Workers’ Liberty argues that real progress on the climate will only happen when trade unionists embrace environmentalism and make it their own, and when the environmental movement learns to appreciate the potential power of workers to make change.
Bringing the two together is not easy but it is essential. One possible avenue opens up in the form of the new Climate Emergency Centres.
As 500 local councils declared a climate emergency in response to the youth climate strikes, a group called Space Generators, with experience in the squatters movement and then Occupy, seized the opportunity to negotiate “meanwhile” leases on a number of empty buildings around the UK to set up Climate Emergency Centres — essentially, social centres — and many more are being initiated.
At an information session I attended for Nottingham activists considering this, I made the case for trade union involvement in the setting up of a new centre, and the idea was received with enthusiasm. But there is no reason why trade unionists should not themselves take the initiative and be in at the start of setting up these centres which can act as a base for debate between environmentalists and the labour movement, and for them organising together.
• Find out more about setting up a CEC here