Labor & Sustainability Conference
October 5-6, 2007
All Souls, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO

Call For A Labor & Sustainability Conference

The technology driving our agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation, that has dramatically improved human life over the past two centuries, has also had a profound, negative impact on the health of our planet.

There is no longer any real doubt that this human activity has greatly accelerated any natural process of global warming. It is clear that this altering of our climate is moving faster than expected even a few years ago. It is a threat to life as we know it. Far reaching changes are urgently needed to save our civilization, our planet.

Can we slow and reverse these trends–and many other threats to our environment--before it is too late?

Can we find a way to sustain both the health of our planet and a quality living standard?

We are convinced the answer to these questions can be yes–but only if we act immediately, boldly, and decisively. If we delay, we will leave a bleak, shameful heritage to future generations.

Our experience gives fresh daily confirmation that the captains of industry and commerce, and our political leaders, left to their own inclinations, will not take the initiatives urgently required. Science alone has not given them sufficient motivation for breaking with their old, comfortable and profitable ways. Like all previous great progressive social changes, saving the environment will require an independent mass movement to get the job done.

“Ordinary” working people are on the front line of the environmental crisis. Starting with traditional organizations such as unions, and building new formations dedicated to this issue as needed, the working class majority also needs to be on the front lines of the mass movement required to achieve a just transition to sustainability. As well as confronting familiar adversaries in the corporate and political arenas working people will find natural allies among scientists, environmentalists, family farmers, people of faith, and student activists.

There have already been some initiatives along these lines. A two-day conference in St Paul in January, hosted by United Auto Workers Local 879, brought some 200 union members and environmental activists together for a pioneering discussion on the mounting global climate crisis from a working class perspective. In May labor leaders attended a North American Labor Assembly on Climate Crisis, organized by the Cornell Global Labor Institute, in New York.

As a contribution to this growing interest in labor involvement in the environmental crisis we are calling a Labor & Sustainability Conference, to be held in Kansas City October 5-6. We urge all organizations with an interest in this issue to endorse this conference and help us to plan and build it. And, of course, we invite all interested individuals to attend the conference.

Schedule and registration information will be posted in August.

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