Environment

How we found the confidence to organise and take over our factory

Issue section: 
Author: 

When a group of ununionised Vestas workers occupied their factory this summer they had to learn fast. Vestas worker Ian Terry writes about the lessons of the struggle.

I gave myself a mission to get an environmentally friendly job, something that didn't stress me out and I could take something positive away from. I got to Vestas and realised that everyone was bullied by management. Health and safety was not up to scratch. They claimed at the start that there was no expense spared, but air extraction wasn't good enough and people were getting resin on their skin. When I first started we didn't have a finishing time - it was work until the job's done. They'd just have you working more. They'd move the goal posts, make you clean the floors and so on.

Green cuts

Issue section: 
Author: 

The irrationality of capitalism was starkly exposed in April when, despite massively increasing its profits for the first three months of the year, the manufacturing company Vestas announced that it was to shed 1,900 jobs.

Of these, 450 were to go at its plant on the Isle of Wight.

Such a news item would perhaps not excite much comment in these difficult economic times - except that Vestas is the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines. Given the urgent need to deal with climate change the announcement caused disbelief and anger throughout the environmental movement.

Slump, boom and climate change

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

From the European Union to Barack Obama, promises have been made to give priority to a "green agenda". In reality, they are using the recession to go into reverse.

A recent, bad TV programme made one interesting point - that devastating transformations in the climate, as a result of the apparently slow build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, will hit people at some point with the same suddenness as the economic crisis that is now sweeping the world.

Climate change: radical solutions needed

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Building a Low-Carbon Economy, Lord Adair Turner's 511 page report, made interesting Xmas reading for environmental campaigners. Produced by the Committee on Climate Change, which Turner chairs, it is the government plan to drag the world out of the clutches of uncontrolled climate change.

But, as campaigner and author George Monbiot writes in the Guardian, "Lord Turner has two jobs. The first, as chair of the Financial Services Authority, is to save capitalism. The second, as chair of the Committee on Climate Change, is to save the biosphere from the impacts of capitalism. I have no idea how well he is discharging the first task, but if his approach to the second one is anything to go by, you should dump your shares and buy gold."

Stop Global Warming

Issue section: 

Jonathan Neale, Bookmarks, £11.99

Jonathan Neale's new book poses a strategy which is not to be found in the majority of literature on the subject as well as covering more familiar territory. On both counts Neale's book is to be welcomed and recommended both to those who have read widely and those who are beginning to get to grips with the issue. His examination of the more recent grasping of the possibility of abrupt climate change gives a framework for understanding the problem. The urgency associated with trying to avoid a "tipping" point leading to abrupt climate change is not outlined in order to prompt fear.

Fuel for thought

Issue section: 
Issue: 

As of 15 April, all petrol and diesel sold at British filling stations has to be blended with biofuels.

The British government, through the Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RFTO), and the European Union have continued to push ahead with biofuel expansion despite scientific studies which show that this is one of the quickest ways of heating the planet, and despite United Nations (UN) agencies warning that biofuels are fuelling a catastrophic food crisis.

E is for Ecology

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The ecological relationship between human society and the planet's environment has become a major preoccupation for thousands of people around the world.

The extent to which we have already changed the world's climate and how much more we will change it is a matter hotly debated by the media and politicians.

Few would deny that humans have an impact on their environment - it is easy to see the connection between a dead fish and a toxic chemical leak into a river.

The Carbon Neutral Myth - Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins

Issue section: 
Author: 

Kevin Smith, Carbon Trade Watch

Every time a politician takes a flight these days, they are hardly off the aircraft steps before they boast that they have "offset" their emissions and made their flight carbon neutral. We can be safe in the knowledge that our leaders haven't made the environment any worse flying to the G8.

Carbon offsetting does seem too good to be true. After all, if you can really pay a third party to offset the consequences of the fossil fuel you have burnt driving your SUV around town, then we might not have to worry about climate change instead we can continue behaving exactly as we like.

Climate change and class conflict

Issue section: 
Author: 

Global warming threatens all humanity, but fighting it requires more than individual action, reliance on government or dropping other concerns. Chris Harman explains.

In the past two years the question of climate change has moved from the margins of mainstream political debate to the centre. Hardly a week goes by without some international meeting discussing it. Politicians and corporations of all hues now declare their commitment to do something; even George Bush admits that there is a problem.

South Africa: Capital's Dangerous Gimmick

With climate change posing one of the gravest threats to capital accumulation - not to mention humankind and our environment - it is little wonder that economists such as Sir Nicholas Stern, establishment politicians like Gordon Brown and Al Gore, and financiers at the World Bank and the City of London have begun warning the public. They are all pushing for more market solutions as the way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

This was the key theory motivating capitalist states' support for the Kyoto Protocol. And since February 2005, when the protocol was ratified by Russia and formally came into effect, a great deal more money and propaganda has been invested in the carbon market, including at a major Nairobi climate conference last month.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Environment