Happy Labor Day!
Seems like these days everybody’s trying to get in on the “green collar jobs” movement. These are the work created by retooling industry, our lives and the economy for greater conservation and a cleaner environment. They include manufacturing jobs making solar panels and wind turbines, construction jobs building and retrofitting buildings, reclamation and recycling factories, working in public transit, and inventing the environmental alternatives of the future. It includes everything from the frontline labor to the back office, and up the chain of command to the company CEO.
The promise of green jobs is immense. It means jobs, tax revenues and a strong economy in a cleaner environment. What’s not to love? Down with pollution; up with jobs! And many of these jobs are in higher-wage manufacturing and construction sectors. State governments and Congress are working on initiatives to develop green companies and the green jobs they bring. Obama has a plan to create 5 million green jobs across the U.S.
The Apollo Alliance, one of the leading pro-green jobs groups, took its name from the government program that took us to the moon. As in, if we can put a man on the moon, we can clean up the environment while creating good jobs.
But what if the global climate change cataclysm hits before we get around to creating this green collar revolution? Will there be “green jobs” afterward? Of course there will. Subsistence farming and fishing, selling odds and ends in the market, herding whatever animal life might survive, and making clothes from whatever we can. In essence, hunting, gathering and just trying to survive will be a green job.
[I’ve created a slideshow demonstrating the difference between pre-cataclysm and post-cataclysm green jobs. If you don’t see it embedded above, click here to watch.]
Here’s the choice we have today, as I see it. Invest in high wage, high tech green jobs today, or prepare for the green jobs we’ll all be forced to work after the cataclysm.