In parts 1-3 of this 'blogumentary' we covered the amount of renewable energy just waiting for us to tap, how local governments and people are getting involved, and how we need the federal government to change the laws to support renewable energy. (and a good bit of information from Dcoronata on Geothermal energy.
Now for the bread and butter issue: jobs. With the economic forecast showing a continued housing slump and general signs of a recession, a decade long approach of offshoring jobs, bad unemployment numbers, and no real growth in any job sector except service jobs, there seems to be a lot wrong with our country's economic health. Fortunately, there is a solution for these problems, the emergence of green collar jobs.
Part 4: labor and renewable energy:
In this installment, we are going to be listening to Richard Eidlin from the Apollo Alliance, and Carmen Rhodes from FRESC.
Question - How do we get good jobs from Renewable energy and what does the Apollo alliance do?
A- (Richard Eidlin) The Apollo alliance (whose slogan is: Good Jobs, Clean energy, Freedom from Foreign Oil) is a coalition of business, labor and environmental groups focused on growing the economy in a substainable prosperous way by investing in clean energy that will result in MILLIONS of good jobs across the United States. This includes jobs in the automotive industry, building and infrastructure, construction, engineering... that would impact electrical engineers, contractors, construction workers, marketing people, installation techs, bringing new jobs to the market.
(me) One of the tings you are hoping to do is to go into the urban sectors where jobs have been lost, and retrain and re-employ workers to make solar panels or intricate parts for wind turbines...
(Richard Eidlin) Yes, particularly in the industrial midwest, there is a tremendous opportunity to create a manufacturing base once again. There are a lot of facilities lying dormant, many skilled workers - what we need now is the political will and capital to bring those jobs back. For instance, parts to wind turbines could be manufactured in parts of Ohio or Michigan if legislators would act on this.
Carmen, what is FRESC and what do you do?
FRESC (whose slogan is Good Jobs, Good Communities) is a Colorado organization looking to create and retain good paying jobs, create and maintain low income housing with environmental sustainability in mind, and we really believe in connecting environmental sustainability with economic sustainability with workers. But, it is not going to 'just happen'. We have to be systematic and strategic about how that happens, so that people building things (like electric) light rail sysytems, that the work is done by construction workers who are making good wages and have health care.
(me) you mentioned the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in Denver moving in this direction.
(Carmen Rhodes) Organized labor, like the building trade, are really training the next generation of construction workers to have the skills necessary to build with environmental sustainability. Here at the IBEW, they have installed solar panels as a training opportunity for their
workers and now have also saved hundreds of dollars in energy costs.
Remember Millions of new jobs, and not jobs serving coffee or mopping floors, but engineering and manufacturing jobs, jobs that have been outsourced and that took a lot of the middle class livelihood with them.
This concludes part 4.
Tomorrow: In Oil We Trust