‘Human-induced climate change has serious environmental, economic and social consequences for all countries and all peoples and represents one of the most serious global challenges facing governments and society in the 21st century.’ (EI World Congress Resolution 2.5.1)
At its officers meeting in Dublin on April 4, 2014, Education International (EI) decided to join Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED). Representing more than 30 million teachers and education employees in 170 countries, EI is the fourth global union federation to join TUED. The International Transport Workers’ Federation, Public Services International, and International Union of Food Workers all joined in 2013. Presently, more than 30 unions and national trade union centers from 12 different countries are also participating in the effort.
David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary, will represent Education International on TUED’s global advisory group. In an email to TUED, David Edwards said: “Education and environment go hand in hand and that has become critically apparent this year. In January, UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report issued its ground-breaking study of the role of quality education across a wide range of social impacts and called it ‘vital in preventing environmental degradation and limiting the causes and effects of climate change.’ The sustainability of our environment depends on the sustainability of stewardship and global citizenship created when quality education for all is the cornerstone of development.”
At the last World Congress in Durban 2011, EI passed a resolution entitled ‘Education Unions mobilising on climate change.’
Education International was among the trade union bodies that got behind the ITUC’s effort to secure a global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009.
The University College Union (UCU) in the UK joined TUED in 2013 and has been a solid supporter of TUED. UCU is an EI affiliate.
As UCU’s Environment Coordinator Graham Petersen notes, “2014 will be a defining year for protecting our planet. As a global federation of education unions EI has a key role to play. It is our members who are in the frontline of delivering knowledge and training about the causes and effects of climate change. They are crucial to creating a skills and research base that can deliver the transition to a global low carbon economy. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) needs to be moved from the margins into the mainstream. We need to shift the discussion out of the narrow confines of ‘environmental issues’ into the broader arena of social justice and global citizenship.” Graham Petersen is UCU’s Environment Coordinator and a member of TUED’s global advisory group, and he produces the UCU’s bulletin, Environmental News.
In October 2012, one of EI’s largest affiliates – the National Education Association – was represented at the international trade union roundtable in New York City. NEA Executive Committee member Princess Moss represented the NEA at the meeting. The 70-person roundtable decided to launch TUED. More information about the roundtable is here.