Jobs tonight. Earth tomorrow.

Today's guest post is by Ann Barlow, President, Peppercom West & Director, GreenPepper.

We need jobs now and we need the earth later.  Why can’t the two go together? 

According to an Economix blog earlier this week, green jobs, even with the spotty help they’ve gotten from government and private investment, are growing at 2½ times the rate of the rest of the jobs out there.  With the dire need for jobs and a job-led economic recovery, isn’t this something to build on?  God knows, we have a ton of work to do to become as energy efficient as Europe and even China at this point.  And renewable energy must be integrated into our existing infrastructure if we are to rely on something more advanced than burning the liquid and the rocks we dig out of the ground.  So why in the world can’t we address these two huge needs through one comprehensive, government-led program that will provide tens of thousands of jobs now while building for our future?

Oh, I can hear all of you ‘big government is our enemy’ folks yelling now, “That’s all we need! Another government project funded by the taxpayers!”  You’re not wrong; a wasteful, poorly managed program is the last thing we need.  But look at what can be done when the power of this nation’s government is wielded, power that is supported by a public that puts everyone’s needs ahead of their own personal ones.  Bridges and dams and parks and roads get built.  Power sources and grids.  Think of all of the people who were able to feed, clothe and house their families thanks to FDR’s New Deal, and the legacy they left for generations to come.

I hope this President, who came to power with so much promise for taking on the big problems, can seize this moment, becoming the Architect in Chief of a program that will relieve the suffering felt by so many millions right now while preserving the planet for their descendants. 

7 thoughts on “Jobs tonight. Earth tomorrow.

  1. I think the relevance is that Congress has amazing political will when it comes to protecting their own hide, but precious little these days to risk it. I don’t believe every representative is that way or that even the worst of them is that way all the time. But I don’t see how we can solve our big problems unless they are willing to put the country ahead of themselves. Same with the individuals and organizations that financially support them.

  2. This may be slightly off-topic, but I can’t for the life of me understand why members of Congress get free health-care benefits for life… Shouldn’t they be subject to the same health-care options as their constituents? I mean, aren’t they supposed to be working for us, representing We the People?

  3. Lunch, I imagine bureaucracy comes up the works in the way Greg’s experiencing, in part because of what you describe. But don’t you think most of the lack of progress stems from politicians (and those who back them) who are more interested in being reelected than they are in saving the country and the world?

  4. That has to be pretty frustrating, Greg. I know in some states the problem has been typical red tape, while in others it’s been having enough qualified installers. To me, the political — or perhaps apolitical — will has to be at all levels, but it still has to begin with the guy in charge who is in the position to create a shared vision.

  5. Great blog, Ann.
    Greg, I have a question: Will your PVs take your house off the grid or will you get paid by the electricity company for pumping surplus power back into the network?

  6. i think what stands in the way for something like this to work is that people in government positions aren’t held to the same results-driven standards as those in the private sector. they work from different playbooks, they can underperform, they can miss deadlines, they can even fail and the job is still theirs. until both parties face and rectify these facts, money will be wasted and things won’t get done…just look greg’s example.
    In other news, that cartoon picture and play name are damn funny.

  7. Ann, your blog addresses some good issues, but it seems like local government and federal governments are not on the same page. For example, the federal government is offering a 30 percent tax credit for 2010 for those who install solar power. I have been trying to take advantage of it by installing photovolatic panels on my residence to offset my electrical use and take my home off the grid. I filed my paperwork in February and am still stuck in neutral in New Jersey. The rebate offered by the New Jersey Clean Energy program was $1.75 per watt, but when Chris Christie stepped in as Governor, he is busy balancing the budget and now has reduced that incentive to $1.35, which raises my cost for the installation. Yet, my paperwork still has not been approved. How long it will take is anyone’s guess. If the government is going to continue to cut back on rebates and incentives, no one will benefit.