Over the past year, we have heard a lot from the current administration on the development of “green jobs.” In a recent article on the Planet Green website, Brian Merchant points out that President Obama has set aside approximately 2.3 billion dollars for the development of these jobs. Despite this sizable investment however, there is still quite a bit of discussion taking place on what a “green job” actually is. Even Newsweek Magazine, appears to be confused about the definition when they write:
“In large part, the very idea behind a green job ensures there will never be a full definition, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics agreed in April to start measuring data on them. (Critics, in response, quickly suspected that the BLS, an agency supposed to measure objective data, could soon help carry water for an administration eager to show the stimulus is working.) Several environmental advocates polled by NEWSWEEK defined green jobs the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously defined obscenity: I’ll know it when I see it.”
The popular definition promoted by the current administration has always been jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. This would include solar cell and wind turbine manufacturers as well as a number of energy efficiency companies such as window and insulation manufacturers. This conventional definition however, seems to leave out many “other” green jobs, such as the nuclear power and clean coal industries. By all accounts it seems that, despite the billions Obama is investing in them, there is still no widely accepted definition for green jobs. In fact, Head Muscle contends that a job’s greenness is not a binary attribute, and that there are already many jobs out there operating at varying shades of green. All considered, to one extent or another, many of us may already be unsung green heroes!
For example, let’s accept for the sake of argument that a solar cell manufacturer is green by Obama’s definition, and that the renewable energy company that uses the cells is green as well. What then about the trucking company that transports the new solar cells across the country from the manufacturer to the customer? Certainly the diesel truck pollutes, but without it the cells would never be distributed and utilized. So, one could logically say that the trucking company, though polluting, is somewhat green in nature…maybe something in the “olive” category.
Through this example, it is easy to see that the definition of a green job has become somewhat restricted and that a more holistic, progressive-minded, assessment is in order. So, in an effort to help frame this new industry a bit more analytically, Head Muscle has come up with an Obama-friendly questionnaire designed to help readers determine whether or not their job is green:
Instructions for Questionnaire:
1. Read each question thoroughly and answer True or False to the best of your ability.
2. For every question that you answer as “True” add or deduct the number of points specified at the end of the question.
3. Your starting score will be -100 due to the fact that breathing introduces CO2 into the workplace.
4. Have fun!
Green Job Questionnaire (Starting Score -100)
1. I work for “big oil.” (-1000)
2. I work at a conventional power plant. (-500)
3. I work at a gas station or any facility which distributes petroleum products. (-300)
4. Sandwiches from the vending machine at work give me gas. (-100)
5. I am a polluter but belong to a union. (+200)
6. My company donated to Obama’s presidential campaign. (+300)
7. One or more of the following are true about my place of work:
a. They built their office building out of old car tires, glass bottles, and dried cow poop. (+300)
b. They buy their windows from Serious Materials. (+300)
c. Al Gore is on the board of directors. (+500)
d. They make a nice profit. (-500)
8. My company transports its products to other locations for resale. (-500)
9. My company produces nothing tangible [ie. Government Agency] so no transportation is required. (+500)
10. My company subcontracts to other “polluting” countries in order to lower costs to consumers. (-500)
11. My company makes overpriced “eco-friendly” consumer products which do not work. (+500)
12. My company builds buildings and highways that support our nation’s infrastructure. (-500)
13. My company operates a land trust designed to prevent progress. (+500)
14. My company uses GM Hybrid vehicles to reduce pollutants (+500)
15. My company uses Ford Hybrid vehicles to reduce pollutants (-500)
16. My company’s CEO drives an SUV (-300)
17. My company is a Nuclear Power Plant (-1000)
18. My company takes subsidies to grow corn for ethanol and other useless unsustainable bio-fuels (+500)
19. My company built Yucca Mountain (-1000)
20. My company is Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac (+500)
1. If you scored 1000 or higher your job is emerald green and you are serving both the godess Gaia and Al Gore well. Congratulations!
2. If you scored between 0 and 1000, your job is “greenish” but you need to take the next step and sell your Ford Hybrid for a better quality GM.
3. If you scored between -1000 and 0, your job is still part of the problem and you need to consider either taking a government position, or unionizing.
4. If you scored below -1000 you are a greedy, earth-killing, profit-oriented, conservative Neanderthal . Your job is as brown as it gets, and you should really consider having a fatal accident with your lawnmower. Your only hope is that, on the day of great judgement, Al Gore will have mercy on your wretched soul.
Even though we have gone to great effort to ensure that the above questionnaire incorporates current progressive values to the fullest extent possible, we admit that green jobs are still somewhat subjective. It is our hope that, by using the above questionnaire, readers will better understand where they are on the spectrum of green jobs, and use it as a guidepost for ensuring that they are living their lives in accordance with the current administration’s vision for our country. It is our hope that, over time, most people will move from olives to teals and into deep forest green jobs. If not for yourselves, do it for Al and Gaia.