Green Jobs for Non-Scientists

The Green New Deal. The Green Recovery. The Clean Energy Economy. Recently, it seems everywhere you turn, you hear buzzwords related to green jobs. Many people are banking on green jobs being the cure-all for the trifecta of challenges we’re facing — a slumping global economy, the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and climate change.

Watching President-elect Obama’s most recent Weekly Address on his plan for job creation in the U.S. over the next two years, I wondered what jobs specifically will be created in the new green economy. Obama spoke of “building wind farms and solar panels, fuel efficient cars, and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil.” Sounds pretty great…but what exactly are the jobs, and do you need to be a scientist or engineer to get them?

According to a recent report by the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, as many as 5 million jobs may be created in the transition to a low carbon economy — and not just in the core industries such as renewable energy, but also in “traditional areas such as construction trades, pipefitting and electrical jobs,” and the supporting industries.

Still, what about those of us who aren’t in manufacturing? I recently downloaded the free “6 Strategies to Find Your Green Career” report, available to members of Green Career Central (membership is free). The report’s list of green jobs helped to expand my definition of what it means to have a green career. Aside from the usual suspects of environmental science, renewable energy, conservation, and green building, the report highlights other careers ranging from software developers and web designers to grant administrators and public relations managers, from fashion designers to event planners, and from health professionals to videographers.

A search on Idealist today turns up 176 jobs in Energy Conservation and Green Living, ranging from an Outreach Coordinator to Director of Training to Writer/Editor to Accounting Clerk.

And even if the organization you work for doesn’t have “Eco” in its name or an endangered animal in its logo, you can still have an impact by greening your home and workplace. A Greener Perspective has some great tips to get you started.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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