Social justice is at the heart of Earthworker’s business. A sustainable and just society is both what we are working to foster and create, and what we are committed to upholding throughout all of activities.
SOCIAL JUSTICE FUND
5% of all surplus produced by Earthworker Co-operatives will go straight into a dedicated social justice fund. Initially, this will support low-income and elderly households deal with the impacts of climate change and increasing heat waves, by installing new solar roof ventilators into their rooves. These highly efficient ventilators, to be produced and installed by Earthworker, can drastically reduce the air temperature in roof cavities, thus providing a highly effective, low energy, cheap, house-cooling alternative to air conditioning for disadvantaged households.
UPDATE: – Partnership with the Father Bob MaGuire Foundation
Through our recent successful crowdfunding campaign, Earthworker raised funds for a number of social justice solar hot water installations in social and disadvantaged housing. We are glad to announce a partnership with the Father Bob, who will help administer our social justice funds to those that need them most. Already, together with Father Bob, we have completed the first two social justice installations in South Melbourne, and Geelong – see our news page for more details.
TOWARDS A JUST TRANSITION
Increasing awareness of the negative health impacts of coal-combustion, steadily rising global temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events and growing numbers of climate-refugees demonstrate the urgent need to move beyond coal-fired power. For a safe climate, clean air and healthy communities, we urgently need to transition away from coal.
HOWEVER, in reaching towards a more sustainable and just society, Earthworker recognises the need for any transition away from coal to be ‘just’ and fair for communities who currently depend on the coal industry. A ‘just transition’ means replacing the jobs and energy that fossil fuels currently account for, and ensuring that workers and communities currently dependent on the coal industry are not thrown on the scrap heap.
Earthworker aims to meet all of these needs: to help lead a ‘just transition’ in Australia. That is why the location of our first worker’s co-operative, Eureka’s Future, is the Latrobe Valley – the current heart of Victoria’s dirty brown coal industry. Manufacturing solar hot water systems here is a tangible step in a just transition away from coal in Australia.
Earthworker considers building broad alliances as a key part of this work, including the bringing together often divided groups like trade unionists, environmentalists and small businesses. Indeed we believe that this is part of our strength, proven by the rare breadth of supporters we have; from Yallourn coal power station workers in the Latrobe Valley, to Quit Coal activists; from small businesses to ACTU President Ged Kearney and leading economist Ross Garnaut. To read more about our prominent supporters and endorsers, click here.
Project Founder Dave Kerin and small business partner Joe Conte would have been standing on opposite sides 10 years ago, but now find themselves in partnership, committed to working to support local manufacturing and cooperative renewable energy.