Thinking about the Brookings Report on the Clean Economy
"As a matter of aspiration, no swath of the economy has been more widely celebrated as a source of economic renewal and potential job creation. Yet, the clean economy remains an enigma: hard to assess. Not only do “green” or “clean” activities and jobs related to environmental aims pervade all sectors of the U.S. economy; they also remain tricky to define and isolate—and count."
MWA's Down to Earth Project has been working for almost two years on ways in which a sustainable economy is emerging and where there may be room for people and communities that are unemployed or working in low-wage jobs.
One of the things we've noticed is that people have been talking about green jobs as though there are in a single sector, and the Brookings report points out that this is not true. Becoming sustainable is working its ways into many traditional industries as well as in newer sectors that are explicitly "green," like clean energy. For many jobs, it will mean adding new understanding or an enhanced skill set. Depending on the growth of demand, in some cases, it could mean a burgeoning of a new type of job.
In either case, right now we are in a period of transition. A sustainable economy is emerging in relation to changes we are seeing in the climate as well as economic realities.
Down to Earth is mapping opportunities in four big arenas: sustainable food systems, sustainable water systems, energy efficiency, and small business development. We are working on a publication now that will lay groundwork for more discussion and anticipate it coming out in the fall.