Green jobs are energizing us in almost all fields – from gentle dry cleaning to sustainable urban farming, city planning and specialized recycling. And when you can’t locate the right opening, Go Green, Live Rich author David Bach strongly recommends the entrepreneurial path: “Pause in whatever you’re doing today and ask yourself whether there’s a smarter, better, greener way to do it. You might just come up with a million-dollar idea.”
Not all green job seekers equate success with great wealth. In fact, many purists eschew the notion that a revitalized economy means red bullish consumerism – three cars in every garage and fully booked far-off resorts. No, you can surely locate or create the kind of pro-active eco career that meets your ethical standards – ones that pay back in a way you deem responsible. Here are a few to consider:
Fictional Oliver Douglas of Green Acres sitcom fame had the right idea when he abandoned the urban jungle for the urban garden. Fifty years later, trained geologist Catherine Gockley found her own plot, and according to Uprooted, she will soon be able to support herself completely on the land and bees she has cultivated at her Fire Mountain farm and Apiary.
Today, the country has two million farmers whose average age is 55. Food guru Michael Pollan emphasizes that there is a growing demand for new age farmers and small-scale, local and organic methods to replace the widespread, petroleum-based industry. Being adept as a small businessperson is an advantage. Related jobs in this field include food producing, cheese making, farmers markets and communal farms and markets.
Tips on how to get started: Catherine Gockley, Owner of fire Mountain Farm and Apiary
Specialized companies are needed to meet new laws and regulations for recycling and repurposing construction waste, clothing, plastic storage and many other materials that could be useful. There are more than one million recycling jobs around, including scrap metal recycling as our need for steel increases (most steel comes from U.S. recycling). Recycled steel makes up some 35 percent of total steel output and saves up to 75 percent of the energy required for producing virgin steel. This is a growth industry worldwide. Pacific Steel and Recycling is an employee-owned corporation with 38 branch offices in the Northwest. It is developing green technology for industrial salvaging, including the Shredder, a machine that is 99 percent accurate at separating out materials reducing the need for mining for additional virgin metals and saving energy and other natural resources.
Tips on joining the industry: Pacific Steel and Recycling Blog; Careerbuilder Job Posts
Wind Turbine Fabricating
China is a huge producer of steel as well as one of the biggest markets for wind turbines, and the need in the U.S. continues to grow as well. The fastest-growing source of alternative energy, wind employs some 300,000 workers worldwide, including 50,000 Americans. Since turbines are mostly metal by weight, fabricating is a good way to redirect autoworkers and other manufacturers in hurting industries. However, the U.S. government needs to get on board to protect this important industry. Wind energy advocates are now pushing for a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) in the U.S. Senate energy bill, noting that wind power installations are dropping from 2008 and 2009 levels because there has not been enough government support.
For tips on jobs and to see the kinds of positions available, visit the American Wind Energy Association Job Board.