Green Jobs: A Fresh Opportunity

As the election craze winds down and we all start to take a breath and look at the new turn our country is taking, it can be pretty difficult to settle with complete optimism. A major issue that we still face is the growing unemployment rate our nation is facing.

As of October, it was reported at 6.5% but is projected to rise up to 8% in the next year. People are losing jobs, layoffs are rampant across industries, and for most underemployment is another major concern as it stands at a rate of 11.8%, its highest in 14 years according to the Economic Policy Institute.

What does this tell us?

We are not struggling with a nation unwilling to work, but a workforce with diminishing prospects and opportunities. Over 1.2 million jobs have been lost this year and that number will continue to grow as our economy continues struggle unless bold and smart decisions are made by our new leaders. There are many ideas on the table but the most promising is to move our country in the direction of green jobs and a new green economy.

Green jobs could take many forms including solar panel installation, building retrofitting, manufacturing, recycling, etc, with the ultimate aim of energy conservation and sustainability. In the face of high unemployment rates and a bad market economy it seems that our best bet would be to put people to work to rebuild our infrastructure to match it with the challenges of the 21st century, including climate change.

Just to give an example, over 49,000 construction workers have lost their jobs in the past year while at least 157, 000 manufacturing jobs have been lost or sent overseas. It would not only be in our best interest due to the fact that most green jobs can’t be outsourced but also it would be a reasonable investment that is inherently designed to ultimately pay for itself.

Also, more importantly there is the social justice aspect or responsibility of making sure that we are creating good paying career-path jobs to be sure that people are able to support themselves and their families.

If I’ve learned anything from the current economic turmoil it’s that almost everything in our country seems to run on investments, so isn’t it time we start making the right ones?<

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