The Labor Movement's Power

After the successful Hollywood strike, what can the climate movement glean?

The Labor Movement's Power
Alex Katz, Autumn 10, 2023. Courtesy GRAY Chicago/New York. Artwork© Alex Katz Studio / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

LISTENING: to the water move through my heaters (it's cold!)
FEELING: grateful for sweater weather
SEEING: cute pixel art on my new speaker

This morning, I met up with Marlena Fontes, a labor organizer who's recently joined the climate movement in a role with the Climate Organizing Hub, a new organization that's committed to stopping the fossil fuel industry. You'll have to wait to read my piece on her to learn more about her story, but I left our conversation feeling quite inspired.

The labor movement has seen some incredible wins lately. The climate movement could use some of that energy. Solidarity can fuel the unlikely — collaboration can power victory. And unity can make even the impossible feel inevitable.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I'm celebrating the wins.

Spending time with Marlena this morning reminded me of the way the labor movement caters to a particular group: workers. By tending to their members' needs, labor unions have completely transformed life in the U.S. It's because of unions and the labor movement that we have minimum wage and protections for children (though illegal child labor is still happening).

Just this week, the Writers Guild of America reached an agreement on behalf of its screenwriters. The members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are still striking, but they now see potential for a positive outcome. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Federal Employees, which represents wildland firefighters, has raised concerns that the federal government will lose firefighters if it doesn't prevent a government shutdown. Autoworkers are getting it poppin' too.

Unions get shit done. And I'm excited about the prospect of folks in the space becoming more involved in climate justice. Marlena used to organize nurses and airport workers. She was a winner. That's what the climate movement needs. 🌀

Rest in Power

While we can't say for certain that climate change led to these specific weather events (we need attribution studies for that), we do know that the Earth's rising temperatures are already creating more disasters like these.

A flash flood in Guatemala City Monday has killed at least six people.

In Mexico, at least seven people have lost their lives to flash floods, too.

A report last week found that the summer's extreme heat killed nearly 300 people in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Over the weekend, severe rains and winds bore down on South Africa, killing at least 11 people.

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