Green jobs outpace the labor force: what it means for the planet

Green jobs outpace the labor force: what it means for the planet

The need for environmentally oriented jobs is increasing, but institutions have not yet implemented comprehensive training programs.

Photo: Pixabay/Skitterphoto

Initiatives such as the Paris Agreement are changing global priorities and it is natural to expect jobs to change significantly over the coming decades. Workers must build green infrastructure. Architects must reinvent old buildings to optimize their efficiency. Companies must reallocate jobs currently based on fossil fuels.

It all sounds like big moves, but these jobs are opening up at an unprecedented rate – some say too fast to keep up. What will this labor displacement do for the planet and how will we fill the positions?

The need for environmentally oriented jobs is increasing, but institutions have not yet implemented comprehensive training programs. Green skills need to be more widely available to people who want to train.

As LinkedIn published in its Global Green Skills Report for 2022, while there was an 8% increase in green job openings, there was only a 6% increase in green talent. available. If these numbers do not add up quickly, progress may not meet desired expectations.

The report also revealed which industries are becoming more mainstream, showing gaps in overlooked sectors. Sustainable fashion for pollution prevention and oil spill response for environmental remediation are on the rise.

But the employment sectors that workers need the most are education, construction, public safety and many others.

Although many sectors are on an upward trajectory, the volume of people in the remaining green jobs is still too low. Therefore, education systems need to provide more opportunities for learners.

Organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture (DOA), and local and state governments are posting some of the most in-demand jobs for the green future. Schools can create programs based on:

  • Installation of alternative energy, such as wind and solar
  • Environmental Engineering Scientists and Technicians
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Scientists
  • Conservation foresters and surveyors

Education for these jobs is necessary, but educational changes also mean that new skills and curricula will be needed. Existing curricula, such as chemistry, will need to be adjusted to encompass more environmentally friendly subjects.

Let’s take engineering as an example. Without focusing on environmental topics, hybrid cars and modernized water treatment would not be as advanced as they are.

Energy audits will be commonplace

Climate-focused initiatives must prioritize the creation of new structures, like wind farms, but they also require people to reinvent the old. Consulting firms will thrive as they provide aspiring environmentalists with careers to advise long-established organizations and families.

Energy-inefficient buildings currently house countless workers and families in desperate need of renovations. Here are the main motivations behind these ratings:

  • Upgrading appliances to eco-friendly alternatives
  • Make buildings safer by reducing the presence of harmful chemicals and materials
  • Reduce energy costs for businesses and families
  • Emit less greenhouse gases and improve overall carbon footprint

As fossil fuels like coal decline in value, more and more building owners will need guidance on transitioning to environmentally friendly energy. They need to know what is best for their location and intended uses.

Every facility and home will see the immediate benefits on their electricity bills as fossil fuel prices will likely rise. Continued progress over the next decade will likely see the operational costs of businesses dependent on fossil fuels cost more than the alternatives. Therefore, if energy users depend on these resources, they can expect their prices to skyrocket.

Suppose communities collectively realize the impacts of analyzing their greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. In this case, a mutual desire for improvement will flourish. Transformations require motivated colleagues and families to reach out to governments, HOAs, local governments, and other influential organizations to raise awareness of the importance of analyzing our energy use.

Institutions like the United Nations, which was behind the Paris Agreement, hold the world accountable to prioritize the climate crisis. If companies continue to offer green jobs in large numbers with high rates of pay, the more likely humanity will achieve its goals for the health of the Earth:

  • Maintaining global temperatures in the long term
  • Conserve natural bodies like reservoirs and forests
  • Develop climate change education and public awareness
  • Cooperation in the creation of climate-friendly technologies
  • Achieve net zero emissions by 2050

Working to fix climate change will impact all aspects of humanity. Creating healthier soils means growing more food and reducing world hunger. Creating stable jobs in green industry will reduce poverty and boost economies on a micro and macro scale. Green jobs continue to offer competitive salaries compared to less environmentally friendly companies.

Hiring for these jobs immediately affects progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The drive for systemic change to meet hiring demands in environmental industries correlates positively with evolving global issues – even those not directly related to clean energy. Creating a greener planet will achieve the UN goals of creating better health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, and stronger partnerships around the world .

Jobs can come to workers faster than they can be hired. But, with increased education, citizen attention, and government attention, natural changes will fill the need. None of these initiatives are possible without the help of an educated and motivated workforce.

Jobs may be plentiful now, but a national shift in priorities will bring changes in other institutions like education and energy.

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