The environment

Link-ups on 29 November climate strike

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 18:26
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Climate strikes on 29 November saw large number of school students and older people turn out, all across the country.

In many places there were smaller turn-outs than previous strikes: partly because of the election; partly because — unlike the 20 September — there was no central emphasis on trade unionists and workers joining; and maybe partly because of a slight loss of steam. There were still fairly good and energetic turnouts, even if smaller, in most places that I got reports from.

It coincided with the UCU strikes. Some places seized the opportunity presented by that, others failed to.

More needed than carbon trading

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 18:21
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The opening of COP25, this year’s major international climate conference, in Madrid (2-13 December), has been marked by strong words by UN secretary general António Guterres. However, action to live up to these words is unlikely to be forthcoming from the conference.

Guterres said “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon… It is in sight and hurtling toward us”. He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but “what is lacking is political will”.

“Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on

Labour’s climate policy: the fine print

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The environmental section of Labour’s manifesto is more ambitious than previous policy announcements, but less so than sections of the policy passed at this year’s Labour conference.

It has received much hype but less attention to detail. This article unpicks some of the finer points.

The rhetoric, at least to start, seems refreshingly left-wing, it suggesting a direct working-class approach. “Just 100 companies globally are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions”, they recognise. They thus commit to “work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions in every sector of

Building after 29 November climate strike

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Millions of young people, in the UK and around the world, will take part in the 29 November global climate strike. In many workplaces workers will take actions, whether a lunchtime photo-shoot or delegations of workers joining city-wide climate protests. In the UK, particularly important this time are the UCU strikes, which coincide. We must build on the 29th for wider climate activism.

Youth climate strikers should deepen our collective and democratic organisation on town-, city-, and region-wide bases. Youth strikers must work with workplace activists to build a clear programme of

Black Friday and the folly of anti-consumerism

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Eduardo Tovar

In the US, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). The day revolves around large discounts in shops.

Black Friday sales are notorious for the levels of chaos or even violence that occur as crowds pour into the shops and scramble for the discounted goods. To take an extreme example, in 2008 a stampede of shoppers on Long Island, New York, trampled a Walmart employee to death.

Although Black Friday as a long-running annual tradition is specific to the United States because of its relationship to the holiday of Thanksgiving, retailers in other

Building wider climate action for 29 November

Published on: Thu, 21/11/2019 - 00:14
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The next global youth climate strike is planned for Friday 29 November. In dozens of towns and cities across the UK, from hundreds of schools, and in hundreds of cities around the world, millions of school students and young people will be taking a stand against climate change.

It will be the first international climate strike since 20 September. There have been multiple strikes over the last year. On 20 September there was a call for workers to join students, and in several workplaces they did.

This was an important step towards the workplace environmental activism which we need. We need to

Lessons from Cambridge

Published on: Thu, 21/11/2019 - 00:08
Author

A Cambridge UCU member

Our advice to other workers, based on our experience in the 20 September climate strike, is:

1. Begin with a very low-stakes, but highly visible, action. In our case, this was simply a group photo in front of a banner during what would otherwise be most people’s lunch break, taking advantage of the 20 minute walkout that the TUC had backed.

2. Go into workplaces and ask if you can put up posters/leave leaflets. This is perhaps easier on the site we targeted as we had several university departments, a vet surgery, and a construction site all in close proximity.

3. If your union officially backs

Use the election to campaign on climate!

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 23:19
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Climate change is a more prominent topic than ever before in this year’s general election.

According one polls, 27% of voters cited the environment as one of three top issues — behind Brexit and health, and on par with crime and the economy. Another poll found that 21% list environment and pollution, unprompted, when asked about the top issues “facing Britain” today – up from just 2% in 2012. Climate change is a particular concern for younger people, and another survey found that 70% of 18-24 year olds report that it will be “a factor when they cast their vote.”

Youth climate strikes and

Official report damns fracking

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 11:00
Author

Misha Zubrowski

On 23 October, the National Audit Office (NAO) has released a damning report into the future of fracking in the UK, showing that even in the terms it has been justified by, it will fall short.

NAO is an independent Parliamentary body which scrutinises spending and policy of other government departments and bodies.

Fracking, short for Hydraulic Fracturing, refers to particular methods of extracting natural gas.

High pressure fracking fluid — a mixture of chemicals dissolved in water — is pumped through a well and into rock to fracture it. This is generally done to shale, and it creates and

Marx, ecology, and science

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 09:25
Author

Paul Hampton

Marx’s theory of metabolism is the starting point for explaining how capitalism generates ecological problems through the insatiable drive for capital accumulation.

Kohei Saito’s book, Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (2017), is the most extensive study to date of the roots of Marx’s ecology.

Saito exhaustively combs through Marx’s published works, as well as his excerpt notebooks. The book draws out the dialogue between Marx and natural scientists of his epoch. It successfully explains the influence of natural science on Marx, but

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