Graduate Class: Climate Crisis and the Labor Movement

The Labor Studies Program invites all union members, activists, and CUNY & non‐CUNY graduate-level students to enroll in our special topics graduate class:

Trade Unions and Social Movement Approaches to Climate Change and Ecological Degradation

Taught by Sean Sweeney
Thursdays, January 28th to May 12th, 2016 @ 6:15-8:45pm

The emergence of alarming scientific data on climate change, pollution and ecological degradation has triggered a rising wave of activism and organizing around environmental issues. The scientific reality has forced labor and other social movements to debate and propose solutions to what amounts to a civilizational crisis.

How can the labor movement and others best respond to this crisis?  What does the Paris Agreement mean for both workers and the environment?  This class is designed to give students a foundation in the scientific, social, and political aspects of the looming crisis so that they can more effectively engage their unions, movement activism, and scholarship in efforts to protect the environment and our future.

We will look at how the ecological crisis is expressing itself in the form of climate change and warming temperatures; growing water scarcity, toxic forms of agriculture, and other major challenges.  We will learn how unions and movements are variously responding to the challenges at the level of organizing and policy, why different groups are responding differently, and consider new directions.  A key component of the course will involve looking at ‘big picture’ theoretical questions, including notions of ‘planetary limits’ and the capacity of the capitalist political economy to deliver a truly sustainable society in the coming decades.  The course will also examine how social movements are asserting a new narrative based on democracy, transparency and sufficiency.

NOTE: This course is open to all non-degree/non-matriculated students who already hold a Bachelor’s Degree by filling out form below. Current CUNY graduate students should register for the course via E-Permit @ CUNY Portal and pay tuition to their home college. Once a permit is approved and processed the course will appear on the tuition bill and your course schedule will be generated by the home college. For more information about registration and tuition and fees, please contact / 212-642-2050

Photo: “People’s Climate March 2014 NYC” via South Bend Voice