The southern leg will start on the 12th May in Central London and then move onto the Transition initative, Grow Heathrow. The northern leg starts on the same day in Glasgow. Throughout the tour, there will be meetings, publicity stunts, cycle rides and the spread of information.. The message of the tour will be simple: the creation of climate jobs – in public transport, home insulation, and renewable energy – can help solve both the economic and climate crisis.
Climate change is not a distant future. Its effects are being felt today. Britain has just experienced its driest March in 59 years (as well as one of the wettest Aprils) threatening drought. But it’s not just Britain that is being hit by extreme weather. 2010 saw the warmest summer in 500 years in Eastern Europe, killing thousands and devastating crops. That same year, the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history occurred, killing 1,500 people. According to the Nature Climate Change Journal, extreme weather events have increased over the past decade and are very likely caused by human-induced global warming.
At the same time, austerity is ripping people’s lives apart. The UK currently has its highest levels of unemployment in a generation. According to government figures, 2.67 million people are currently unemployed in Britain. This figure understates the real number. In addition, 22.2% of 16-24 years are unemployed.
The Campaign Against Climate Trade Union Group (CACCTU) believes that these two crises do not have to be understood separately. Instead, we should unite the struggles emphasising the need not only to tackle the economic crisis and get people into jobs, but also put forward a positive programme to address rising CO2 emissions and reduce the prospect of catastrophic climate change.
In 2010, the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group published the pamphlet ‘One Million Climate Jobs’. It outlines how when unemployment is at its highest in a generation and climate catastrophe is looming, what is required is a National Climate Service which could provide one million climate jobs, in particular in renewable energy, transport and housing.
At a time of rising unemployment and further cuts, the Climate Jobs Caravan could not come at a better time. Rather than asking for people to work for free doing workfare, we want to demand the government creates climate jobs that help reduce both emissions and unemployment.The Climate Jobs Caravan, is in Norwich on Thursday 17 May, outside the Forum from 11am to 6pm. A TU backed project, it will screen films and provide materials describing how the government could create a million climate jobs to tackle the economic crisis and the climate crisis at the same time – for a fraction of the cost of bailing out the banks.
Meet the 1%
Meanwhile in London today (12 May) Occupy London has organised a tour of the "1%" who have caused the financial crisis and to continue to exercise the right of citizens to peacefully assemble in public spaces and develop the democratic processes to address the problems we face.
The event starts at 1pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, with a teach-out organised by the Tent City University, before a visit to those who:
- Gambled with our pensions and savings,
- Created financial nonsense to make money out of thin air,
- Brought the global economy to the brink of ruin and forced ordinary people to pay for their mess,
- Paid hundreds of thousands to wine and dine with our ‘elected’ representatives,
- Have taken more than £1tn in bailouts from the taxpayer and continue to pay themselves exorbitant bonuses,
- evaded billions in taxes,
- Determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce, and
- Are benefiting by the crisis by grabbing fat privatisation contracts of our public services
Images from Connect the Dots a global event on May 5 organised by 350.0rg to emphasize the connection between extreme weather and climate change.