In November 2009 over 600 labour and community activists came together in one of the most diverse environmental gatherings ever held in Canada – to map the way for Good Green Jobs for All. The event was organized by a coalition made up of 40 community, labour, youth, social justice and environmental groups. One year earlier, the Good Jobs Summit was held in response to the massive financial crisis sweeping across the globe. But the coalition did not just want to see the old economy restored – instead it was building on experiences that showed that a truly sustainable approach could provide decent jobs while healing the planet.
Workshops examined strategies that could create good jobs – in manufacturing, construction, transit, alternative energy and the service sector. MPP Peter Tabuns described the campaign to win Toronto’s Better Buildings Partnership to drive an ambitious program of energy retrofits in major buildings. He reported that Germany now has 250,000 new jobs in the renewable energy sector.
With words that would become even more poignant with each passing year, Indigenous activist Clayton Thomas-Muller called for all peoples to come together “to deepen our understanding of how industrialization has damaged our relationship to the earth as well as the systems of oppression that have kept us from coming together such as race, class and gender power dynamics.” He called for an intergenerational approach that involves not sacrificing one population and their way of life so that another can thrive.
The Good Green Jobs for All conference confirmed Labour Council’s commitment to climate justice, and to continue on the path to address the interconnected crises of equity, the economy, and the environment.
Read Toronto Star Op-Ed by John Cartwright: Our future: good green jobs for all