Credit: Anthony Ginsbrook/Unsplash

Erik Loomis: Why labor and environmental movements split—and how they can come back together

Unions and greens have had a very public divorce—but rethinking their relationship is now more critical than ever

Neither the labor movement nor the environmental movement has the power that it did four decades ago.

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Edward Wojtaszek/flickr

Toward a working-class environmentalism.

The 2016 election was cataclysmic for environmentalists. Despite the record global warmth of 2015 and early 2016, environmental issues played almost no role in the election (no question about climate change was asked in the three presidential debates). Major environmental groups lobbied heavily for Hillary Clinton, and her loss left them with an actively hostile President-elect Donald Trump. The appointment of climate skeptic Myron Ebell to head Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team bodes very poorly for the future. Trump has not yet nominated a secretary of the Interior, but the nominee will likely be someone who is devoted to promoting the aggressive energy development of the nation’s public lands, while showing active hostility toward land preservation, endangered species protection, and aggressive pollution controls.

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