Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Green Jobs

Comments

Wilderness therapist: Good job or BEST job?

If you're like me, when you're finished reading Noah Davis's interview with "wilderness therapist" Brad Reedy, you're going to be thinking "yeah, I could use a month or two of that."

Wilderness therapy involves taking kids out into nature. Which, some studies suggest, is not only beneficial for children with difficulties like ADHD, but might actually be necessary for most of us to remain productive and functional human beings.

Comments

Chinese cheaters? U.S. slaps modest tariffs on solar panels from China

Chinese workers with a solar panelCross-posted from Climate Progress.

After months of speculation and debate about unfair Chinese subsidies to domestic solar manufacturers, the U.S. solar industry finally has an answer to one piece of the ongoing trade case: Solar panels imported from China will be hit with a small tariff.

The Department of Commerce issued a preliminary decision today based upon the agency’s impartial review of Chinese subsidies to domestic solar companies.

The tariffs range from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent -- dramatically lower than the 20 percent expected by many industry analysts. But this decision from Commerce is just the first of two key tariff rulings. While today's ruling addressed the issue of subsidies, a separate decision on whether Chinese companies are dumping panels into the U.S. market below cost is expected in May.

Comments

Phoenix rising: Can ‘the world’s least sustainable city’ go green?

Photo by moominsean.What was the most surprising thing that came out of Andrew Ross’s two-year research stint in Phoenix, Ariz.? For my money, it’s this: People who live there (weirdly) don’t expect their desert civilization to collapse around them at any moment.

“One of New Yorkers’ favorite things is to imagine the destruction of their city. There’s a whole library of movies and novels that do this,” Ross said during a recent visit to the Grist offices. “There’s no equivalent in Phoenix.”

Chalk it up to the power of denial.

Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at NYU, sets the scene in his new book, Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City -- the product of his two-year study, which included interviews with hundred of Phoenicians:

Comments

Florida missed out on $41 million a year by turning down high-speed rail

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down $2 billion in federal money to build a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, one of his arguments was that it would be a burden on the state. But documents obtained by the Tampa Tribune indicate that independent consultants found the system would be turning a profit of $35 to $41 million a year by its 10th year of operation.

Comments

Study: Green economy lost fewer jobs in the recession

According to a new study by a California think tank, the "core green economy" -- industries focusing on sustainable energy, clean transportation, green products, conservation, and recycling -- weathered the U.S. recession better than the economy as a whole. In California, at least, the green economy lost only 3 percent of jobs between January 2009 and January 2010, versus a 7 percent loss for the state economy overall.

Read more: Green Jobs

Comments

Wind turbine workers get their own reality show

Photo by Tuey.

The roughnecks who straddle throbbing nacelles 150 feet in the air, one hand on a safety rope and the other gnarly with gearbox lubricant, are about to get the reality show (episode) they deserve, thanks to the Weather Channel. What happens when people stop being polite and start climbing around on giant, dangerous machinery?

Comments

Keystone XL opponents need a jobs program

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are taking a well-deserved victory lap. The Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada’s pipeline proposal -- at least for now -- represents an historic win for the environmental movement, and reveals the potency of the emerging alignment between the environmental, anti-corporate, Occupy, and other movements.

Real strides were also made to bridge the divide between environmental groups and unions. While Republicans relentlessly attacked environmentalists as “job killers,” groups like 350.org, Sierra Club, and NRDC reached out to unions early and often, and as a result, six labor unions came out in support of President Obama's decision to oppose the permit. Not since the “Battle in Seattle” have we seen such diverse and robust coalitions.

But the Keystone campaign also exposed the perennial Achilles' heel of those who are fighting against climate change: We are often painted by our opponents and perceived by the public as caring more about the environment than about jobs. In a press release titled “U.S. Chamber Calls Politically-Charged Decision to Deny Keystone a Job Killer,” the Chamber of Commerce said President Obama’s denial of the KXL permit was “sacrificing tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs in the short term, and many more than that in the long term.” And its messaging worked, with the media repeating the jobs vs. environment frame again and again. NPR’s headline was typical of many: "Pipeline Decision Pits Jobs Against Environment."

Comments

This old house: Why fixing up old homes is greener than building new ones

Remodeling an old pad like these ones, in Baltimore, is more eco-friendly than building a new one. (Photo by cinderellasg.)

Looking for the ultimate earth-friendly bungalow? No need to engineer some LEED certified space pod. Buy an old house and gird yourself for an eco-friendly remodel.

A study released Tuesday finds that in almost every instance, remodeling an old building is greener than building a new one. Beyond that, it shows that reusing old buildings provides immediate results in the fight against climate change, while a relatively energy efficient new building won’t pay climate dividends for decades.

Taken to the scale of the city, the study has some fascinating implications. Cities, it turns out, serve as a sort of carbon sink -- the existing buildings hold a tremendous amount of “embodied energy.” Conserving that energy by sparing these buildings from the wrecking ball does a lot of good for the planet, too.

Comments

Obama makes strong call for clean energy — oh, and drilling and fracking too

(Photo by Alex Howard.)

Clean energy rocks. Nice, deserving people get jobs at wind-turbine plants. Solyndra-style investments are critical. Oil-industry subsidies suck. Energy efficiency is an economic engine. We need to drill, baby, drill. And we need to frack, baby, frack.

Those weren't the words, but those were the sentiments in the energy portion of President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. He dedicated a significant chunk of the speech to energy issues, making an unexpectedly vigorous appeal for renewable power, cleantech investment, and efficiency -- as well as for natural-gas fracking and oil drilling.

Comments

Up with people: What is Obama doing about our cities’ chronic problems?

Photo by Bob With.

This is the second of two stories examining President Obama’s record on urban issues. Read the first here, and read about the Republican presidential candidates' positions here.

The conversation about cities today often centers on “creative class” innovation, urban design, and transportation alternatives. But it’s going to take a whole lot more than flashy New Urbanist condo developments and bamboo bikes (awesome though they are) to turn American cities around. Deep seeded social and economic issues still cripple much of urban America, ranging from abysmal public schools to a criminal justice system that creates huge race and class disparities.

President Obama gets this, at least on paper. Here he is in a speech, made on the campaign trail in 2008, talking about poor urban neighborhoods: