Ever since I watched the series “Eco Tech” on the Science Channel I’ve been optimistic about going green in America relative to a new economy, one that most of America desperately needs. Along with thousands of other Americans who are embracing a new future, and huge corporations like GE that is having trouble keeping up with wind turbine demands, I see very little drawbacks to forging ahead in the world of green. I’ve listed all the positives before and it appears that others are trying to put all those positives into action.
An Oakland, California based human rights activist named Van Jones is seeing the future in green also. He believes it will be power for the people by the people, that there is a need in the green industry for blue collar workers redubbed “green collar.” Jones says, ‘Polar bears, Priuses, and Ph.D.s aren’t going to do it alone’ according to an article about him in Time magazines Dec. 3rd, 07 issue called “Bring Eco-Power to the People.” Green jobs need to find a way to expand to the rest of the economy.
Jones is a Yale educated lawyer who founded the Ella Baker Ctr. for Human Rights in Oakland. He sees the need to: ‘Give the work that most needs to be done to the people who most need the work.’ This man is figuring that many unemployable workers could easily be retrained for green jobs like installing solar panels, organic gardening, and green construction.
The article says that a study by the “Cleantech Network, which tracks green investment, found that for every $100 million in green venture capital, 250,000 new jobs could be created.” Jones along with Majora Carter recently started a campaign called GREEN FOR ALL to secure one billion in government funding to train a quarter-million workers in green fields. Carter says in the article: “We’re looking for an environmental Marshall Plan for the 21st century.” Jones sees this as a way to reunite a very separated left and right. He wholeheartedly believes in bringing together the business, tech, and racial-justice communities. From that there will be no more blue and red division in America. We’ll all be working toward the green.
This is not the only article I’ve read about future green collar jobs. My husband’s skilled trades paper had an article about union trades people volunteering their own time to help learn as they constructed an environmental house with Lawrence Tech students for the Solar Decathlon 2007. The interest in green is there, but as the article stated, global warming must relinquish its narrow focus as just an existential threat and embrace the new look of an “enormous economic opportunity.”
Read my blog on Eco Tech if you haven’t done so. If you ever get a chance to catch the weeklong series again please do. There are green companies and inventions in place and ready to go. An example: Centia which plans on mass producing jet fuel from the thick grease, some 4 billion lbs. of it, discarded annually by restaurants. It is indistinguishable from the real stuff at only $2.23 per gallon, and creates far less pollution while eradicating the greasy, gobby stuff. And like Jones’s idea, another company RWA employs the homeless and unemployable to collect the grease for Centia. I’m waiting for Centia or RWA stock. Another company that is set to purify water from sewage came up with the same figure of 250,000 for new jobs in a green economy just to start.
Going green does not mean doom and gloom for the world’s economy, just ask Germany, the world’s leader in going green and quickly. It’s a time of great opportunity because it is a time of great need. Every country must utilize their most ingenious, most intelligent citizenry for new invention, but there will still be the need for everyday people to finance, layout, truck, construct, assemble, and create those new ways to power the world. It is truly “power for the people by the people.”
To hear interviews with green movement leaders goto: time.com/going green also.