Regional Meetings

April 11th and 12th Midwest Regional Meeting in Chicago, IL

The US Climate Action Council partnered with RE-AMP and Labor Network Sustainability (LNS) to convene the Midwest Regional Meeting in Chicago.  Participants came from various backgrounds and experiences, including labor organizers, environmental activists, policymakers, and academics. The diversity of perspectives led to a lively and informative exchange of ideas.

Highlights from the first day include:  1) A presentation by Sarah Stranahan (RE-AMP) on the source and course of emissions in the Midwest to provide a foundation for the work needed for this region to do its part in addressing the climate crisis. 2) Flash Talks by each participant on highlights of their work, experiences and perspectives on labor, climate and just transition. 3)  Generative dialogue facilitated by LNS Co-Director Liz Ratzloff on how we can ensure that a just transition supports workers and EJ communities and strengthens our unions, communities, and local democracy. And 4) a tour of Haymarket Square, where we grounded in the history of the labor movement, union organizing, and why May 1st is considered Labor Day worldwide. 

Day two kicked off with reflections on our favorite Great Lake. We were prompted to consider how, in the face of global warming, climate migration, and all the impacts of this crisis we are in, do we protect these fresh waters for everyday people, not just corporations, who will eventually try to privatize the lakes for profit and make them unavailable to the public.  Additional highlights included: 1) Hearing about the campaigns and how they connect with work in the midwest on just transition from Basav Sen (Institute for Policy Studies), Fast, Full, Fair, Feminist Fossil Phase-Out, and Rev. Michael Malcolm (Peoples Justice Council), Power 4 Southern People NOT Southern Company.  2) Learning about the EPA’s Transformational Toolkit, which included an overview of various grant programs and technical assistance opportunities, by EPA Advisor Jasmine Davenport and Dr. Larissa Mark. 3) A World Cafe, in which 6 rich conversations unfolded on issues at the intersection of labor and climate. The conversations covered a wide range of topics, including: the impact of climate change on jobs and communities, agriculture and food systems, the role of unions in promoting environmental sustainability, the need for government policies that support both workers and the environment.  

One of the key takeaways from the discussion was the need for greater collaboration between the labor and environmental movements. Participants recognized that both movements share common goals, such as creating a more just and sustainable economy. They also acknowledged that they can learn from each other's experiences and strategies. Participants agreed to create an open-source document that synthesizes and summarizes the ideas and proposals generated in the world cafe process.  Please look out for those in the coming weeks.


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  • Kyle Sanborn
    published this page 2024-05-30 11:09:02 -0400

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