Linking Green Collar Jobs with Local Climate Change Policies

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Climate change is a pressing economic and public health issue, as well as an environmental concern.  Populations of low socio-economic status (SES) living in sub-standard residences are most vulnerable to extreme weather events and ecological disruption.  Studies have shown that they are also concerned about the social justice outcomes of both the environmental phenomenon and proposed policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as the California Cap and Trade law.  If these populations were recruited to green collar jobs, they could reduce their vulnerability while also assisting in climate change mitigation.

Austin, Texas is known as a leader in environmental sustainability.  However, low SES populations have not traditionally played an active role on environmental issues.  The Austin Climate Protection Program should reach out to these groups by linking green collar jobs and training with local climate change policies—piloting this approach in neighborhoods that have been identified by existing research as vulnerable to climate-related extreme weather: University Hills and Windsor Park for extreme heat and Central East Austin and East Cesar Chavez for river flash flooding.  Developing and promoting green collar jobs to these constituents also encourages green business growth, promotes state-wide environmental health initiatives, and integrates improved environmental policy and practice within Texas’ economy.  The emerging green economy allows for increased green collar job opportunities that can provide a way for individuals of lower SES to work while simultaneously making their communities cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable.

The University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and the Pecan Street Project could convene the project, drawing from three groups: non-profits—advocating job creation (i.e., Caritas of AustinCommunity Action Network) or environmental stewardship (i.e., Austin Eco-NetworkPublic Citizen); federal agencies (i.e., CDC Climate Change Program and the regional branches of FEMANOAAHUD); and, renewable energy and energy efficiency companies identified by Austin Chamber of Commerce and Austin Energy (i.e., Texas Solar Power CompanyActive PowerSolarBridge Technologies).

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2 Responses to “Linking Green Collar Jobs with Local Climate Change Policies”

  1. Stella Ukaoma Says:

    Green collar jobs will definitely have a positive influence on the environment and provide workers with a family sustaining income with benefits or a pathway to it, including training, upward mobility, and multiple entry points on the career pathway. They are also accessible for individuals with significant barriers to employment, but not limited to them. Since these include local jobs in renewable energy, alternative transportation, energy efficiency, water conservation, green building, material reuse, sustainable local food systems, recycling, and others, it will encompass different job fields. As the field of green collar jobs is continually emerging, policies that reflect the economic environment today should serve as a tool for decision making about the future of the green collar economy.

  2. Klussen in huis Says:

    Klussen in huis…

    […]Linking Green Collar Jobs with Local Climate Change Policies « SBFPHC Policy Advocacy[…]…

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