07 September 2009

3 Months Until Copenhagen - Happy Labour Day: Climate Activists in the Workplace

September 7 is Labo(u)r Day in Canada and the United States. (Anywhere else?) It's a reminder of the importance - and rights and responsibilities of working people. So here is my Labour Day post, dedicated to everyone who works for their money! May you (we) all find a powerful way to make our work and our workplaces part of the solution to global climate change.
Doesn't it feel strange to be sounding the alarm on an emergency that seems so far away (for some of us) and so, well, not urgent - yet? Where I work, people's eyes sometimes glaze over when I talk about global climate change, the way mine would if someone started talking about, say, rocket science, or stock market statistics. But we're not "crying wolf," as they say. We're talking about a vast, growing, picking-up-speed planetary emergency that will impact all life on Earth. Which is why I was glad - and inspired - to read about a new workplace based climate initiative in Australia: The Australian Conservation Foundation is working with 3000 workplace activists to encourage climate friendly behaviour in workplaces and homes by setting weekly tasks and targets. According to the press release, activists will also lobby politicians for strong policies to create up to one million new clean energy jobs, and urge Australian leadership at the Copenhagen talks in December.
"Union members want to be part of the solution to climate change. We can make a big difference in our workplaces - from universities through to hospitality and manufacturing - and we will also be at the forefront in urging our political leaders to adopt a strong and decisive set of policies to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy jobs," said Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharan Burrow. "If we do not take a lead on climate change action we will miss out on a global market in low carbon technology that is already worth $6 trillion."
Check out Union Climate Connectors for more information, and to get inspired about organizing the same sort of campaign where you live and work.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?