Canada cannot develop an ecologically-responsible and just economy without considering the consequences for work and employment. But what is the meaning of ‘green work’ in capitalist societies of endless production and consumption for the purposes of profits?
If we scale back on tar sands, fracking, and other dirty energy projects, as we must, workers who lose their jobs will need retraining, temporary income support, and a green energy infrastructure to work in. This will require a whole range of collective investments and decisions.
What issues do we need to raise as workers in our workplaces and unions? How do we link the struggle for green jobs to precarious work, which is often not only unstable but also ecologically damaging? What should we push for and build in society generally?
We could demand of a just transition that it extend beyond retraining and replacement wages for workers in polluting industries that get shut down. Rather than shutting down polluting industries according to market logic, we could insist that workers’ rights be extended to include being actively and democratically involved in decisions around industrial and plant conversion to low-carbon, low-waste production, and in decision-making in society as a whole.
Steven Tufts, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, York University; co-director of the Work in a Warming World project
Nigel Barriffe, Community Organizer, Elementary Teacher with the TDSB, and a member of the Green Economy working group of the Good Jobs For All Coalition
Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Sponsored by: Centre for Social Justice, Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly, Socialist Project
Third in a series at Beit Zatoun – future events:
March 15 – Climate Change and Capitalism: From the People’s Climate March to the New UN Agreement on Global Warming
April 12 – Green Cities Against Neoliberal Urbanism? Urban Planning and Toronto Politics
May 3 – We Need to Change Everything: Resistance and Alternatives
Need to know:
- Doors open at 1:50
- Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible
- Please avoid using strong-scented products due to sensitivities
Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) with Zatoun oliveoil+za’atar dipping.
- February 22, 2015 at 2pm – 5pm
612 Markham St
Toronto, ON M6G 2L8
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