Going Green . . .
Never has the color green been so important. Last week Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy work on global warming and climate change, particularly his film “An Inconvenient Truth.” His award re-ignited the discussion about global warming and the need for a green economy in this country.
Despite Gore’s ardent work, the issue ranks low on the priority lists for many Americans. But many American cities are taking the lead in promoting cleaner cities through the creation of green collar jobs and environmentally oriented economic development. Green collar jobs refer to professionals who bring environmentally conscious techniques in design, policy to produce a more sustainable and green development. This group of workers range from environmental consultants, engineers, green architects, environmental lawyers, educators, technology workers and more.
The District is in the forefront of the green movement. In September, Mayor Fenty announced his green city campaign aimed at strategically leveraging the city’s green assets to shift workers from blue collar to green collar jobs and build a more sustainable city. Fenty created the green-collar Jobs Advisory Council that will include district agencies, non-profit and advocacy organizations, contractors and developers. The Department of Employment Services, the Department of Small and Local Business Development, the Department of the Environment, the Office of Planning and the Workforce Investment Council will be a part of the 25-member task force.
In 2008, the District will require all new government buildings go green and by 2012, all new public or private buildings, larger than 50,000 square feet must conform to green standards.
In a recent interview with the Washington Business Journal, Harriet Tregoning, D.C.’s Director of Planning, says the green movement requires green workers. “Before we put our foot on the pedal, we wanted to be thoughtful about job training and enterprise creation, and have a workforce engaged in green economy,” said Harriet Tregoning, D.C.’s director of planning.
According to Tregoning, the District is hampered by a lack of qualified labor to meet the construction demands of a booming real estate market. Collectively, the administration is exploring innovative ideas on training a work force to capitalize on these green jobs.
Interesting green facts about DC. . .
* DC has more park space per person than any other major city in the US
* More than 1/3 of the city’s residents already take public transit to work, coming in second to NYC
* 13% of DC residents bike or walk to work