Friday, August 7, 2009

For Green Jobs and a Just Transition

[This is the August column in the Darlington Review prepared by Hills Socialist Alliance.]

Ordinary people can feel left out of the climate change debate. False choices are spoken of, such as stopping climate change will cost people their jobs or that the economy can’t afford it.

The Australian economy can easily afford retooling for sustainability and more jobs will be created in green industries than currently exist in polluting ones. In fact, to avoid cataclysmic climate change, this transition needs to begin immediately. However, some profitable industries, particularly coal mining, will have to transition out of existence.

Debates at national and local levels are needed to provide the necessary change with fairness for people whose jobs and communities will be affected.

Graham Brown is a retired coalminer who has become a climate change activist. He’s also a member of the Upper Hunter Greens in NSW, and is helping build a union and community alliance aimed at creating a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy. He has a font of ideas on how to ensure workers in the mines and coal-fired power stations move into alternative employment.

He will be speaking at the Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St East Perth (McIver station) on Saturday August 15 at 6:30 pm. For information and tickets contact Alex on 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638.

On October 3 the East/Hills branch of Socialist Alliance will be running a forum on uranium mining, nuclear power and renewable energies. It will feature veteran anti-nuclear campaigner, Jo Vallentine, and nuclear physicist turned renewable energies expert, Dr Paul Wilkes, and will focus on how a people’s movement can win. It will be held at 3:30 pm in St Cuthbert’s Good Shepherd Meeting Room. For more information call Annolies or Barry on 9299 6453.