Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is the "Green Collar Economy" energizing your community?

Is the "Green Collar Economy" energizing your community? Can you share any examples where you're seeing impacts in job creation or broader community changes, effects of the deepening recession?

I've witnessed over the last four or five years here in Vermont growing interest and positive economic energy in green collar industries, jobs and services. In our deepening recession I am concerned many gains seen over the past few years may erode in the short term plunge in energy prices and predictable return to short-sightedness and avoidance of dealing with our current environmental & cultural crisis.

To be more specific about what I mean, let me give you an example from a recent book. In Van Jones' "Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix our Two Biggest Problems", a watershed book published 2008 by Harper Collins. It defines a Green-Collar Job as: blue-collar employment that has been upgraded to better respect the environment. (They are) family supporting, career-track, vocational, or trade-level employment in environmentally-friendly fields. (Some) examples: electricians who install solar panels; plumbers who install solar water heaters; farmers engaged in organic agriculture and some bio-fuel production; construction workers who build energy-efficient green buildings, wind power farms, solar farms...(among many possibilities)

Can you share positive examples of any such change taking place in your community or metropolitan area? This could be further evidenced by conversions of work forces whom are skilled in industries in decline or eliminated, but the skills and knowledge are transferrable to work in the green sector. How long has this been happening and how is the trend playing out? In Vermont, some specific industry examples are the solar industry and insulation and weatherization contractors whom are assisting homeowners and businesses increase energy efficiency.
(Just a revised note: Today 12/1, I received an email from a publicist at Harper whom extended to me a link DC blog readers a chance to preview of an e-book version of Van Johnson's Green Collar Economy. Please enjoy and let me know what you think.)

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