Carbon Crusaders


Green-Collar Jobs by bnbrown11
July 19, 2007, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I attended a “Green Jobs Forum” in Boston earlier this week. It was host to a range of influential speakers, most notably John Kerry and Van Jones, who reminded us that the next wave of the environmental movement will rely on repudiating it’s elitism, or as Van Jones put it, “you shouldn’t have to buy a hybrid to get involved”.

The truth is, the green retrofitting of America will represent one of the largest labor opportunities in the 21st century – our generation’s new deal. More importantly, a high portion of those jobs will be for lower income workers. It represents an opportunity to bridge both the socio-economic and environmental divides in America. To reclaim, revive and reconnect communities. It is becoming clear that we must move beyond the eco-apartheid that has confined the environmental movement since the 70’s. We must surge towards eco-equity and the recommendations put forth by the forum for government programs represent a great start in that direction.

Recommendations:

1. Green Enterprise Zones, where the city works with local labor and businesses to bring green businesses into underserved neighborhoods.

2. Prepare a green workforce. Start with “people with barriers to employment” — e.g., conviction, no high school diploma, etc. Don’t just start with people already in the workforce. It will cost more up front ($8-10,000 vs. $1-2,000 per person). But it saves a lot more elsewhere. These folks are not out hurting the neighborhood — instead, they’re working to benefit their communities, take care of their families, etc.

Click here for a more detailed discussion of the “Green Jobs Forum”.

Click here for more information on Van Jones and “The Reclaim the Future” initiative in California.

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