Happy Labor Day!
For most of us most of the time (myself surely included), Labor Day is simply a long weekend marking the end of summer–a time to take a dip in the lake, eat corn-on-the-cob, play lawn games with friends and family, and soak in the last breaths of freedom before the start of a new school year. (I’m a Basic Minnesotan; I know.)
However, it’s also an opportunity to think a little more critically about the labor movement in the US, so I’m going to use today’s post to write about the connections between the labor and climate movements.
It’s been a decades-long trope to frame certain issues of the day as “jobs vs. the environment.” We’ve seen it applied to logging in the Pacific Northwest, mining in Appalachia, oil pipelines across the country, and now, proposed climate change policies, like the Green New Deal. This dichotomy is a favorite speaking point for conservative politicians and pundits. And it is wrong.
The climate movement and the labor movement are not by nature in opposition: Rather, they are two sides of the same coin seeking justice, equity, and livable futures for all. On their faces, they have different focuses, be they shutting down pipelines or fighting for a $15/hr minimum wage, but it cannot be forgotten that these movements are often fighting for a shared vision of a better future.
Take a look at this article written for the Guardian back in 2019 about union support for the Green New Deal.
And this Twitter thread posted a few days ago (click to read the full thread):
As we move into Labor Day weekend, I wanted to put together a quick thread on unions and the climate crisis.— Mike Williams (@mwilli) September 3, 2021
We're moving too damn slow on the climate crisis, but forward progress so far is due in part to our siblings in labor. A little thread on some of that history...
And take notice that there are multiple national organizations dedicated to the combined cause of labor and climate, including The Blue Green Alliance and The Labor Network for Sustainability.
- Sign a Sierra Club petition calling for a more sustainable economy for humans and the planet
- Are you in a union? Unions are one of our strongest organizing groups — talk with yours about climate change!
- Get educated and grow the movement at the 2021 Climate Jobs Summit
Finally, another reminder that we started a campaign to make the launch of our Climate Action Explorer as successful as possible. We see an incredible opportunity to grow the climate movement with our platform, but we need your help to make it happen. Get the details here.
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