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A green collar economy

Posted by Shannon Oliver, Associate,

In the spirit of Earth Day, I took a look at how the environmental movement can foster job growth. Here's what I found:

First, what exactly are green jobs and what can they do to spur the U.S. economy and stop climate change? Simply put, green jobs are jobs that are good for the environment, good for our planet, and pay a living wage. In a recent New York Times article entitled, Millions of Jobs of a Different Collar, the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope stated, “A green job has to do something useful for people, and it has to be helpful to, or at least not damaging to, the environment.”

Can the fight against global warming really create millions of these green jobs across America? With worry about the economy on the rise, it is certainly a hopeful scenario. A recent article in the Oakland Tribune suggests that experts envision just such a future: “If global warming is to be slowed, it will take wholesale change in how electricity is generated, how people travel and how they heat and cool their houses. That means installing hundreds of millions of solar panels, building thousands of wind farms and geothermal plants, engineering new ways to derive energy from renewable sources and weatherizing millions of homes. Green companies are rapidly hiring new workers and indications are they will continue.”

For those who want to dig a little deeper into the data, please check out my longer post on the potential number of jobs created by a cleaner, greener economy. And have a happy Earth Day!

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