What is a green job?

This question gets asked a lot.  Searching the internet will provide many definitions, and even a few variations on the name itself. Some proponents of the environmental justice movement prefer to use the term ‘green collar jobs’ to distinguish these jobs from other higher-tech green jobs such as engineers. The term ‘collar’ is meant to draw a parallel between it and traditional blue-collar jobs, as they can similarly be low-skill and often require less formal training.  However for the sake of inclusion, and an aversion to classifying job levels, we have chosen to go with the term ‘green jobs’.

Green jobs are about both equality and the environment. They provide a fair, living wage to the worker and seek to improve the environment and community.  Green jobs have varied skill level requirements, they support the local economy and environment, and they often exist in emerging sectors or areas of growth. Green jobs include such tasks as waste reduction or aversion, reducing or replacing energy consumption, or improving environmental quality for communities and ecosystems. (UNEP Green Economy Initiative)

Green jobs can sometimes be right under your nose: the recycling company, the used book store, and the backyard gardener are all examples of jobs that reduce waste, re-use materials, and support the local economy.  As our economy moves away from a reliance on fossil fuels, green jobs will play an ever-increasing role in our community by helping us use less, recycle more, and maintain a healthy environment.

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Are you a ‘green business’?

Does your company do any of these things?  Then you might be a green business and not even know it!

  • Bicycle repair and bike delivery services
  • Car and truck mechanic jobs, production jobs, and gas-station jobs related to biodiesel
  • Energy retrofits to increase energy efficiency and conservation
  • Green building
  • Green waste composting on a large scale
  • Hauling and reuse of construction materials and debris (C&D)
  • Hazardous materials clean-up
  • Landscaping
  • Manufacturing jobs related to large scale production of appropriate technologies (i.e. solar panels, bike cargo systems, green waste bins, etc.)
  • Materials reuse
  • Non-toxic household cleaning in residential and commercial buildings
  • Parks and open space expansion and maintenance
  • Printing with non-toxic inks and dyes
  • Public transit jobs related to driving, maintenance, and repair
  • Recycling and reuse
  • Small businesses producing products from recycled materials
  • Solar installation
  • Tree cutting and pruning
  • Peri-urban and urban agriculture
  • Water retrofits to increase water efficiency and conservation
  • Whole home performance, including attic insulation, weatherization, etc

List reproduced from Urban Habitat.