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Isn’t the “Green Jobs for America” Campaign Fatally Flawed?

Posted by msrb on April 11, 2008

Many thanks to our friend Lisa G. who emailed the following press release. Lisa has asked the following questions, which a colleague will shortly reply to:
1. Do “green jobs” exist?
2. Is the campaign fatally flawed?
Contact: Josh Dorner (202) 675-2384

Labor, Environmentalists Join Forces to Launch
National “Green Jobs for America” Campaign
Campaign to Focus on Growing Economy, Creating New Jobs
Through Investments in Clean, Renewable Energy and Trade Reform

Washington, D.C. – The United Steelworkers (USW), the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Blue Green Alliance, a partnership of the USW and Sierra Club, today launched the national Green Jobs for America campaign. The campaign will focus on the ability of a serious commitment to clean, renewable energy to make us more energy independent, help us end our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels and create over 820,000 new green jobs nationwide.

“We saw a glimpse of the clean energy future last month at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. “The Green Jobs for America campaign will bring the power of that future to communities across the country. We aim to show people that we can start building that clean energy future today–a future that promises a strong economy, good jobs, fair trade agreements, a clean environment, and a stable climate for our children and grandchildren.”

The Green Jobs for America campaign will demonstrate that investing in clean, renewable energy is the best way to fight global warming, bring skyrocketing energy costs back under control, create new, good-paying jobs and put us back on the path toward economic growth and prosperity. In addition to encouraging the right investments from the private sector, the campaign will also focus on the kinds of policies that are needed to fight global warming, expand clean energy production and reform unfair trade agreements.

The public education campaign will take place in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Oregon, and Nebraska. The campaign will run through September 15, 2008.

Teams of organizers from the USW, Sierra Club, NRDC and Blue Green Alliance will undertake grassroots organizing activities, conduct a series of public events, release independent studies highlighting the potential for tens of thousands of new green jobs in each state and generate thousands of signatures on a petition calling for green jobs, clean energy solutions and fair trade agreements.

An independent study conducted last year for the Blue Green Alliance by the Renewable Energy Policy Project found that these twelve states in particular stand to gain nearly 170,000 new manufacturing jobs in wind turbine manufacturing and almost 93,000 new manufacturing jobs making the parts for solar power equipment.

Blue Green Alliance Executive Director David Foster said that green jobs are not only those that produce a green product designed for a specific environmental purpose but also include existing jobs that involve a green process or a green purpose. He said that steelworkers building components for wind turbines are performing green jobs, as are chemical workers making products that are not harmful to humans or the environment.

“The green revolution isn’t just creating new and different jobs,” Foster said. “It’s revitalizing and creating new investment in a lot of the jobs we already have.”

The campaign builds on the momentum of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference held in Pittsburgh last month, which brought together over 1,000 participants, over 80 organizations, elected officials, and leaders from industry, community groups, environmental organizations, and labor unions. The Green Jobs for America Campaign expects to add additional allies to this new national movement focused on making the clean energy future a reality.

“The time for a national push for renewable energy is now,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “What is really exciting about this campaign is the opportunity to create jobs, help fix our broken economy and contribute to solving the biggest environmental challenge of our generation at the same time.”

Energy efficiency is a largely untapped resource that can save consumers and businesses money on their energy bills, cut our global warming emissions, and also create thousands of new jobs.

“Technologies like wind and solar are just part of the story. This is also about job security. Making homes, offices and factories more energy efficient not only saves money, it also represents a huge growth opportunity for the people who build our communities and keep them running,” said Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re talking about architects and engineers. Drywall and lighting contractors. Electricians and carpenters. Everything from construction to computing. And these are jobs that cannot be shipped offshore, and pay lasting dividends to the American economy.”
Source: Sierra Club

A Reply to Lisa

Hi Lisa, thanks again for the press release. In reply to your questions, a CASF Member forwarded the following.
1. Do ‘green jobs’ exist?
Lisa – If “green” is pinned to the “job” to imply sustainability [and used as a convenient label by corporate front dot orgs,] then the answer in “NO!” The job market is a subsystem of our political economy, an exponential growth system. The exponential growth economy is, in turn, a subset of the ecological system and the ecology, Earth, is not growing. In other words, unless you have a zero growth economic system, the concept of ‘green jobs,’ meaning sustainable jobs, represents a falsehood and is a deceptive terminology.

2. Is the campaign fatally flawed?
You then ask a methodological question, whether “Green Jobs for America” campaign is fatally flawed, as if you already know the answer [my colleague changed the page title accordingly.]

Yes, the campaign is fatally flowed and you shouldn’t need a rocket scientist to trumpet the findings. A brief glimpse at the title reveals the campaign is meant to “focus on growing economy,” much of the same fodder regurgitated and served on a different platter, “through investments in clean [sic] renewable energy…”

The campaign does not advocate what is actually needed to save its target communities: Establishing cooperatives, redesigning and revitalizing the shattered communities and creating new jobs that last within an alternative system of economy—a sustainable system of “housekeeping” that doesn’t blow up the house!

Generating additional energy, ‘clean,’ renewable, or whatnot, is meant to augment the world’s growing thirst for energy; it cannot and will not keep the fossil fuels under the ground for as long as “civilization” harbors an economic system that grows exponentially and, by doing so, systematically destroys the planet.

Focusing on growing economy, the root cause of all of our ecological and social ills, is not just an egregious example of fallacy of misplaced concreteness, it is a criminal attempt at accelerating the extinction of human and other animal species by deception.

The campaign is deceptive because it mixes too many of the national and indeed global problems and packages them as one, for which (surprise surprise) they have a canned panacea. They are falsely claiming that the campaign will lead to:

  • help us end our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels
  • campaign will bring the power of that future to communities across the country
  • start building that clean energy future today
  • strong economy
  • good jobs
  • fair trade agreements
  • clean environment, and a stable climate for our children and grandchildren

[End quote]
All of which fall within the same sacrosanct subset of activities–the exponential growth economy that is driving us to extinction [in the first place.]

Further, all of their misleading claims come at a time when (more than anyone the Sierra Club, NRDC and the “Environmentalists” should darn well know the facts) our ecosystems are edging ever closer towards a total collapse.

They are trying to conceal the wild facts:

  • Irreversible loss of natural and agricultural land, forests and wildlife
  • Permanent loss of woodland, savannah and costal areas
  • Dying oceans, lakes, rivers and other water bodies
  • Critical loss of topsoil
  • Increased urban and built up areas, deserts and wasteland
  • Wholesale species extinction
  • Collapsing fisheries
  • Drying wells and aquifers
  • Loss of crop genetic diversity
  • Decline in the ability of atmosphere to cleanse itself
  • wars and increased military spending
  • Growing consumerism, tourism, industrialism, commodification, money fetishism, child labor, slavery, human (sex) trafficking
  • Accumulation of toxic pollution in the environment
  • Growing poverty
  • Collapse of natural pest regulation systems
  • Deforestation and desertification
  • Global collapse of pollinators
  • Habitat destruction
  • Food and water crisis
  • Failing ecosystems

Pumping “green” energy into the exponential growth economy is tantamount to administering intravenous injections of organic growth hormones to treat a malignant brain tumor in a terminally ill cancer victim.

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