Frequently Asked Questions
The most common questions we hear about Green Jobs Now
Now that September 27th 2008 is over, we are no longer actively updating this web site. If you are looking for get engaged in the movement for green jobs and an inclusive green economy, visit Next Steps.
- What types of events will take place on September 27?
- How do I host an event for the Green Jobs Now day of action?
- How do I find a Green Jobs Now day of action event near me?
- What are green-collar jobs?
- Are there any green-collar jobs bills currently being discussed in Congress?
- What if I can't make it to an event?
- How can we get green jobs now?
- Will Congress and the next President listen?
- Why not just have a march on Washington?
- How big should my event be?
- How can I "green" my event?
- Is global warming really a serious problem right now, and what does it have to do with green jobs?
Visit our Educational Resources page for more information.
All kinds! There will be will be block parties, house parties, teach-ins, living room discussions, public programs with food, music, poetry. It is up to you. As long as the event is positive and fun, the possibilities are endless. (If you're looking for ideas for your event, check out our Event Ideas page.)
We hope that you will create full-on "Solution Fairs," fully exploring the connections between climate change and green job creation, and engage in community service on that day. Minimally, though, we want people around the country to get together and do AT LEAST two things:
- upload a photo or a video of themselves, holding a sign that says "I'm Ready," and
- sign the "I'm Ready" petition.
The more people who appear in each image, the better (so make your event as big as possible!). The more images we get, the better. And the more people who sign the petition, the better. When we show that thousands of people are united behind one goal – "Green Jobs Now" – the next Congress and President will pay attention.
You can find more event ideas right here.
You can check out all the events near you — and all around the country — right here.
Right now, there’s a great opportunity not only to make America’s economy stronger by making it greener, but to make Americans living in poverty part of a revitalized middle class. The first thing we have to do is provide the training that will turn 20th century blue-collar jobs into secure 21st-century green-collar jobs.
For more background on green-collar jobs and a video on the topic, go here.
Green-Collar Jobs Rebuild a Strong Middle Class
Green-collar jobs are good jobs. Like blue-collar jobs, green-collar jobs pay family wages and provide opportunities for advancement along a career track of increasing skills and wages. A job that does something for the planet, and little to nothing for the people or the economy, is not a green-collar job. An enduring green economy cannot be built with solar sweat shops and Wal-Mart wind farms.
Green-Collar Jobs Provide Pathways Out of Poverty
Most green-collar jobs are middle-skill jobs requiring more education than high school, but less than a four-year degree -- and are well within reach for lower-skilled and low-income workers as long as they have access to effective training programs and appropriate supports. We must ensure that all green-collar jobs strategies provide opportunities for low-income people to take the first step on a pathway from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.
Green-Collar Jobs Require Some New Skills (and some new thinking about old skills)
The green economy demands workers with new skill sets. Some green collar jobs -- say renewable energy technicians -- are brand new. But even more are existing jobs that are being transformed as industries transition to a clean energy economy: computer control operators who can cut steel for wind towers as well as for submarines; or mechanics who can fix an electric engine as well as an internal combustion engine. We need to identify the specific skills the green economy demands. Then we need to invest in creating new training programs and retooling existing training programs to meet the demand.
The building trades and others in organized labor will be responsible for training a new generation of skilled, hands-on workers. As many green jobs as possible should be good, union jobs – with all the benefits of collective bargaining to help ensure good wages and working conditions. We hope that the labor movement in the future will be "bigger, browner (more diverse) and greener."
Green-Collar Jobs Tend to Be Local Jobs
Much of the work we have to do to green our economy involves transforming the places that we live and work and the way we get around. These jobs are difficult or impossible to offshore. For instance, you can't pick up a house, send it to China to have solar panels installed, and have it shipped back. In addition, one of the major sources of manufacturing jobs -- a sector that has been extensively off-shored -- are components parts for wind towers and turbines. Because of their size and related high transportation costs, they are most cost-effectively produced as near as possible to wind-farm sites. Cities and communities should begin thinking now about ways their green strategies can also create local jobs.
A Green-Collar Job Strengthens Urban and Rural Communities
Urban and rural America have both been negatively impacted over the past decades by a failure to invest in their growth -- green-collar jobs provide an opportunity to reclaim these areas for the benefit of local residents. From new transit spending and energy audits in inner cities to windmills and biomass in our nation's heartland, green jobs mean a reinvestment in the communities hardest hit in recent decades.
And By the Way ... Green-Collar Jobs Save Planet Earth
This may be obvious. The "green" in green-collar is about preserving and enhancing environmental quality. Green collar jobs are in the growing industries that are helping us kick the oil habit, curb greenhouse-gas emissions, eliminate toxins, and protect natural systems.
Green-collar workers are installing solar panels, retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, constructing transit lines, refining waste oil into biodiesel, erecting wind farms, repairing hybrid cars, building green rooftops, planting trees, and so much more. And they are doing it today. There are already many green-collar jobs in America. But there could be so many more if we focus our economic strategies on growing a green economy.
You can find more information about green-collar jobs programs and policies here.
Yes. Congress is currently deciding whether to fund the Green Jobs Act of 2007, an important program that could invest millions of dollars in green-collar job creation and training. This bill is an important first step, but only a small part of what is needed in order to put America to work reducing global warming pollution and building a new green economy. You can read more right here.
We need to send a loud and clear message right now to Congress and the next president to build the political momentum necessary to pass bold legislation for green-collar jobs in the first 100 days of the next presidency in early 2009.
We understand that some folks will be unable to participate in person on September 27th. If you can't make it to an event in your area, here are some options for you. Do whichever fits your interests and talents, or think of another way to get involved.
- 1. Sign the "I'm Ready" Petition.
- 2. Take an "I'm Ready" photograph on your own or with friends and post it before September 27th to inspire others.
- 3. Contact the organizer of a Green Jobs Now event near you (click here to "Find an Event") and see if he or she needs any help prior to September 27th.
- 4. Spread the word about Green Jobs Now to your friends via phone calls, emails, Facebook, and in person. Visit our Spread the Word page here.
- 5. While September 27th is important, every day is a good day for green jobs now. Get involved in a group working for green jobs in your community or start one of your own.
Building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty and solve the climate crisis will take a lot of work.
Business entrepreneurs, mayors, community colleges, and local organizers and labor leaders are all taking the lead right now by implementing innovative green jobs programs in places like Oakland, Chicago, and the South Bronx. People all across America are already working hard to reduce global warming pollution by making buildings more efficient, installing solar panels on rooftops, and harvesting food locally and sustainably. While these green efforts are important, they are fighting against the tide of the grey economy , in which proposals for new coal-fired power plants, oil wells, and mega-farms are popping up every day as poverty and unemployment continue to rise.
To build the new green economy and solve the climate crisis, we need a multi-billion dollar national investment from Washington and Wall Street in a national "Clean Energy Corps." [Get an overview of the Clean Energy Corps here.] Such a program will create green pathways out of poverty through work and service opportunities in the clean energy economy. The Clean Energy Corps would create millions of jobs retrofitting homes, small businesses, and public buildings to make them more energy efficient, preserving and enlarging green public spaces, and strengthening community defenses against climate disasters.
Absolutely. But only if we make enough noise.
Perhaps the most important election of our lifetime is coming up on November 2nd. The whole country is looking for solutions to our mounting problems: rising energy and food prices; wars for oil; poverty and unemployment; and the climate crisis.
The next President and Congress are also looking for solutions, and for votes. Candidates are being pulled in many directions by voters, by political strategists, and by "elite interests," like big oil companies who make billions of dollars in the pollution economy.
So we need to work hard to make building an inclusive green economy a priority for our national leaders. We need to send the message that America is ready for green jobs now!
The day will come when that's exactly what we need. And when that time comes, you better believe we'll be booking buses and calling on you to join us on the streets.
But we think it's important for our representatives to know that the people back in their districts really care about this issue and are ready to work for it.
We also think it's going to be truly striking for Americans to turn on the TV and open their newspapers and see our faces, in our communities, all across the nation - on church steps and in city parks, from vacant lots to town halls, in the fields where our food comes from, and on the rooftops where our solar power will come from. This is the America we dearly love, and these are the images that will show a new way forward.
We also want this to be as inclusive event. We want grandmothers and their grandchildren to join us. We want people who can't afford to travel to DC, and people who want to enjoy their Saturday with friends.
And most importantly, we want to highlight all of the examples of an inclusive green economy that are growing across the country right now. We want to celebrate all of the people and communities across this country that are ready to build the green economy today.
The short answer is, as big as you can make it. A thousand people united for green jobs are more powerful than a hundred, which are stronger than a dozen.
While numbers are important, so is creativity. If your event is small, you can still make an impact. You can take a compelling photograph that makes it into your local newspaper with just one other person.
When recruiting people to your event, think about all the local organizations, places of worship, small businesses, clubs, charities, neighbors, and family-members you know. Think of all the people in your life who care about people, care about the planet, and care about you. Ask them to join you and give them ways to help spread the word.
September 27th is only the beginning. Do what you can to spread this message and people will join you.
There are lots of ways event planners can cut down on waste. Encouraging people to car-pool or use public transportation to your event, maximizing the use of recycling and re-use, and minimizing waste and electricity use are just a few things you can do. Consult the Grassroots Recycling Network's kit for more tips on producing zero-waste events.
Burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming. Unfortunately many of our Green Jobs Now events will be emitting carbon, a major greenhouse gas. Unless you are using renewable energy (e.g. solar power), the electricity needed to power a sound system and lights, or the gas you use to drive to and from an event, will cause carbon emissions.
In addition to planning your event to avoid excessive electricity and fuel use, and other waste, you can purchase carbon offsets. Carbon offsetting is when someone compensates for the carbon emissions they have caused by paying money to support emissions-reducing projects. For example, NativeEnergy, a carbon offset provider, invests the money you pay for offsets in clean wind power and methane digestion projects, promoting the development of green energy. The amount of money you pay for offsets is based on a calculation of how many tons of carbon emissions you've caused through your event.
You can use the NativeEnergy website to calculate how many tons of carbon your event and the people attending your event will emit, and purchase offsets--also known as Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)--to compensate for the emissions. By purchasing offsets, you'll support renewable energy projects and make your Green Jobs Now event carbon neutral.
12. Is global warming really a serious problem right now, and what does it have to do with green jobs?
Yes. The science is clear. By burning fossil fuels like coal and oil, we are disrupting the global climate, causing more powerful storms, drought, heat waves, the spread of infectious diseases, and sea level rise. Poor communities, communities of color and indigenous communities produce the least amount of global warming pollution but are the ones being hit first and worst by its affects.
The good news is that if we act now, we can avoid the worst effects of global warming. We can create an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift millions out of poverty into prosperity. By connecting the people who most need work to the work that most needs to be done, we can fight poverty and pollution at the same time. Together we can change the world. It starts with green jobs now!
Go here for more background on the science of global warming.