Climate Change Adaptation in the workplace – handbook research and lunchtime webinar

UNISON Scotland is working with the STUC and Sniffer – the charity which delivers the Adaptation Scotland programme for the Scottish Government – to create useful resources for trade unions on climate change adaptation* in the workplace.

We are looking for a wide audience of trade unionists in Scotland to give their views so we can develop the most useful resources for green workplace action. We’re interested to discuss at a webinar in July (details below) things like:

  • Do members worry about climate change and how it is affecting their jobs?
  • Have you had discussions with employers on the climate emergency?
  • What are employers doing to adapt to the changing weather risks from climate change?
  • Do some members think we don’t need to spend time on this when there are other pressing priorities ?
  • Do members see climate change as a health and safety issue?
  • Are members already experiencing weather-related risks and disruption and, if so, how is this affecting workers?

We hope that members keen to act on the climate emergency and others who are sceptical will come together to discuss these issues, learn more and take part in a survey to help contribute to preparation of a handbook/toolkit for trade unions on climate change adaptation in the workplace. The aim is to publish the handbook before the UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in November.

Although this will be of particular interest to health & safety reps and green/environment reps, all trade union members are welcome. Do share widely to TU colleagues.

Survey

As part of Sniffer’s gathering of information/research to write the handbook, they are keen to ask trade union members across Scotland to answer a few questions on adaptation at work and to do some one-to-one interviews. The survey should take approximately 5 to 10 minutes and you can take part by clicking this link.

Lunchtime webinar: Tuesday, July 13 from 1pm-2pm

A lunchtime webinar will be held on July 13 and will include a presentation of just under 30 minutes, with a question and answer session following. It will be useful for all trade unionists – giving an outline of what is meant by adaptation and examples of the need for us to take action at work, touching on issues as diverse as rising temperatures and thermal comfort, workwear and scheduling outdoor activities, how climate change will impact the spread of pests and diseases, planning for extreme weather etc. You don’t need any prior knowledge to attend and we welcome those with sceptical questions as we want to know what your concerns are. You can register to attend the event on Eventbrite by clicking here

 

*When thinking about how to react to climate change most people think about climate change mitigation (i.e. actions to cut emissions such as using renewable energy), but mitigation is only one side of the climate action coin. Because emissions do not instantly warm the climate – atmospheric time lags and the thermal inertia of the oceans mean it can take decades for the full climate warming impacts of greenhouse gases to be felt. So even if emissions fell to zero tomorrow – air temperatures would rise for another 30+ years and sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. This is because the full warming effect of historic emissions (especially those released between 1980 and 2020), is not yet being fully felt, but is inevitable. Our society, economy, workplaces and environment are not designed to operate in these new conditions. We will have to adapt to become resilient to a warmer planet with more frequent and severe weather extremes. This action is known as climate change adaptation. It is the other side of the climate action coin and it is as urgent and timely as the need to decarbonise.

 

You can get in touch with the UNISON representatives on the project’s steering group (Steve Gray, Aberdeenshire UNISON branch co-chair and Aberdeen Trades Union Council; and Fiona Montgomery, Information Development Officer with UNISON Scotland) by emailing Fiona Montgomery at f.montgomery@unison.co.uk