A thoughtful new contribution to the “green jobs” debate comes in Re-defining Green Jobs for a Sustainable Economy , released by The Century Foundation, in cooperation with Data for Progress, on December 2. Co-author Greg Carlock is currently Senior Fellow and Research Director for Climate at Data for Progress, and was one of the authors of the original visioning document A Green New Deal , published in 2018 and leading to the current U.S. movement launched by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Data for Progress continues to monitor public opinion and publish important contributions to the Green New Deal debate – in November, exploring the issue of a Green New Deal for Public Housing.
Re-defining Green Jobs for a Sustainable Economy outlines an interesting history of the “green jobs” definition and measurement in the U.S., but the main purpose of the report is to propose an expanded definition and framework of green jobs which would encompass the principles of equity and sustainability. Ultimately, the report recommends how an expanded definition can be integrated into U.S. public policy.
Perhaps most importantly, Re-defining Green Jobs for a Sustainable Economy focuses in detail on demonstrating why health care and educational workers should be considered as part of the green workforce, stating that including them in the green workforce definition “would go a long way toward gender and racial equity, and toward ensuring all workers green, family-sustaining jobs.”
An expanded definition of a green job, from the report:
“A green job should refer to any position that is part of the sustainability workforce: a job that contributes to preserving or enhancing the well-being, culture, and governance of both current and future generations, as well as regenerating the natural resources and ecosystems upon which they rely. And in order for green jobs themselves to be sustainable, they need to be good, living-wage jobs…. These green job occupations stand in contrast to work—even decent-paying work—in industries that result in the depletion or degradation of ecological systems and the social, cultural, and political institutions that support them.”