Who are we?
Just Transition Wakefield was formed in 2019 as a partnership between Wakefield and District Trades Council and Wakefield Friends of the Earth: an alliance between the Labour and Green movements at the time when the need for climate action was hitting the headlines. We now count in our group third sector organisations, individuals, politicians from the Labour and Green parties, as well as the original founders.
Why Just Transition Wakefield?
Every country must start its transition from a fossil fuel economy to a zero carbon economy. This transition could take many forms. Our intention is that this transition is socially, economically and environmentally just – that it improves lives, and does not leave people behind.
The trade unions use this phrase to describe how they plan to protect their members and other workers, to ensure that the economic and employment transition does not leave communities on the scrap heap in the way that the closure of the mills, the pits and the steelworks did. We are fully aligned with this.
What does the organisation do?
The local authority has set itself the challenge of reaching net zero by 2030. The council needs help to achieve this, and that help includes public and political pressure so that it cannot get lost in the daily thrust of politics and central government initiatives. This against the backdrop of years of austerity, and now the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Our primary role is to support, critique and maintain pressure on the council to make sure this happens.
It is essential that our political and administrative bodies – from Parish Councils to Global Government – make policy and legislative decisions to drive the transition to a zero carbon economy. But they will not do this without constant political pressure. Just Transition Wakefield will continue to work with and support climate and ecological campaign groups such as Youth Strikes for Climate to keep the pressure on politicians at every level, as well as engaging directly with the council’s climate change team. This will take place nationally and regionally, as well as locally.
Politicians and civil servants need a critical mass of the population to engage and buy in to the actions and policies that will be essential. We need to publicise and enable community action to reduce CO2 emissions and to improve the quality of life for all. This could be through support for home insulation or community energy schemes. This could be through tree planting and local food growing. This could be through waste reduction and recycling. And this will be through public education and information.
None of these things, on their own, will deliver the scale of change needed at the speed that is required. This is why groups such as ours must work on many fronts.
This is also why we network and ally with other groups with similar aims – we need to be a multiplier not a single actor. See which other organisations we work with here.
Wakefield and District Trades Council
Wakefield and District Trades Council represents over 15,000 trade union members in Wakefield and the Five Towns. Previously at the heart of the Yorkshire mining industry, we have seen significant change across the District when well-paid, highly regarded jobs were lost, pushing families and whole communities, into insecure futures, unemployment, and poverty wages.
In Wakefield we fully understand what an Unjust Transition looks like: we have felt the impact already as mines and mills have closed, and fear for the future and further job losses as digitalisation changes the ways we work.
Trades Council discusses issues brought by delegates of our affiliated branches - issues that they have been discussing and campaigning about in their work. We have passed anti-fracking motions, and in December 2018 we passed a motion, Protect our Futures – Climate Change and Jobs, calling for Just Transition training and Eco Reps in all workplaces. In April 2019 we passed a Climate Emergency Motion calling for Carbon Zero across the District by 2030, and ever since have been working on this issue.
Find out more on their Facebook page
Wakefield Friends of the Earth
Acting now for an improved environment, with a safer climate, flourishing nature and healthy air, water and food. Campaigning for a greener world and a healthier Wakefield & Five Towns district.
Friends of the Earth is committed to a sustainable world, based on societies living in harmony with each other and with nature. Our priority is to hand to the next generation the environment of the Earth in a better condition.
But the climate and nature crisis threatens to destabilise the conditions for life on Earth. In the 2020s, humans face unique challenges - however, these problems have solutions.
In Wakefield we are part of a growing and diverse network of people coming together to transform our environment in a socially just way.
The transition to a zero carbon Wakefield has begun. We aim to include everyone in this journey, with many more green jobs becoming available across the district.