On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.
The Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) offers a variety of resources to organizations needing to arm themselves with information about the government, dissent and civil liberties. The CLDC provides free legal support to activists – they have defended over 900 activists and trained over 3000 activists in their over 10 years of service to the community. They are working each day to arm more lawyers with training and support to defend and protect activists, including those organizing with the Global Climate Convergence.
Climate change is already affecting what we all eat, and is the biggest
threat to winning the fight against hunger. Coal is the biggest single
cause of climate change, yet the G7 countries are still burning huge
amounts, despite efficient, affordable, renewable alternatives being
available. G7 coal power stations emit twice as much fossil fuel CO2 as
the whole of Africa, and their contribution to global warming will cost
Africa alone more than $43bn per year by the 2080s and $84bn by
2100, and lead to several million tonnes of staple crops lost
worldwide. To set the tone for a successful climate agreement at the
UN talks in Paris in December 2015, the G7 must lead the world in
setting out clear plans for a just transition away from coal. With the
right mix of regulatory and policy measures, some countries can move
to coal-free electricity grids within the next decade.
Learn more about the importance of food cooperatives – bringing food access to low income communities & helping fix a broken food system – from the Cooperative Development Institute. Starting a food cooperative is an example of a People’s Climate Strike action that educates about the current problems with our food system while creating the community based solution.
Particularly given the results of the latest report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we must ask ourselves some critical questions about how we prepare our children to face the world they will be inheriting, and the harsh truth of today’s conditions and dynamics. How do we ensure that our youth emerge from their studies with an understanding of the intersection between our social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental status in society? How do we teach them their role as influencers of what’s happening in their environment, now and in the future?
The Environmental Justice Classroom Resource Guide provides a list of clearinghouse websites with multiple environmental justice (EJ) resources for various age groups, a list of individual EJ lesson plans for various age groups, and a short list of hip-hop videos/songs to help engage youth in classroom settings and beyond.
When the immigrant-rights movement chose May Day for its big demonstrations a few years ago, people shouldn’t have been surprised. The worldwide workers’ holiday was “Made in the U.S.A.”
May Day’s roots are deep in American history. In 1886, seeking the spark that would ignite the struggling labor movement, the fledgling American Federation of Labor called a general strike for the eight-hour day to begin on May Day, the carpenters’ traditional day for setting wages and conditions.