Civil Disobedience as Law Enforcement

Civil Disobedience as Law Enforcement

[by Jeremy Brecher; cross-posted with Waging Nonviolence]

Two years ago I was among more than a thousand people who committed civil disobedience at the White House to oppose the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since then many more have been arrested around the country, often blocking the actual pathway along which the Keystone XL is being constructed. Nearly 70,000 people have vowed to risk arrest if the State Department recommends that the president approve the pipeline.

All along I believed that these actions were justified, even though they meant breaking the law. After all, leading NASA climate change specialist Jim Hansen says that the Alberta tar sands, which the pipeline will carry, “must be left in the ground” because “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over” for a viable planet. (more…)

National Climate Assessment: An Opportunity for Labor

National Climate Assessment: An Opportunity for Labor

If you saw some scary headlines about global warming recently, there is a good chance they came from a preliminary draft of the US government’s third National Climate Assessment.  The NCA is as close as there is to a definitive summary of what scientists tell us about the effects of climate change on the US and its diverse regions.

While the alarming scientific findings of the NCA have grabbed media attention, its unique stakeholder process has often been ignored.  The NCA is not just a product of the scientific ivory tower; it is based on a conversation between scientists and community members across the country. That conversation has included farmers, indigenous people, rural residents, urban planners, resource managers, and many community-based experts and ordinary citizens. (more…)

Communities Unite Around A ‘Just Transition’ Away from Dirty Energy

Communities Unite Around A ‘Just Transition’ Away from Dirty Energy

[Editor's Note: Indigenous peoples, communities of color, and working-class white communities are among the hardest hit by the floods, heat waves, storms, droughts, and other results of climate change.  At the same time they experience disproportionate rates of unemployment and poverty.  Now leaders from those communities are launching the "Our Power Campaign: Communities United for a Just Transition."  They are making concrete proposals to create jobs for hard-hit communities by transitioning from dirty energy to clean community power, zero waste, food sovereignty, public transit, housing for all, and restoration of ecosystems and watersheds.  (more…)

What does 400 PPM Mean for American Labor?

What does 400 PPM Mean for American Labor?

[By Joe Uehlein and Jeremy Brecher]

In 1940, as Nazi armies marched across Europe, United Automobile Workers Union (UAW) president Walter Reuther made a stunning proposal: Retool the Depression-ravaged auto industry to build 500 planes a year for national defense.  Many scoffed.  But a huge wartime mobilization put tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed workers to work producing what the war effort required, while shutting down wasteful and unnecessary production that would detract from it.

This May, the level of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere  reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history. (more…)