Green-collar worker

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A green-collar worker is a worker who is employed in the environmental sectors of the economy. [1] Environmental green-collar workers (or green jobs) satisfy the demand for green development. Generally, they implement environmentally conscious design, policy, and technology to improve conservation and sustainability. Formal environmental regulations as well as informal social expectations are pushing many firms to seek professionals with expertise with environmental, energy efficiency, and clean renewable energy issues. They often seek to make their output more sustainable, and thus more favorable to public opinion, governmental regulation, and the Earth's ecology.


Green collar workers include professionals such as conservation movement workers, environmental consultants, council environmental services/waste management/recycling managers/officers, environmental or biological systems engineers, green building architects, landscape architects, holistic passive solar building designers, solar energy and wind energy engineers and installers, nuclear engineers, [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] green vehicle engineers, "green business" owners, [8] green vehicle, organic farmers, environmental lawyers, ecology educators, and ecotechnology workers, and sales staff working with these services or products. Green collar workers also include vocational or trade-level workers: electricians who install solar panels, plumbers who install solar water heaters, recycling centre/MRF attendants, process managers and collectors, construction workers who build energy-efficient green buildings and wind power farms, construction workers who weatherize buildings to make them more energy efficient, or other workers involved in clean, renewable, sustainable future energy development.

There is a growing movement to incorporate social responsibility within the green industries. A sustainable green economy simultaneously values the importance of natural resources and inclusive, equitable, and healthy opportunities for all communities. [9]

In the context of the current world economic crisis, many experts now argue that a massive push to develop renewable sources of energy could create millions of new jobs and help the economy recover while simultaneously improving the environment, increasing labour conditions in poor economies, and strengthening energy and food security.[ citation needed ]

Notable uses

  1. Of or pertaining to both employment and the environment or environmentalism.
    • 1976, Patrick Heffernan, “Jobs for the Environment — The Coming Green Collar Revolution”, in Jobs and Prices in the West Coast Region: Hearing before the Joint Economic Committee, Congress of the United States, Ninety-Fourth Congress, Second Session, U.S. Government Printing Office, page 134,
    • 1997, Geoff Mulgan, Perri 6 [ sic ] et al., The British Spring: A Manifesto for the Election After Next, Demos, page 26,
      The United States, Canada, Germany, and Denmark are all generating hundreds of thousands of new 'green collar' jobs, especially for young people, achieving remarkable reductions in energy, water, waste disposal and materials costs.
    • 2001, Diane Warburton and Ian Christie, From Here to Sustainability: Politics in the Real World, Earthscan, page 75,
      Studies for the UK suggest that the more than 100,000 existing 'green collar' workers in environmental occupations could be joined by many thousands more, both in the private sector and in the 'social economy' of community enterprises.
    • 2007, U.S. Green Jobs Act [10]
    • 2007, U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act - Title X: "Green Jobs - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program" (signed into law 2007-12-19) [11]
    • 2008, during the U.S. Presidential Campaign, both Hillary Clinton [12] [13] [14] and Barack Obama [15] specifically promised more green collar jobs, and green vehicle bonds. Other candidates' energy policy of the United States recommendations all included increased green development, which should accelerate the creation of millions of new green jobs.
    • 2008, January 22 U.S. Federal Reserve Board unprecedented mid-term 3/4% interest rate cut [16] to soon be followed by other economic stimulus to avoid recession and support new job development in green building construction, remodeling/weatherization, transportation (green vehicles) and green manufacturing industry sectors. Widespread bipartisan, Administration and Congressional support for immediate economic stimulus funding, with a bias toward increasing sustainable green-collar jobs.
  2. Of or pertaining to rural, agricultural employment; often contrasted with urban blue-collar employment.
    • 1983, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Forestry, Water Resources, and Environment, Cultivation of Marihuana in National Forests: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Forestry, Water Resources, and Environment, […], U.S. Government Printing Office, page 32,
      American [marijuana] growers, who have more recently become known as America's "green-collar" workers because of the bright green color of their product, […]
    • 2004, Martin Heidenreich et al., Regional Innovation Systems: The Role of Governances in a Globalized World, Routledge UK, page 394,
Qualification structure of the workforce (%)19801997
   Blue-collar 29.733.5
   White-collar 25.031.7
   Grey-collar 24.024.8

Al Gore Repower America

Al Gore states that economists across the spectrum — including Martin Feldstein and Lawrence Summers — agree that large and rapid investments in a jobs-intensive infrastructure initiative is the best way to revive the economy in a quick and sustainable way. [17]

Center for American Progress

A report from the Center for American Progress concludes that a $100 billion federal investment in clean energy technologies over 2009 and 2010 would yield 2 million new U.S. jobs, cutting the unemployment rate by 1.3% and put the nation on a path toward a low-carbon economy. The report, prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, proposes $50 billion in tax credits for energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems; $46 billion in direct government spending for public building retrofits, mass transit, freight rail, smart electrical grid systems, and renewable energy systems; and $4 billion for federal loan guarantees to help finance building retrofits and renewable energy projects. The Center believes that clean energy investments would yield about 300,000 more jobs than if the same funds were distributed among U.S. taxpayers. The clean energy investments would also have the added benefits of lower home energy bills and reduced prices for non-renewable energy sources, due to the reduced consumption of those energy sources. [18]

Worldwatch Institute/UNEP

Global efforts to tackle climate change could result in millions of "green" jobs over the coming decades, according to a 2008 study prepared by the Worldwatch Institute with funding from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The study found that the global market for environmental products and services is projected to double from $1.37 trillion per year at present to $2.74 trillion by 2020, with half of that market in efficient energy use. In terms of energy supply, the renewable energy industry will be particularly important. Some 2.3 million people have found renewable energy jobs in recent years, and projected investments of $630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs. [19]

U.S. Conference of Mayors

Also in 2008, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report that finds the U.S. economy currently generates more than 750,000 green jobs, while over the next 30 years, an emphasis on clean energy could result in a five-fold increase, to more than 4.2 million jobs. Engineering, legal, research, and consulting jobs currently dominate the green jobs in the United States and could grow by 1.4 million by 2038, while renewable electricity production will create 1.23 million jobs, alternative transportation fuels will add 1.5 million jobs, and building retrofits will create another 81,000 jobs. The report notes that most of today's jobs are in metropolitan areas, led by New York City; Washington, D.C.; Houston, Texas; and Los Angeles, California. [20]

Scientific, environmental, and health justifications for green collar jobs

The Vattenfall study found Nuclear, Hydro, and Wind to have far less greenhouse emissions than other sources represented. Greenhouse emissions by electricity source.PNG
The Vattenfall study found Nuclear, Hydro, and Wind to have far less greenhouse emissions than other sources represented.

The Swedish utility Vattenfall did a study of full life cycle emissions of Nuclear, Hydro, Coal, Gas, Solar Cell, Peat and Wind which the utility uses to produce electricity. The net result of the study was that nuclear power produced 3.3 grams of carbon dioxide per KW-Hr of produced power. This compares to 400 for natural gas and 700 for coal (according to this study). The study also concluded that nuclear power produced the smallest amount of CO2 of any of their electricity sources. [21]

Claims exist that the problems of nuclear waste do not come anywhere close to approaching the problems of fossil fuel waste. [22] [23] A 2004 article from the BBC states: "The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel." [24] In the U.S. alone, fossil fuel waste kills 20,000 people each year. [25] A coal power plant releases 100 times as much radiation as a nuclear power plant of the same wattage. [26] It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island incident. [27] In addition, fossil fuel waste causes global warming, which leads to increased deaths from hurricanes, flooding, and other weather events. The World Nuclear Association provides a comparison of deaths due to accidents among different forms of energy production. In their comparison, deaths per TW-yr of electricity produced from 1970 to 1992 are quoted as 885 for hydropower, 342 for coal, 85 for natural gas, and 8 for nuclear. [28]

Other uses

"Green collar" is used in the Metal Gear franchise to refer to members of the arms industry, mercenaries, and other individuals in the private sector involved in war and military activity, notably for profit. [29]

"Green collar" is used in the Cannabis culture to refer to a person who finds acceptance or enjoyment of cannabis culture and cannabis products. The term is a play on the traditional uses of the terms "white collar" and "blue collar," notably, to indicate that there is broad acceptance and enjoyment of cannabis culture that transcends socioeconomic stratifications.

See also

Related Research Articles

Non-renewable resource a resource that does not renew itself for a long time after its use is called as non-renewable energy

A non-renewable resource is a resource of economic value that cannot be readily replaced by natural means at a quick enough pace to keep up with consumption. An example is carbon-based fossil fuel. The original organic matter, with the aid of heat and pressure, becomes a fuel such as oil or gas. Earth minerals and metal ores, fossil fuels and groundwater in certain aquifers are all considered non-renewable resources, though individual elements are always conserved.

Energy development Methods of energy production from various sources

Energy development is the field of activities focused on obtaining sources of energy from natural resources. These activities include production of conventional, alternative and renewable sources of energy, and for the recovery and reuse of energy that would otherwise be wasted. Energy conservation and efficiency measures reduce the demand for energy development, and can have benefits to society with improvements to environmental issues.

The green economy is defined as economy that aims at making issues of reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment. It is closely related with ecological economics, but has a more politically applied focus. The 2011 UNEP Green Economy Report argues "that to be green, an economy must not only be efficient, but also fair. Fairness implies recognizing global and country level equity dimensions, particularly in assuring a just transition to an economy that is low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive."

Sustainable energy Principle of using energy without compromising the needs of future generations

Sustainable energy or clean energy is the practice of using energy in a way that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Green building architecture designed to minimize environmental and resource impact

Green building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the contractor, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

Clean technology is any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities. Clean technology includes a broad range of technology related to recycling, renewable energy, information technology, green transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, lighting, Greywater, and more. Environmental finance is a method by which new clean technology projects that have proven that they are "additional" or "beyond business as usual" can obtain financing through the generation of carbon credits. A project that is developed with concern for climate change mitigation is also known as a carbon project.

A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonised economy is an economy based on low carbon power sources that therefore has a minimal output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. GHG emissions due to anthropogenic (human) activity are the dominant cause of observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Continued emission of greenhouse gases may cause long-lasting changes around the world, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Mark Diesendorf Australian academic and environmentalist

Mark Diesendorf is an Australian academic and environmentalist, known for his work in sustainable development and renewable energy. He currently teaches environmental studies at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. He was formerly professor of environmental science and founding director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney and before that a principal research scientist with CSIRO, where he was involved in early research on integrating wind power into electricity grids. His most recent book is Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change.

Renewable energy commercialization

Renewable energy commercialization involves the deployment of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. First-generation technologies, which are already mature and economically competitive, include biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and heat. Second-generation technologies are market-ready and are being deployed at the present time; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal power stations, and modern forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies require continued R&D efforts in order to make large contributions on a global scale and include advanced biomass gasification, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy. As of 2012, renewable energy accounts for about half of new nameplate electrical capacity installed and costs are continuing to fall.

Renewable energy in the United States Renewable energy statistics and policy in the United States

According to preliminary data from the US Energy Information Administration, renewable energy accounted for about 11% of total primary energy consumption and about 17% of the domestically produced electricity in the United States in 2018. Hydroelectric power is currently the largest producer of renewable electricity in the country, generating around 6.5% of the nation's total electricity in 2016 as well as 45.71% of the total renewable electricity generation. The United States is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Canada and Brazil.

<i>The Clean Tech Revolution</i> book by Ron Pernick

The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity is a 2007 book by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, who say that commercializing clean technologies is a profitable enterprise that is moving steadily into mainstream business. As the world economy faces challenges from energy price spikes, resource shortages, global environmental problems, and security threats, clean technologies are seen to be the next engine of economic growth.

Renewable energy in China

China is the world's leading country in electricity production from renewable energy sources, with over double the generation of the second-ranking country, the United States. By the end of 2018, the country had a total capacity of 728 GW of renewable power, mainly from hydroelectric and wind power. China's renewable energy sector is growing faster than its fossil fuels and nuclear power capacity.

Green jobs or green-collared jobs are, according to the United Nations Environment Program, "work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute(s) substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution." The environmental sector has the dual benefit of mitigating environmental challenges as well as helping economic growth.

Renewable energy industry

The renewable-energy industry is the part of the energy industry focusing on new and appropriate renewable energy technologies. Investors worldwide have paid greater attention to this emerging industry in recent years. In many cases, this has translated into rapid renewable energy commercialization and considerable industry expansion. The wind power and solar photovoltaics (PV) industries provide good examples of this.

Green For All is an organization whose stated goal is to build a green economy while simultaneously lifting citizens out of poverty. It is a DC-based group that brings unions and environmentalists together to push for anti-poverty measures and a clean-energy economy. Green For All was co-founded by Van Jones, former head of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Majora Carter former head of Sustainable South Bronx, and was officially launched in September 2007 at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Mitigation of global warming in Australia

Mitigation of global warming involves taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. This is in distinction to adaptation to global warming, which involves taking action to minimize the effects of global warming. Scientific consensus on global warming, together with the precautionary principle and the fear of non-linear climate transitions, is leading to increased effort to develop new technologies and sciences and carefully manage others in an attempt to mitigate global warming.

This page is an index of sustainability articles.

Energy in Nigeria

Nigeria's primary energy consumption was about 108 Mtoe in 2011. Most of the energy comes from traditional biomass and waste, which account for 83% of total primary production. The rest is from fossil fuels (16%) and hydropower (1%).

Renewable energy in Afghanistan

Renewable energy in Afghanistan includes biomass, hydropower, solar, and wind power. Afghanistan is a landlocked country surrounded by five other countries. With a population of less than 35 million people, it is one of the lowest energy consuming countries in relation to a global standing. It holds a spot as one of the countries with a smaller ecological footprint. Hydropower is currently the main source of renewable energy due to Afghanistan's geographical location. Its large mountainous environment facilitates the siting of hydroelectric dams and other facets of hydro energy.

Renewable energy in Mexico

Renewable energy in Mexico contributes to 26 percent of electricity generation in Mexico. As of 2009, electricity generation from renewable energy comes from hydro power, geothermal, solar power and wind. There is a long term effort established to increase the use of renewable energy sources. The amount of geothermal energy used and harvested, places Mexico as number four in the world.


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  2. "Westinghouse gets set for UK construction".
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  4. France closes its last coal mine, BBC, April 23, 2004
  5. France: Vive Les Nukes, "60 Minutes," CBS, April 8, 2007
  6. Hot idea: Fight warming with nuclear power, NBC News, July 7, 2005
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  27. Nuclear proliferation through coal burning Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine — Gordon J. Aubrecht, II, Ohio State University
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  29. Kojima Productions (2008). Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots . PlayStation 3. Konami. Scene: Act 1: Liquid Sun. Remember, Drebin's a green collar. He makes his living off the war economy.