On Friday evening (15th May) three of the authors of ‘A Planet to Win – why we need a green new deal’ joined us from the United States to talk about the issues that are raised in their book. The video of their introduction to the meeting is included in this post.
While the book focuses on the US and draws inspiration from the original New Deal its themes resonated with the participants in the event – mostly from Scotland but also from England and the Republic of Ireland. In an overview of the book Thea Riofrancos asks ‘what kind of labour movement do we need to win a green new deal and argues for the importance of broadening the idea of Just Transition and Climate Jobs to include care and social reproduction; a position that we have adopted in Scot.E3.
It’s impossible to do full justice to the range of issues raised in the discussion. Participants raised the issue of housing and home insulation. In Scotland, well over 90% of the homes expected to be in use in 2050 have already been built – so dealing with the current buildings and current layout of cities is key to reducing emissions from the built environment. Several people picked up on the issue of care and noted that the pandemic has underscored the fact that while care jobs should be central to a green new deal they have to be valued equally and paid equally to other jobs.
A Planet To Win lays the blame for the climate crisis on the fossil fuel companies – one participant suggested that staging a mock trial of CEO’s (and politicians?) for crimes against humanity might help take this view into the mainstream. There’s a useful link to who the leading ‘criminals’ are on the Why Green Economy site.
We didn’t have time to properly explore another question that was raised about how capitalist growth drives the continuing degradation of the climate. There is a useful article on Degrowth in a recent issue of the Ecologist.
There were also contribution on food and land use, taxation, the value of discussions that bring people together across national boundaries, the need to find new ways of using and conserving natural resources and the impact of extractivism on the global south. The final question before the speakers rounded up raised issues of the role of the state and the challenge of avoiding cooption by organisations whose purpose in proposing change is in fact to maintain the status quo.
If you were at the meeting or have watched the video we’d welcome contributions to this site on any of the issues raised.
You can buy the book from Lighthouse Books who cohosted the event.