When talking about moving away from a carbon-based economy, one of the biggest arguments you hear is that folks rely on fossil fuels for their livelihoods. Those people are right. Oil and coal production employ quite a lot of people! From the mining or drilling and refining operations and all of the surrounding businesses that support those efforts to folks running gas stations and working at coal plants – we’re talking about a lot of jobs.
The thing you don’t hear as much about is that a new, green economy is going need workers, too.
I think a big pitfall of the fossil fuel jobs argument is that it seems to assume that we’re going to quit oil and coal tomorrow, which just isn’t feasible at all. The shift to a green economy is going to take time. Workers need training, and there is a lot of infrastructure that needs updating. All of that means green jobs!
Green Energy could power major job growth
Just like producing fossil fuel-based energy, the green energy sector needs workers now and is going to need more and more as these energy sources become more prevalent. Over at Clean Technica, Zachary Shahan reports that tax breaks for solar alone could mean over 200,000 new jobs. That’s a pretty good start all on its own!
Green Building: a major boost for the economy
One major change that we’ll need to make to our infrastructure if we’re going to shift away from carbon-based fuels is in our buildings. To make these alternative energy sources work for us, we’re going to need to be more energy efficient, and that means updating existing structures and taking efficiency into account with new ones. That means work. San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, talked about what green building means for San Francisco’s future, and I think this is a great model!
He’s so right – most of the buildings of the future are here now, they just need to be updated. Existing structures are going to need to be revamped, and this is going to mean sustainable building jobs.
Not only do we need to retrofit old structures, we’ll need to look at more efficient, natural building options for new buildings. Folks who are seriously interested in being part of this new, green economy might look into green building classes, where they can learn about using natural materials to build efficient, resilient structures.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by OregonDOT
Becky Striepe is a green blogger and independent crafter with a passion for vintage fabrics. She runs a crafty business, Glue and Glitter, where her mission is to use existing materials in products that help folks reduce their impact without sacrificing style! She specializes in aprons and handmade lunch bags.
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