“Green Jobs” versus “Jobs”? – It’s Not a Competition; They’re One in the Same

by Maggie Comstock, Associate, Policy, U.S. Green Building Council

On Oct. 26, USGBC participated in a salon on green jobs and economic growth, sponsored by Planet Forward. The high-level discussion included U.S. government representatives from several agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, and more. Private sector interests, local government representatives and non-profit organizations were also present. The overarching themes of the roundtable were:

  • Where are the jobs in the clean energy economy?
  • How should we frame this movement to further promote green jobs?

It’s hard to define a green job when they represent so much more than the clean energy sector. Recycling, waste management, storm water management, water conservation, energy efficiency, sustainable manufacturing processes, green construction, etc.—it’s not hard to expand this list of diverse professions that employ Americans in all regions and of all skill sets.

If you haven’t noticed, everyone is “going green” these days. And the bottom line is that green buildings, sustainability, energy efficiency, and the whole gamut of emerging and existing industries are creating jobs and transforming the existing workforce. We need to stop fighting over what color these jobs may be and have our politicians support industries that are proven winners in this economy. Call it what you may—green jobs or just jobs—the bottom line is that green building and sustainability are bolstering national employment figures and stabilizing the economy. For now we’ll continue to differentiate them as green jobs, but soon, as the economy continues to accept sustainability and “green” as the norm, we hope to just call them jobs.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.