Environment Tied To Workers’ Rights

Human rights, workers’ rights, and the condition of our environment are all intertwined. A clean, healthy and sustainable environment is essential in the enjoyment of our human rights. Labor unions have, historically, fought to protect workers from environmental contaminants.

Strong unions might have helped us make corporations reduce their carbon emissions. Yet, unions were crippled and corporate power has dominated over the last sixty years, especially in the U.S.

A Brief History of Trade Unions in Canada

Until 1872 trade unions were illegal in Canada.  In that year twenty-four Toronto Typographical Union members were imprisoned for fighting for a nine-hour day. A workers’ protest ensued.

As a result, Prime Minister Sir John A. McDonald  was compelled to abolish the laws that made being a union member illegal. It is thought that the protest was inspired by the Tolpuddle Martyrs, five of whom moved to London, Ontario upon being freed in 1839.

Jump to present day. Strong unions are needed to balance corporate power that, today, holds the upper hand. Strong unions could help us in our fight to make corporations reduce their carbon emissions.

Attended Tolpuddle Award Ceremony 2022

Every year the importance of unions – and how the Tolpuddle Martyrs fought for them – is commemorated through an awards ceremony in London, Ontario. The award is given to a member of one of London’s labor unions for championing worker’s rights and our labor unions.

I attended  the 2022 Tolpuddle Award ceremony in support of workers today. The ceremony was held in Peace Park at 11 a.m. Afterwards, we marched to Victoria Park for today’s International Worker’s Day rally.

I spoke with Peggy Satler, our New Democrat Party (NDP)  Provincial Member of Parliament (MPP) and Jennifer Chesnut, an environmentalist activist. On behalf of Greenspace Alliance, I agreed to participate in a youth eco-activism workshop at Central Library on Sat May 7, 2022.

Lower Dingman: Leaving Private Groups To Restore Tree Canopy Takes Too Long

Facts About Lower Dingman ESA

The Lower Dingman Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) covers 20 hectares of publicly-owned lands in southwest London. While still within City limits, this ESA is situated in a rural setting, unlike most of London’s publicly-owned ESAs. It is part of the larger Lower Dingman Corridor potential ESA, most of which is in private ownership.

Prior to 1955, the land west of the creek was used for crops, while the east side was a mixture of pasture and woodland. The land was reforested in stages in the 1950s to 1980s, starting in 1959 by the Delaware Sportsmen’s Association.

The access point for the Lower Dingman ESA is located at 3370 Homewood Lane, reached via Deadman’s Road east of Westdel Bourne. Hikers will find 1.6 km of managed trails to explore. They are identified by yellow trail markers on trees or posts. Most of the trail is flat and sections offer picturesque views of Dingman Creek. These facts are in the city’s brochure about the area.

Private Reforestation Efforts Not Enough

The Delaware Sportsmen’s Association did great work, as does Reforest London today. It’s fantastic that private groups have been working on reforestation and growing our tree canopy. Yet, Londoners cannot leave the job of of growing our tree canopy to a couple of private groups. We need to grow our tree canopy to 40% as soon as possible citywide, and not just over a few hectors.

To do that, we need to elect city counsellors who understand what will happen if we do not aggressively counter the causes of global warming. We must be proactive in planting trees and expanding greenspace because trees gobble up carbon, and humanity has produced so much carbon that it has raised earth’s temperature and changed climates worldwide.

The trees planted between forty and sixty years ago have restored the forest canopy for that 20 hectares. That’s fantastic. Yet, we don’t have forty years before some pretty dire consequences of global warming hit us. We barely have twenty years for trees to mature before cities begin being too hot to inhabit. So must start planting in a big way NOW.

Every municipality must join in the effort to halt and reverse global warming.  This is an existential threat to humanity and no city can sit this one out.

Greenspace Alliance is Live!

Hello, and welcome to the Greenspace Alliance (greenspacealliance.ca) Blog.

Greenspace Alliance is an activist organization. It has been formed to encourage London’s mayor and city council to increase greenspace and tree canopy in London, Ontario.

We are promoting the expansion and development of greenspace, the rapid acceleration of tree planting, and increasing London’s tree canopy.

We are urging London’s city government to take these actions because:

  • London needs a minimum tree canopy of 40% to help cool the city and

  • A 40% tree canopy will help remove carbon dioxide from the air and slow global warming.

My name is Angus Johnson. I will be posting updates  here to let you know what our organization is doing to grow the tree canopy in London, Ontario.

Want to get involved? Contact us through our form.

Thank you!