $122 million in the past six years to shape regulation and legislation. It wins more than you think.

Bernie Sanders and Bill Nye Defend Climate Science, Explain How Renewables Can Power America - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, February 27, 2017 - "We can power the entire U.S. renewably right now if we just decided to do it," Nye said, explaining how transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives such as wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal, tidal and a reconfigured electric grid "can run the whole place." He noted that investing in renewable energy would create domestic jobs "that can't be exported."

The Blue Collar Job of the Future Is Solar Panel Installer - By Dyani Sabin, Inverse Innovation, February 22, 2017 - The reliable, blue-collar job of the future likely isn’t in manufacturing or coal or oil, but in solar and green energy storage, which is swiftly outpacing growth in other industries.

Buyer beware… or not - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, February 24, 2017 - In our last post, we shared the news of last week’s $3.5 million judgment against Reyes Tapia-Ortiz, a crewleader who was sued for, among other things, having “engaged in forced labor and related offenses by brandishing a gun, threatening to harm and deport workers for complaining about conditions and not being paid for all their work at legal wages, sexually harassing a female worker, and falsely imprisoning then facilitating the deportation of a worker who stopped working for him,” according to Susan French, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs on the case.  You can read more about the judgment and the conditions on the farm here.

Carbon Bubble Is Bursting as Divestment Takes Hold - By Clara Vondrich, EcoWatch, February 22, 2017 - Meanwhile, the Croatan Report explores investments in climate solutions that also have a direct benefit to the local community. Many of the investments featured in the Croatan Report are consistent with the notion of a Just Transition, the idea that the clean energy transition should not recreate old and broken power structures that benefit the few at the expense of the many: Rather, investments should be made with intention to revive and rebuild communities, fostering job creation and local ownership of renewable energy systems where possible. The report is anchored in inspiring case studies featuring DivestInvest Philanthropy members.

"CETA is a false solution to economic and political woes" - National Farmers Union - By Jan Slomp, La Via Campesina, February 27, 2017 - Since Donald Trump took office as President of the United States, a shocking list of executive orders is making people around the world uneasy about unpredictable days ahead. Democracy and civil liberties are in peril. It is reasonable for Canadian and European officials to respond with concern to Trump's aberrations. But it appears that, fearing the uncertainty, they have rushed to ratify CETA.

Chevron details its job cuts in annual filing - By George Avalos, East Bay Times, February 23, 2017 - San Ramon-based Chevron reduced its worldwide workforce last year by 6,300 employees to 55,200, according to its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The oil and gas company cut its U.S. workforce by 3,100 workers to 26,500 over the same period.

China smashes solar energy records, as coal use and CO2 emissions fall once again - By Joe Romm, Think Progress, February 28, 2017 - That means tens of millions of new jobs in clean energy are up for grabs, something no other emerging sector can match.

Climate scientists face harassment, threats and fears of 'McCarthyist attacks' - By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, February 22, 2017 - Threats and badgering of climate scientists peaked after the theft and release of the “Climategate” emails – a 2009 scandal that was painfully thin on scandal. But the organized effort to pry open cracks in the overwhelming edifice of proof that humans are slowly baking the planet never went away. Scientists are now concerned that the election of Donald Trump has revitalized those who believe climate researchers are cosseted fraudsters.

Community Power Offers Fukushima a Brighter, Cleaner Future - By Nithin Coca, Shareable, February 14, 2017 - One of the company's innovations is "solar sharing," which are small, raised solar photovoltaic devices that can be installed above farmland. This allows farmers to continue farming, while also getting new income from solar. Currently, 13 of these are in operation in Iitate Village, with another 16 in various planning stages.

Congressional town halls become forums for anti-GOP resistance - By Sue Sturgis, Facing South, February 22, 2017 - Lawmakers were also heckled and booed this week at town halls from Florida to Iowa, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was confronted by a constituent upset about lost coal mining jobs and then booed at what was supposed to be a GOP-friendly $10-a-plate luncheon.

DuPont and Chemours Settle Teflon Toxin Lawsuit for Up to $921M - By Sharon Kelly, Earth Island Journal, February 22, 2017 - The evidence at those trials was damning for DuPont. The documents show a 1982 warning from a company medical director about the "great potential for current or future exposure of members of the local community from emissions" after the company's own research showed workers were getting sick.

Elon Musk Slams Tesla Union Drive, Promises Workers Free Frozen Yogurt - By Caroline O'Donovan, BuzzFeed News, February 24, 2017 - Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to factory employees Thursday night calling an employee’s claims regarding working conditions “obviously…untrue” and the United Auto Workers effort to unionize Tesla’s Fremont factory disingenuous.

Emas Chiyoda Subsea files for bankruptcy in Houston - By Jordan Blum, FuelFix, February 28, 2017 - Emas Chiyoda’s roughly 200 employees in Houston — down from 400 two years ago — have expressed concerns about the future of their jobs as the offshore engineering and equipment business defaulted on multiple payments worldwide starting late last year. The business is a joint venture between Singapore-based Ezra Holdings and Japan’s Chiyoda Corp. and NYK Lines.

Federal Hiring Freeze To Hit Rural and Minority Communities the Hardest - By Elizabeth Grossman, In These Times, February 21, 2017 - At the same time, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) executive director Jeff Ruch, staff shortages are also a serious problem throughout the agencies responsible for public lands and wildlife management. In a PEER survey, 84 percent of national wildlife refuge managers said they don’t have enough staff to meet their “core conservation mission.”

Forging Solidarity: Taking a stand on DAPL from Japan - By Marie, 350.Org, February 23, 2017 - Against the backdrop of these events, investors have shown support for the people of Standing Rock and their right to clean water. Notably, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), one of the largest public pension funds in the United States, has called on major U.S. and international banks to get behind the effort to reroute the DAPL, along with other investors representing $653 billion in assets under management. CalPERS’s embrace of this important movement provided hope for supporters engaged in the ongoing fight.

Future is Bright for Women in the Solar Industry - By staff, Clean Energy Footprints, February 24, 2017 - The future is bright for women in the solar industry. In 2016, women represented 28% of the solar workforce. This is up from 18.7% in 2013, and is continuing to climb.

Opinion: How to declare war on coal’s emissions without declaring war on coal communities - By Maria T. Zuber, Washington Post, February 24, 2017 - The move to clean energy is imperative. In the long run, that transition will create more jobs than it destroys. But that is no comfort to families whose livelihoods and communities have collapsed along with the demand for coal. We owe something to the people who do the kind of dangerous and difficult work my grandfathers did so that we can power our modern economy.

Interviews for Resistance: Protests Show Immigrants’ Economic Power Cannot Be Ignored - By Sarah Jaffe, In These Times, February 22, 2017 - We ask for people at a national level to help make contributions to Voces because one of our goals is to engage similar minded organizations who want to go deeper on economic strategy, using that as a way to fight back against the policies that are being implemented or that they are trying to implement to the Trump administration. Lastly, there are local coalitions that can be formed in the build-up to May 1st. May 1st will be not just a national protest, but another national day of strike. There are already conversations going on with larger networks to see if the potential of folding in this action under a broader platform with different groups, with climate change, with women’s, immigrant rights. That stuff is in process, but in terms of immigrant rights, I know that is certainly a day that has been set.

Joe Uehlein still fighting for sustainable jobs and a living planet - By Len Shindel, Baltimore Examiner, February 22, 2017 - Joe Uehlein, veteran trade unionist and musician, co-founded the Labor Network for Sustainability to bring labor and environmental activists together.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy Pushes Natural Gas as Climate Solution at Contentious Town Hall Meetings - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, February 26, 2017 - “We agree that America must invest in jobs and combat climate change, but, rather than doubling down on dirty fossil fuels that will only exacerbate climate change, we should continue the investment in the fastest growing energy job market, clean, renewable energy,” Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club’s legislative director, told DeSmog in an email. “Countries around the globe — including China — have made massive investments in this energy, while Cassidy and Trump continue to stand against clean energy jobs and climate action at every turn.”

Making the world of work pay more attention to women’s health - By staff, European Trade Union Institute, February 23, 2017 - The fact remains that policies on occupational health and prevention practices are still based on a model for which male workers continue to be the single point of reference. Sectors in which the vast majority of the workers are women are still considered by public opinion and policy-makers to be relatively unaffected by occupational hazards.

Nevada: Tesla To Hire 54% More Gigafactory Workers Than First Estimated - By James Ayre, Clean Technica, February 27, 2017 - Tesla will end up hiring around 54% more workers for the Gigafactory project than was initially supposed, according to Nevada’s executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

RWE Once Again Not Paying dividents this year - By staff, Hambach Forest, February 26, 2017 - The current total of approximately 1.6 billion euros of public funds which are currently in RWE shares, would in the opinion of the climate activists be much better spent in the local renewable energy sector that generates on average 5 times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry without having its catastrophic ecological impact.

6 Countries Leading the Way in the Global Renewable Energy Boom - By Jake Schmidt, EcoWatch, February 28, 2017 - While the final 2016 numbers aren't yet published, preliminary estimates put the total wind and solar installations at new records. About 70 gigawatts of new solar generation and 59 gigawatts of new wind power came online in 2016. And this amounts to real dollars moving into the clean energy economy, with $287 billion in new clean energy investments in 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Six months after the Olympics, Rio is worse off than ever - By Lindsay Gibbs, Think Progress, February 22, 2017 - Brazil’s oil-dependent economy began to crash a few years before the Games, and political upheaval followed. By the time the Olympic torch was lit, it was clear that the legacy projects Rio once boasted about were a mere pipe dream.

Statement of Solidarity with Palestine activist who was prevented from traveling - By staff, La Via Campesina, February 24, 2017 - The Women’s Articulation of La Via Campesina reiterates the importance of uniting women in the struggle for food sovereignty and a change in the system. We consider it necessary, important and enriching to include the voices of Palestinian peasant women alongside our own.

States Lead the Way Toward 100% Renewable Energy - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, February 23, 2017 - The authors found that converting the nation's energy infrastructure into renewables is ideal because it helps fight climate change, saves lives by eliminating air pollution, creates jobs in the rapidly booming renewable energy sector and also stabilizes energy prices.

Strawberries and Solidarity: Farmworkers Build Unity Around Driscoll’s Berries Boycott - By Sameerah Ahmad, In These Times, February 24, 2017 - Gloria Gracida Martinez was sent to the fields to pick fruits and vegetables when she was just 10 years old. She knows firsthand how demanding and dangerous the work can be. Now a teacher in Mexico, Gracida Martinez shared her memories in Spanish, sitting outside the Chicago-area La Catrina Cafe, which hosted an event about a boycott against Driscoll’s last year. Gracida Martinez is also a spokeswoman for the National Independent Democratic Farmworkers Union (SINDJA) in Mexico.

Striking miners at BHP’s Escondida block roads, clash with police - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, March 1, 2017 - Workers at the BHP Billiton’s (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) Escondida mine in Chile, the world's biggest copper mine, blocked several access roads Wednesday as they complete their third week of strike, triggering violent confrontations with police.

Taking agroecology to scale: the Zero Budget Natural Farming peasant movement in Karnataka, India - By staff, La Via Campesina, February 27, 2017 - In order to have a clearer understanding of the main factors behind how peasant movements scale up agroecology, LVC is carrying out self-studies directed at systematizing successful scaling-up experiences protagonized by peasant movements.

A Tale of Two Texases - By Steve Hargreaves and Courtney St. John, Nexus Media, February 22, 2017 - Two stories this week — both from Texas — illustrate the precarious nature of fossil fuel jobs and the economic power of renewable energy.

Trump’s address to Congress was riddled with falsehoods about the energy industry - By Ryan Koronowski, Think Progress, February 28, 2017 - During his first joint address to Congress as president, Donald Trump did not linger on energy or the environment, but offered up falsehoods about the coal industry and tar sands oil pipelines. He also completely ignored the clean energy industry.

As Trump's deportation plans take hold, anxiety grows in Florida's farm fields - By Robert Samuels, Washington Post, February 25, 2017 - As President Donald Trump moves to turn the full force of the federal government toward deporting undocumented immigrants, a newfound fear of the future has already cast a pall over the tomato farms and strawberry fields in the largely undocumented migrant communities east of Tampa.

TUED’s Accomplishments in 2016 and Priorities for 2017 - By Sean Sweeney, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, February 20, 2017 - This memo is an internal report on the work of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) for unions participating in the project. It provides a sense of the opportunities that are opening up in key areas as a result of the seismic political changes in North America and Europe in particular. TUED is also making progress in the Asia-Pacific region. In the global trade union discourse TUED’s perspective is making headway.

Who doesn’t love a parade? Immokalee workers launch call for artwork ahead of Parade for Human Rights! - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, February 28, 2017 - We are only one month out from the culmination of the Return to Human Rights Tour in Columbus, OH, and the big Parade for Human Rights is coming up fast.

Why Environmental Issues are Personal for Many Latino Americans - By Kara Holsopple, Alleghany Front, February 24, 2017 - We feel that puts us all in danger, whether you’re a fisherman who is counting on having a clean catch or you’re a mom who’s worried about children being sick due to increased air pollution.

Will US Solar Growth Continue To Shock, Explode, & Demolish Under Trump/Bannon/Pence? - By Zachary Shahan, Clean Technica, February 28, 2017 - It’s hard to know at this stage how much the Republicans will do to prop up failing fossil fuel industries and try to shut out fast-growing, job-creating solar and wind energy industries.

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