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Back | Programme Area: Environmental and Climate Justice

New Webinar Series: Nature, Labour and the Struggle for an Eco-Social World

Date: 21 Feb - 4 Apr 2022

New Webinar Series: Nature, Labour and the Struggle for an Eco-Social World
Is there a gap between labour and nature, or are workers and their communities engaging with nature to work towards environmental justice and a just transition? Drawing on examples from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe to respond to this crucial question, speakers analyse the challenges working people face when struggling for eco-social justice within a neoliberal, extractivist political economy. They shed light on conflicts between miners and communities affected by mining concerned about environmental conservation; they discuss how workers mobilize to protest against environmental crises, but also to fight regressive climate policies that put the burden of change on lower-income groups. Bringing together a wealth of experience presented in the Palgrave Handbook of Environmental Labour Studies, the series highlights how the developing field of environmental labour studies can help fuse eco-social research and practice.

→ Register now to save your seat and claim your discount on the Handbook!
A discount code will be made available to participants during the webinar sessions.

Moving beyond extractive industries: Resistance and alternatives

21 February
16.00 CET
Hosted by Global Labour University

This webinar looks at the disastrous impact of extractive industries on working-class communities, both in terms of the environmental crisis but also energy poverty. The main focus of the webinar is on ongoing struggles which are building spaces of resistance and envisioning alternatives beyond extractive industries.

  • Energy Poverty and the Environmental Crisis: The Impact on Working Class Communities
    Mametlwe Sebei (General Industries Workers Union of South Africa)
  • Building Spaces of Resistance Against Extractive Industries: What are the Main Challenges?
    Erik Kojola (Texas Christian University)
  • Beyond Extractive Industries: Learning from Environmental Justice Struggles
    Jacklyn Cock (University of the Witwatersrand)

Moderator: Edlira Xhafa (Global Labour University)

Challenges and perspectives of a just transition in Europe

7 March
15.30 CET
Hosted by European Trade Union Institute

What are the main challenges of a just transition to a zero-carbon economy in the EU? Taking a broad-based theoretical approach, speakers at this webinar present the current EU context for a just transition, paying particular attention to the European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package.
—To what extent can current EU policies and practices be considered a step towards a more comprehensive policy framework to integrate climate/environmental and labour priorities?
—How far are institutions and the welfare state ready to address the new challenges posed by the eco-social paradigm shift, possibly under a low growth or de-growth scenario?
—What strategies do trade unions have and what main challenges do they face?

  • From “Just Transition” to an “Eco-Social State”?
    Bela Galgoczi (ETUI)
  • Workers, Trade Unions, and the Imperial Mode of Living: Labour Environmentalism from the Perspective of Hegemony Theory
    Markus Wissen (Berlin School of Economics and Law - HWR)
  • Multilevel Engagement of Trade Unions with Climate Change Mitigation
    Adrien Thomas (LISER, Luxembourg) and Valeria Pulignano (KU Leuven)

Discussant: Samantha Smith, Director of the Just Transition Centre of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Moderator: Nora Räthzel (University of Umeå, Sweden)

Working-class environmentalism and just transition struggles in the Americas

22 March
16.00 CET
Hosted by United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

This session zooms in on questions of alliance building and seeking common ground in three case studies on working-class environmentalism. The case of Ecuador shows that workers’ struggles are not limited to areas typically examined by labour studies, but include struggles of Indigenous peoples and agricultural workers. Our Brazil case study analyses agrarian protest and resistance against environmental degradation, examining the role of faith and religious institutions in enabling resistance through teaching and connecting individuals to social movements. Finally, the example of Canada showcases the challenges of coalition building among different stakeholder groups by comparing a worker-focused approach with a more inclusive campaign for just transition. The session will illustrate the diverse challenges of working-class environmentalism and explore strengths and challenges of environmental labour mobilizations for a just transition.

  • Connecting Individual Trajectories and Resistance Movements in Brazil
    Beatriz Leandro (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo), co-authored with Patricia Viera Trópia and Nora Räthzel
  • A Just Transition for All? A Debate on the Limits and Potentials of a Just Transition in Canada
    Bruno Dobrusin (International Transport Workers’ Federation)
  • The Role of Ecuadorian Working-Class Environmentalism in Promoting Environmental Justice: An Overview of the Hydrocarbon and Agricultural Sectors
    Sara Latorre (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Ecuador)

Discussant: Edouard Morena (University of London Institute in Paris)
Moderator: Dunja Krause (UNRISD)

Environment, labour and justice: Perspectives from the global South

4 April
18.30 CEST
Hosted by University of São Paulo

This webinar draws on perspectives from the global South to examine emerging ideas in the field of environmental labour studies. Researchers will share insights from South Asia, Latin America, and Africa dealing with subjects of labour resistance against fossil fuel reforms, labour-environmental conflicts, and trade union politics regarding just transition policies. Bringing together this diverse array of experiences, the webinar offers a rich assessment of the potential and difficulties involved in bridging labour and environmental struggles in different regions of the world.

  • Fighting in the Name of Workers: Exploring the Dynamics of Labour-Environmental Conflicts in Kerala
    Silpa Satheesh (Azim Premji University, India)
  • Labour Resistance Against Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reform: Neoliberal Discourses and African Realities
    Camilla Houeland (University of Oslo/ Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research, Norway)
  • Trade Union Politics for a Just Transition: Towards Consensus or Contestation?
    Diego Azzi (Federal University of ABC, Brazil)

Moderator: Scott Martin (Columbia University, United States)

The series is co-organized by the Center for Environmental Justice at Colorado State University, the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), the Global Labour University (GLU), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), and the University of São Paulo. The ETUI is financially supported by the EU.