Here we are, back again to share a love of learning. And now it’s time to discuss the topic on everyone’s mind in this economy: jobs! More specifically, green jobs. Not only is this growing atmosphere of environmental awareness creating previously nonexistent occupations, but it is largely taking old jobs and giving them a green twist. A little later, I will talk about how to green your office, but first let’s look at those new creations.
The Kansas City Business Journal on November 14, 2008, reported on the local efforts of local citizen David Crawford to connect unemployed workers with green jobs in the area. Another suggestion in the article is taking the displaced airline maintenance workers and putting them to work on wind turbines, where their skills translate well.
Another area where old skills can be translated to new jobs is in the area of emissions brokers. One of the self-proclaimed “largest and most successful energy brokers in the world” is TFS Green. Over at Forbes.com, in an article posted in July of 2007, emissions brokers are explained thusly: “In a market economy, credits to emit greenhouse gases can be traded on an exchange, and brokers facilitate the deal.” Pretty simple, right? The article also adds “[i]f the U.S. ever moves to a mandatory trading system, expect this field to boom.”
Another new position cropping up at many companies and universities is that of Sustainability Coordinator, presumably a person who would oversee the company’s environmental impact and how to make the company more “green.” To get a full run-down of the Sustainability Coordinator’s responsibilities at Duke University, just click here. Though the job description often sounds a little vague, you can go to sites like MySpace Jobs, type in “sustainability coordinator,” and get a number of hits.
Whole sites have sprung up devoted to landing a green job. Check here for green technology jobs, and for an excellent blog on where the jobs are by Joel Makower, click here. Green Career Central is another great source.
Everyday industries such as architecture and dry cleaning are also going green. Not only does having a green home or office building lessen its impact on the environment, they save us money, too! Though, admittedly, the initial investment can be high (such as with my parents’ low-flow toilets that, when flushed, sound like I imagine a black hole would, momentarily ripping through time and space), the long-term savings are equally so (ask my mother about her water bill).
Back in 2004, the World Franchising Newsletter wrote up a great introduction to franchising in the green industry, from organic lawn care to green dry cleaning. If you are thinking of opening your own business, start here. Even in these sad economic times, remember that green is growing.
So let’s say you have your own business already, or are simply looking to green your office. A good place to start is at your computer (because you are already sitting there right now reading this blog, don’t deny it). Are you as sick as I am of those wasted pieces of paper that pop out of your printer with only a web address and date or copyright information that you really couldn’t care less about? (Seriously, Yahoo, I couldn’t steal your technology if I tried.) Then you should consider downloading GreenPrint, a freeware I discovered just the other day. We haven’t had much of a chance to get to know each other, but so far, I like it! When printing a word document, it popped up with a print preview before printing and asked if I really wanted to print a page with only two lines on it. As this was a resume, no, I did not, and went back to correct the issue before attempting to print again. Ink and paper are expensive, and my poor college student mentality hates to see things go to waste, to say nothing of my hippie environmentalist upbringing.
Something else you can do with your computer to save money and energy is put it to sleep. Or, if you can do this, turn the darn thing off, then unplug it. (I switch off my power strip at the end of the night, which is as good as unplugging everything all at once.) In fact, do this with anything plugged into the wall that doesn’t need to constantly be on – TV, stereo, etc. It’s surprising what all these little steps can add up to.
I don’t think there is a doubt in anyone’s mind that our future is anything but green, and 2009 seems to be quite the year of promise for us. A new era is dawning, and I don’t just mean on January 20th. Just look at what Detroit’s offering up this week! As has been said many times before over the course of human history, it’s an exciting time to be alive.