Jobs That Let You Go Green

Campaign trails in the United States national elections always equate with the eternal bombardment of candidate rhetorics, overwhelming potential voters with promises on topics such as national security, health care, and the economy. In the 2008 presidential race, however, Americans are hearing about a new issue in environment and employment: green jobs or jobs that aim to create a more energy-efficient and energy-conscious society.


What are green jobs? Basically, green jobs encompass all jobs that support clean energy solutions, green technology, and energy innovation. It can be used in a broad sense that covers alternative energy, green building, green syndicalism, energy saving modules, solar power, and hybrid vehicle, among others. The term also covers technologies aimed at sustainable development: recycling, sewage treatment, water purification, flue gas treatment, remediation, renewable energy, and solid waste management.

Plans for green jobs

Presidential candidates Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama are both talking seriously about the surge in green jobs, pledging to create more new jobs and training for present and future workers. They also pledge to develop future green industries.

McCain says, "We have the opportunity to apply America’s technological supremacy to capture the export markets for advanced energy technologies, reaping the capital investment and good jobs it will provide." Obama says, "We’ve also got to do more to create the green jobs that are jobs of the future. My energy plan will put $150 billion over 10 years into establishing a green energy sector that will create up to 5 million new jobs over the next two decades."

Green areas

The current focus on energy efficiency and diversity means greater job opportunities in sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind, green building, ethanol production, hazardous waste removal, R&D jobs, consumer goods, recycling, waste composting, and also jobs in construction.

Other areas expected to grow in a few years are the following: energy retrofitting, green landscaping, hybrid car manufacturing, green product manufacturing (for example, solar panels and wind turbine blades), food production that uses sustainably grown and/or organic agricultural products, and whole home performance (for example, ventilation, heating, air conditioning, weatherization; etc.).

More green jobs

In fact, the Worldwatch Institute recently reported that jobs in renewable energy are growing globally, whereas jobs in natural gas and coal are fast disappearing. The report estimates that the renewable energy industry employs (either in supplier industries or directly) around 2.3 million people.

This includes more than 790,000 workers in solar power, 1 million in biofuels and biomass, 39,000 people working in small-scale hydropower and about 25,000 workers in geothermal. The Worldwatch report estimates that these numbers will significantly grow in the coming decades.

Green Jobs Act of 2007

The Green Jobs Act of 2007 is one of the milestones in the green-collar work movement. Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., co-writer of the said, "This innovative proposal — green-jobs — will make $125 million a year available across the country to begin training workers for jobs in the clean energy sector," adding that "Thirty-five thousand people per year can benefit from vocational education that will provide for them secure employment in this country."

The availability and accessibility of green jobs will cross boards of people at all skill levels. The president of the Apollo Alliance, Jerome Ringo, says, "Whether your field is technical, you’re a skilled or unskilled worker, you were laid off… the economic benefits from green jobs spread from the highly educated to the noneducated."


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