Everyone is so excited with the prospect of green jobs. Who doesn't? With unemployment level at record high. Obama Administration wanted to create 5 million jobs in the next 10 years by investing $150B in renewable energy. To start with the Stimulus package includes the $500M funding appropriated for green jobs training. And with the $76B in direct and indirect incentives, the upside potential for green jobs is definitely here.
However, before we cheer on its upside potential, can we at least agree on one thing: what is a green job, anyway? Because there's just too many definition floating out there. There's no clear cut definition of what is green, green job.
Thanks to IREC to have a write-up on this topic recently. They've done a good job compiling 'green jobs' definition from various sources, including from Van Jones, Phil Angelides with Apollo Alliance, Joel Makower with GreenBiz, Rona Fried with SustainableBusiness.com, and more. It's true the more you look at the definition, the more likely you get confused, because there's simply no clear cut definition available, via IREC.
When I Googled definition of 'what is a green job,' there was 291M sites with matched search word. Oh my! Here are some examples:
- Van Jones: "My definition of a green-collar job is this: it is a family-supporting, career-track job that directly contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental quality." [IREC]
- Phil Angelides: "It has to pay decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment." [Time]
- Joseph Romm: "Green jobs are living-wage, career-track jobs that contribute to preserving or enhancing environmental quality." [Grist]
- Repower America: "Green jobs provide healthy environments for workers while helping build a clean economy. These are good jobs involving work that is often familiar. Plumbers, welders, carpenters and others continue to use their skills, but in fields like renewable energy, sustainable agriculture or green building. They install solar energy panels on rooftops, build wind turbines, retrofit homes for energy efficiency, and much more." [Repower America]
- Robert Pollin (PERI): "I'm greatly in favor of investing in things that will promote a clean environment, fight global warming, and those investments will all create jobs, and I don't really care what color they are." [Alternet]
- And more..
You see how confusing they are. It's a 'mouthful' just trying to define it..
And then, Fast Company have its list of 10 best green jobs for next decade. Their top 10 jobs includes some jobs mentioned by people quoted above plus other industries like farming, forestry, urban planning, etc.
A while back when I attended 'Good Jobs, Green Jobs' conference, in one of the meetings, there was somebody who gives a short and simple definition. (sorry I couldn't recall his name). This is what he said:
There you go. Simple, no?