Leading US trade unionist in St Austell

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A TUC event in Cornwall highlighting union concerns for the environment and the need for grass roots support for action on climate change has attracted a leading trade unionist from the USA.

Barbara Byrd, who runs the AFL-CIO (the TUC in the USA) regional office in Oregon, is speaking at the ‘Building Alliances to Change the Way we Live and Work’ conference, taking place today at the U-Net Union Learning Centre, in St Austell. Other speakers include Tim Smit, co-founder and executive director of the Eden Project, and Nigel Costley, South West TUC Regional Secretary, Green Workplaces project.

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Geoff Hale, unionlearn regional development worker in Cornwall, said: “The event reflects the unions’ concerns for the environment and the contribution working people can make to fighting climate change. We are delighted that these speakers have agreed to join us.”

Byrd, has played a key role in the US in encouraging their work on climate change and energy policy, including as a member of the ITUC delegation to the UN conferences. She has been working with Labor Center, in Oregon, developing a training curriculum on climate change for trade unionists; making connections between climate policy and jobs, working with the state council. She has been involved in the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmental groups and some surprising unions like the automotive workers and steel union. She is also on the Board of the Labor Network for Sustainability.

1 COMMENT

  1. Sounds interesting! The private sector needs to be driven to start investing in and building renewable energy schemes.

    At Follett Stock we are fielding incresing enquiries from large land owners for advice on how to get involved in the renewable sector. Yesterday at the Royal Cornwall Show I met some fascinating people who have already developed profitable solar, hydro-electric and wind schemes on their land with little or no help from the government and even in some cases in the face of bureaucratic obstructions.

    As I mentioned to local MP George Eustice (a very nice guy from a farming background who is held in high esteem in the Conservatice Party) the solution has to be to educate and encourage large debt and equity capital providers from financial centres to invest in the right people in Cornwall. Even though they are businesses, farms are still run as either sole traders or partnerships. They need to incorporate in order to attract outside capital more easily and go through equity fundraising rounds. In turn, the profitable well run ones will be able to buy out the old fashioned farming ‘businesses’ reliant on state hand outs to keep going. This will lead to innovation, wealth, growth and jobs being generated in Cornwall and also help solve our local and national energy crisis by producing clean, safe, cheap and secure sources of energy for all of us.

    By way of background, I helped orginate and organise The New Energy Awards in London at my previous firm Rosenblatt Solicitors and also worked as an equity finance and capital markets lawyer for a few years in the City and Dubai.

    Please follow my ideas and conversations at:

    http://twitter.com/jonathanlea

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