On the occasion of Labor Day, we would like to invite you to reflect on the implications of the climate crisis for workers. We have historically fought for workers’ rights, but we must know that our work also has an impact on the planet and we must act accordingly.
Failure to act on this problem can generate a series of risks for the economy and employment, such as higher prices for natural resources and reduced productivity in some sectors.
Pope Francis has spoken on multiple occasions about the relationship between labor and the environmental crisis, noting that “nature is a gift we have received, it is not a product of our hand.” In his encyclical Laudato Si’, the Pope stresses the importance of a holistic approach to addressing environmental problems, including not only the protection of nature, but also the protection of human rights, including workers’ rights.
In 2019, the UN held a Climate Action Summit at which a new initiative, “Climate Action for Jobs,” aimed at ensuring that decent job creation and livelihood protection are at the heart of countries’ efforts to drive climate action, was launched. Spain and Peru have led this initiative, developed jointly with the Climate Action Summit, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other members of the Summit’s Social and Political Drivers Action Area.
It is our duty to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy in order to generate green jobs and improve working conditions in some sectors. In turn, we can propose the adoption of sustainable practices in the workplace, such as reducing energy and resource consumption and promoting recycling and reuse practices.
May Labor Day be an opportunity to remember that our work and our relationship with the environment are closely intertwined. We must work together to address the climate crisis and protect the planet that gives us life. Echoing Francis’ message, “let us work together to cultivate this world that God has entrusted to us to be a garden of harmony and peace.”