Notes and actions from the April organising meeting

Notes from Scot.E3 Edinburgh organising meeting180419

  • Attending PS, ZT, CM, PC, EC, BP – apologies from KW, WB, SB, MD
  • Agreed to rewrite the preamble to the article that responds to criticisms of Just Transition in the light of the new STUC statement on climate action and publish it on the blog.
  • The leaflet we distributed on the first day of the STUC in Dundee was well received.Thanks to SCND for hosting the fringe meeting on jobs, divestment and sustainability that we spoke at – about 30 people attended.  We also joined a discussion organised by the STUC with young people from recent climate action.
  • Throughout the meetingideas for further briefings/resources/blog posts came up in discussion. These included:
  • The case for taking INEOS into public ownership
  • Sustainable housing
  • Divestment, nuclear decommissioning and a sustainable future
  • Why nuclear shouldn’t be part of a just transition
  • A critical look at energy from waste schemes

If you are interested in contributing to any of these please let us know.

  • There will be a climate bloc on Edinburgh May Day (4thMay) – we are working with Friends of the Earth Scotland to build this. PC will check whether we can organise a meeting for people on it to attend afterwards possibly at the May Day Bookfair at the Leith Community Centre, Sunday 5th
  • We still need to find a couple of people who can take the Scot.E3 banner through to the Glasgow May Day march (5thMay). The banner will be on the Edinburgh march on the 4th, can anyone take the banner through to Glasgow for this given that we also have to cover the Leith event.
  • We’ve been invited to speak at the Edinburgh Green Party meeting, 7.30pm at the Augustine Church on 25thApril – PC to speak.
  • Edinburgh City Council Climate emergency meeting 25thApril, 6pm at the City Chambers Scot.E3 have been asked to host a table – WB taking responsibility for this but others welcome – you’ll need to register at this Eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/climate-emergency-action-needed-6pm-thur-25-apr-edinburgh-city-chambers-tickets-59567249246
  • Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland seminar on climate change, just transition and divestment issues, Dundee City Chambers, 10th May – EC going to this
  • State Energy Company

Urban change in a time of climate crisis

Housing is a central issue in the transition to a long term sustainable economy.  As a group Scot.E3 has produced resources on Fuel Poverty and we are currently working on more resources that look at how passive houses and a mass campaign of home insulation could contribute to a just transition while at the same time as improving the quality off people’s lives.  We’re pleased to publish a post by Save Leith Walk activist Ian Hood on the work that the campaign has done to think about the future of hosing in their area.

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Early in 2018, it became clear that developers wanted to demolish a long parade of shops in Leith Walk and replace it with a student accommodation.  A popular local campaign emerged to challenge this and in January 2019 Edinburgh Council agreed that the building should not be demolished and that the proposed development was unacceptable.  Planning Permission was refused.

But the campaign has always been about more than just opposing the wishes of developers.  To be successful in the long run we need to promote an alternative vision, one that reflects the needs of the local community and can take it forward.

Over the last year campaign members have spoken to thousands of local workers and residents about what is important to them. We have directly canvassed the opinions of hundreds of local people about their preferences for new development in the Leith Walk area.   This was followed up by a local community planning workshop that looked at the needs and wishes of people who lived in the area.

And at the heart of the emerging view was the sense that any new development had to be both sustainable and promote strong environmental values.

We did not create a single business plan or an architectural map for developers.  We identified the three different elements that can contribute to the vision.  Sketch maps that illustrate each of these were drawn up.   The need for more social housing dominated in all of the visions and also important were business space, community support and green space.

Running through the core of the vision is the idea that ecological and environmental issues are not add ons at the end of a planning process but integral to any design.

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Community Housing (see image above) faces up to the long term problem of housing provision in Leith and provides a range of solutions to housing need.  Building diverse housing that allows people to live and play together strengthens our communities in fundamental ways.

  • Opening up to the Leith Walk community by creating new access through the centre of the building.
  • A covered walkway could be created at the rear of the building bringing the housing units into connection with the sandstone building.
  • Up to Eleven housing blocks in different sizes and shapes could be built in the land behind offering a range of housing opportunities including
    • Open Market homes,
    • intergenerational housing,
    • flexible and adaptable homes,
    • co-housing models
  • Designed to the Passive Housing standards making environmentally friendly homes.
  • Living walls could blend the development into the surrounding space
  • There could be a shared guest house and other community space reducing the need for spare rooms and encouraging sharing.
  • Affordable student housing owned by the community.

Community Cohesion is about strengthening community links and helping people to focus on the challenges that affect them and develop new skills to tackle them.   It can create a new vision of community where people from different racial, class, gender, age and religious backgrounds are partners in their own futures.

  • A refreshed building, made Green Energy resilient.
  • New opportunities to existing businesses and new small, low cost starter units.
  • Blocks of colony style eco homes consisting of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats to allow for real flexibility over time.Social housing block providing accessible housing for older people and disabled people.
  • A Community Event Centre that could offer classes and social opportunities.
  • Opportunities for beehives, public artworks, fruit trees, bench seating. And an open air market.

Community Enterprise addresses the challenge of how to create employment opportunities in Leith that meet the demands of the global market.  It recognises that businesses are stronger when cooperation and mutual support are part of a shared value basis.  Working together to create jobs, new business and entrepreneurial opportunities can transform our community.

  • The building would be refreshed, upgrading it with an accessible green roof and additional business pods.
  • The existing shops and business would be revitalised to offer opportunities to existing businesses as well as offering small, low cost starter units.
  • Design attention to wellbeing and support for locals. A community bakery could be integral part of the building to allow people to come together, to bake bread together and to share bread together.
  • A social enterprise and community space to train and share business skills including incubator units for creative, media, IT and other businesses.
  • A block of open market starter, eco homes with space for new businesses
  • Additional green space with open meadows planted with wildflowers, recreational natural green space, community orchard, accessible allotments, beehives and vegetable gardens.

Our vision seeks to build on the strength of the existing community and to create new ways of bringing people together.  They can enhance the area, preserve its diversity and inclusivity, and contribute towards Leith having a bright future in the 21stcentury.

The Stead’s Place site is too small to contain all of these solutions but we will work with other sites and local stakeholders over the next few months to develop our plans.

Urban development today in the light of a real Climate Crisis needs to work with people’s needs and not be imposed by profit seekers.   Single sites cannot be allowed to simply focus on one issue, retail, student accommodation, tourism but must integrate different part of the community’s need into a coherent vision.

We have started that work and welcome the support of others in continuing to develop this vision.

Ian Hood

Save Leith Walk

For More Information and contact us

Email:  Info@saveleithwalk.org

Web:www.saveleithwalk.org

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Climate Jobs and a mass movement

The Scottish Trades Union Congress is meeting in Dundee from 15th – 17th April.  We reprint the text of our leaflet here.

We have the technological knowledge to make a rapid transition to a sustainable economy.  What’s missing is political will.  The politics of transition is as critical as the technology.

Urgent action

The recent IPCC report highlights the urgent need for action.  It’s important that the Scottish Government has set up the Just Transition Commission. However, the Energy Bill and other legislation going through the parliament falls far short of what’s required.  Just transition isn’t an abstract idea.  It means understanding that working people, their lives, livelihoods, skills and commitment are central to tackling the climate crisis.

Climate Jobs

The UN and national governments around the world have put their faith in the market.  This approach has failed – carbon emissions are rising faster than at any time in human history. But there is an alternative.  The Campaign Against Climate Change’s Million Climate Jobs plan outlines a detailed practical blueprint for transition.  This would involve large scale programmes of publicly funded investment creating new jobs, protecting the livelihoods of those who will move from oil, gas and defence industriesto new jobs – Improving the lives of the bulk of the population through better insulated homes and improved public transport.

Just Transition

Only right wing ideologues now deny climate change. But beyond a relatively small layer of activists most people feel disconnected and powerless.  The challenge is to link the necessary steps to the immediacy of working class lives.  Workers in defence, construction and hydrocarbons are key. Their skills are needed to build the new and democratic economy.  Yet at present they work in sectors that have seen a huge increase in agency workers and worsening pay and conditions.

The stakes couldn’t be higher – the lives and welfare of our children and grandchildren are at stake.  Trade unions are crucial in shaping the kind of mass movement that can prevent climate catastrophe and ensure that the transition to a sustainable economy is just.

Fringe Meeting

Developing Sustainable and Socially Useful Jobs in Today’s Economy
Wednesday April 17 at 1230pm
Committee Room 2 City Chambers
Pete Roche – research officer  – Nuclear Free Local Authorities
Speaker from Scot.E3
Meeting organised by Scottish CND

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STUC Fringe Meeting

The Scottish Trades Union Congress meets at the Caird Hall in Dundee from 15th – 17th April.  Scot.E3 is contributing to one of the fringe meetings:

Developing Sustainable and Socially Useful Jobs in Today’s Economy 
Wednesday April 17 at 1230pm
Committee Room 2 City Chambers
Pete Roche – research officer  – Nuclear Free Local Authorities
Speaker from Scot.E3
Meeting organised by Scottish CND

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American Climate Rebels

A post from REEL News

In 2018, Reel News went on a 14 week tour of North America to look at grassroots struggles around climate change, particularly struggles around a “just transition” from fossil fuels to renewable energy, where workers and communities control the process so that they benefit from the transition, and around “just recovery” – recovery from extreme weather events which do not exascerbate current inequalities.

What we found were inspiring and visionary struggles all over the continent, led by working class communities of colour, with people organising just transitions and just recoveries themselves. Now, we’ll be presenting what we found in the form of a weekly online 11 episode series starting on Sunday April 14th – 7pm UK time, 3pm New York City time, Midday California time.

Episode 1 is about Alberta, Canada, where the long oil sands boom  has come to an end. Falling oil prices are leading to thousands of job losses – which has started a serious conversation in the labour movement about transitioning away from oil to renewables. The need is becoming more urgent as the big oil sands companies look to maximise profits and slash even more jobs through automation. This film looks at a number of initiatives, the history of oppression of First Nations people to get the resources in the first place, and a rare chance to hear from oil sands workers themselves, including women and First Nations workers.

With the current growing uprising over climate change giving renewed hope, we’re hoping that this will not only inspire you further – but will also help a little in putting the idea of just transition at the forefront of the movement.