Category Archives: Green

Air Pollution and what we can do about it

friendsoftheearth

 

 

 

 

You are cordially invited to a meeting on “Air Pollution and what we can do about it” on March 23rd 8 pm, at St John the Baptist Church , Barnet High St EN5 4BW.

Speakers are:

  • Jean Lambert, MEP,
  • Paul Drummond, UCL,
  • Aaron Kiely, Friends of the Earth
  • Andrea Lee, Client Earth

Each will give a short talk and afterwards there will be a Q & A session.
Buses: 107, 307, 84, 263, 326, 34, 134.
Everybody welcome!

Kind Regards

Phil Fletcher
(Barnet Friends of the Earth)

Climate Refugees, The Climate Crisis & Population Displacement: Building A Trade Union & Civil Society Response

National Conference

Saturday 11th February 2017

10.00-5.00pm

NUT Conference Centre Hamilton House, Mabledon Place Euston, London climate

Over 140 million people have been forced to move in recent years because of climate change disasters – droughts, harvest failures and devastating storms. Our warming planet is driving massive long-term environmental damage and sudden catastrophes. The UN says environmental refugees could reach 300million people by mid-century. This conference from the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group aims to dispel refugee myths, work on a new Protocol for the international protection of those affected by climate change, raise demands for stronger action, and agree a climate refugees campaign statement.
Expert Contributions from:

  • Prof Joanna Haigh (Grantham Institute at Imperial College)
  • Asad Rehman (FoE)
  • Clara Paillard (PCS)
  • Amjad Abdulla (Alliance of Small Island States tbc)
  • Dave Green (FBU)
  • Sharan Burrow (ITUC, tbc)
  • Wilf Sullivan (TUC)
  • Zak Cochrane (Stand Up To Racism), NUT, PSI
  • Zita Holbourne (PCS)
  • Jonathan Neale (Global Climate Jobs)
  • Suzanne Jeffery (Campaign Against Climate Change)
  • and more.

Four Workshops on:

  1. Unions and campaigns for climate jobs.
  2. Raising awareness of climate change impacts at national and global level.
  3. Unions and campaign groups challenging xenophobia and hostility to refugees and migrants.
  4. Joint work to draft a new Protocol for the international protection of those affected by climate change.

More information: http://www.campaigncc.org/nationalconference

Supporters so far: Campaign Against Climate Change, FBU, TSSA, CWU, PCS, NUT, Stand Up to Racism and other unions and environmental campaigns.

Ideas whose time have come: report on the excellent Lucas Plan conference

On Saturday the 26th of November, Birmingham was host to “The Lucas Plan – An Idea Whose Time has Come?” and I think it was easily one of the best labour movement conferences held this year. It used the 40 year anniversary of the release of the seminal document as the basis for a wide ranging discussion about the work, technology and social and environmental justice. It is a rare achievement to so perfectly unite the labour, peace and ecological movements.

The conference was opened with a short introductory film, The Plan, and then an address from Phil Asquith, one of Lucas Aerospace trades unionists who, in response to the threat of job losses and following an intense discujobsnotbombsssion about progressive alternatives with Tony Benn (then Minister for Industry in the Labour government) helped to create detailed proposals for diversifying the use of high technology away from destructive military purposes toward making products that could actually make the world a better place and be socially useful.

Aside from generating excitement and debate amongst progressive people across world, Phil emphasised that the plan was successful in two very important ways. The first of these is that the plan, in the short term, did enable the workers to stave off compulsory redundancies (obviously the original point). The second, longer term achievement is that many of the radical designs and inventions that the workers’ proposed, Phil cited hybrid engines as a really good example, have since been industrially realised. The conference opened up the possibility that it might make a third contribution: it’s spirit of using the talents and creativity of workers’ exercising control over to produce for social and environmental gain, rather than private profit, could help diversify technology away from the carbon economy and create an economy that could fight the menace of climate change.

Following the opening session, there were three rounds of workshop sessions, with four choices of workshop in each. It is a credit to the quality of the meetings that the Breaking the Frame collective had organised that I and most of the other people I spoke on the day where experiencing genuine dilemmas trying to decide which ones to go to! Myself I went to:

  1. A meeting by a councillor in the Isle of Wight and an organiser with London-based community organising group on how to draw up policy proposals for green jobs and sustainable housing.
  2. An introduction to the seminal book “Architect or Bee?”, written by Lucas Aerospace workers leader Mike Cooley, laying out some of the deeper political ideas behind and raised by the Lucas Plan.
  3. A discussion about workers and robotic and automation, lead off by an agricultural worker and a logistics worker. Getting these two points of view was an extremely good start on this issue, which is a massive controversy within the movement at the moment,lucas-aerospace-systems-equipment-sticker and I was pleased to hear an very sophisticated discussion from the floor around the issue.

I was unable to go to meetings I would have very much like to hear on topics like arms conversion and the real meaning of socially useful production. I do hope the organisers make recordings of these available online.

The meeting heard addresses from two union deputy general secretaries, Tony Kearns of the CWU and Chris Baugh of the PCS, and two MEPs, Molly Scott Cato of the Greens and Julie Ward from Labour, and it was really good to see them strongly endorsing the ideas of the event. It felt like a real step forward for a specifically left environmentalism and, as one person said near the end of the day, the theme of workers’ control and ran through everything. This was a concept our movement used to hold dear and ought to return to. Tony Kearns probably put it best when he emphasised that we have already seen that the institutions of the top of society – businesses, governments and even the TUC – have already failed to take the steps needed to protect the environment, so we have to be like the Lucas workers and think from the bottom up.

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lucas Plan!

 

Veteran trade unionists and younger activists see Nobel prize-nominated plan as inspiration for the future

Leading figures from the left, trade union, environmental and peace movements are coming together at a conference on November 26th with a fresh perspective on tackling current crises, using the ideas of socially useful production pioneered in the Lucas Plan. The Plan, produced by workers at the Lucas Aerospace arms company, showed how jobs could be saved by converting to make products that answer a social need, rather than weapons. See www.lucasplan.org.uk, or the notes below for more information on the Lucas Plan.

The conference will focus on 5 key themes:

  • The Lucas Plan and socially useful production.lucas
  • Arms conversion and peace.
  • Climate change and a socially just transition to sustainability.
  • The threat to skills and livelihoods from automation.
  • Local/community economic and industrial planning.

Linking all these issues is the need to rethink how we can produce what people and society actually need and overcome corporate domination through their control of technology.

Highlights of the conference will include:

  • Talks by Phil Asquith, Brian Salisbury and Mick Cooney (Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine).
  • Screening of a new film on the Lucas Plan by Steve Sprung.

Contributions from: Chris Baugh (PCS), Suzanne Jeffery (Million Climate Jobs Campaign), Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper), John McDonnell (tbc), Natalie Bennett, Molly Scott-Cato and Jonathan Essex (Green Party), Philip Pearson (TUC), Romayne Phoenix (People’s Assembly Against Austerity), Mary Pearson (Birmingham Trades Council), Manuel Cortes (TSSA, tbc), Mika Mino-Paluello (Global Justice Now), Philippa Hands (UNISON), Stuart Parkinson (Scientists for Global Responsibility), Dave Elliott (Open University), Liz Corbin (Institute of Making), Tony Simpson (Bertrand Russell Foundation), Dave King (Breaking the Frame), Simon Fairlie (The Land magazine), Karen Leach (Localise West Midlands), Marisol Sandoval (City University), Tom Unterrainer (Bertrand Russell Foundation), John Middleton (Medact), Gail Chester (Feminist Library), plus more speakers to be announced.

The conference on the Lucas Plan 40th anniversary will be held at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR) on November 26, 2016. See www.lucasplan.org.uk. The conference is being organised and sponsored by: former members of the Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine, Breaking the Frame, PCS, UCU, Million Climate Jobs Campaign, Green Party, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Campaign Against Arms Trade, CND, Left Unity, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Red Pepper, War on Want and Conference of Socialist Economists

Tickets are £10/£5 concessions: To book for the conference, visit

www.lucasplan.org.uk/tickets. For more information, email info@breakingtheframe.org.uk

BACKGROUND INFO: The Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan (‘The Lucas Plan’) was launched in 1976 and became famous worldwide, sparking an international movement for socially useful production and workers’ plans. Facing the threat of redundancies, the Combine collected 150 ideas from shop floor workers about alternative socially useful products that could be produced by the company, instead of relying on military orders. Many of the innovations in the plan, such as hybrid car engines, heat pumps and wind turbines were commercially viable and are now in widespread use. Although the Alternative Plan was rejected by Lucas Aerospace managers, it was instrumental in protecting jobs at Lucas in the 1970s. The Combine was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and Mike Cooley received the Right Livelihood Award in 1982. More information about the Plan, including the 53-page summary of the five 200 page volumes, can be found on the conference website, www.lucasplan.org.uk.