Sunday, November 8, 2009

Good green jobs for all conference a big success

The Good Green Jobs for All conference went off without a hitch on Saturday. There were close to 600 people registered who came from labour, environmental, community and social justice organizations. There was a lot of positive energy, excellent speakers and good discussion.

OPSEU was a platinum sponsor of the conference and I was privileged to be part of the planning committee. All those evening pizza meetings paid off.

Allstream Centre - the GGJ4A conference was one of the first users of the renovated Automotive Building at the CNE. The Allstream Centre is a silver LEED certified building.

OPSEU display

There were a lot of great moments at the conference. One of the best for me was the end of the day speech by Clayton George Thomas-Muller, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, currently working on the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign. It was a comprehensive analysis and rousing call to action.

Muller called for shutting down the tar sands and challenging the economic development model of capitalism itself as part of a road map to a greener, more equitable society.

Other keynote speakers included Tonika Morgan and Peter Tabuns. Each of the three workshops had panel presenters to help focus the discussion and to formulate a short list of priority campaigns.

I took part in the Infrastructure workshop. Priorities included support for Transit City and Metrolinks, education & training and some focus on how to make the Pan Am games (which had been awarded to Toronto the night before) work for the community.

All participants were asked to fill in the blank - "A good, green job is...." and then have their pictures taken. Check it out.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much coverage of the conference in the media but here's one story from the Canadian Press.

Hundreds brainstorm on making economy green at Toronto conference
How to stimulate Ontario's economy while protecting the environment at the same time was the focus of the Good Green Jobs for All conference in Toronto on Saturday

About 550 environmentalists, members of the labour movement and people interested in social justice attended the sold-out conference which featured speeches and workshops.

Statistics Canada said Friday Canada's struggling economy shed 43,200 jobs last month for a national jobless rate of 8.6 per cent, up from 8.4 per cent in September. Ontario's unemployment rate rose a tenth of a point to 9.3 per cent in October.

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