The Green Economy
What is the green economy?
The ‘green economy’ is an economy that is fueled by renewable energy sources and operates in ways that do not harm or are beneficial to Earth. The term is being used widely, in political, social and economic conversations. It is often used to mean a ‘clean energy’ economy which is an economy fueled by renewable energy that does not create greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
What are green collar jobs
Green jobs are jobs that help or do not harm the planet. It is an exciting concept but the term doesn’t actually describe a specific job or even a category of jobs. Currently, the term is used interchangeably with ‘clean energy’ jobs. But the definition of green jobs is broader than alternative and renewable energy jobs and includes jobs in the construction, agriculture, water, and other sectors.
Are we creating new jobs or simply retooling existing jobs?
Several things are happening at once. First, we’ll see a dramatic increase in the number of energy efficiency and conservation jobs which are largely construction sector jobs. These are jobs that exist, but have not been so widely available, like insulation installers and energy auditors and air sealers. Second, there will be new jobs in the renewable energy sector; these will include solar installers and maintainers. Finally, we’ll also see retooling happen in many instances, including the work, for example, of electricians and plumbers and building maintainers.
What kind of jobs will be created
Initially, the ‘green jobs’ that are created will largely be in energy efficiency and conservation as well as renewable energy sectors, including solar and wind. The kinds of energy jobs created in your area may differ from those created in other areas due to the alternative energy sources available. It is important to remember that we’re in the process of re-inventing our economy, from one that is dependent on fossil fuels (like coal and petroleum) to one that runs on renewable sources like solar and wind power. Given this re-invention, we don’t know all the jobs that will be created.
Is it reasonable to think that there will be entry level jobs
It is reasonable to think that there will be entry level jobs in the energy efficiency and conservation sector. These jobs will be similar to entry level construction jobs, including for example, insulation installers, window replacement or window insulation installers. There are indications that there will be other kinds of entry level work in other sectors, particularly alternative fuel production and some aspects of renewable energy industry sector work.
Why are green jobs a natural connection for adult basic education students?
Green jobs are a natural for adult basic education students in two ways. One, the incredible possibility of expansion in the energy sector alone will require many workers and adult learners can build careers for themselves that will last decades. Two, the current fossil fuel-based economy has not afforded many decent entry level jobs or meaningful career pathways for adult basic education learners and now, when we as a nation have a chance to re-make our economy, we can do so in ways that are far more inclusive and built from the start to make participation possible for adult learners.
Why is it important to teach not only about green jobs, but also about climate change, peak oil in adult basic education programs?
Climate change and peak oil are the two defining challenges of our time. Some have likened this time to the Industrial Age or the Renaissance, noting that as with those times, the way we are living and working will change and likely change dramatically. Adult basic education learners are living and learning in this context. Not only do they, along with all of us, need to fully understand these challenges and the possible ramifications, they, again like the rest of us, are needed to re-invent how we live and work.