The United Steelworkers (USW), the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Blue Green Alliance, a partnership of the USW and Sierra Club, today launched the national Green Jobs for America campaign. The campaign will focus on the ability of a serious commitment to clean, renewable energy to make us more energy independent, help us end our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels and create over 820,000 new green jobs nationwide.
"The time for a national push for renewable energy is now," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "What is really exciting about this campaign is the opportunity to create jobs, help fix our broken economy and contribute to solving the biggest environmental challenge of our generation at the same time."
The Green Jobs for America campaign will demonstrate that investing in clean, renewable energy is the best way to fight global warming, bring skyrocketing energy costs back under control, create new, good-paying jobs and put us back on the path toward economic growth and prosperity. In addition to encouraging the right investments from the private sector, the campaign will also focus on the kinds of policies that are needed to fight global warming, expand clean energy production and reform unfair trade agreements.
The public education campaign will take place in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Oregon, and Nebraska. The campaign will run through September 15, 2008.
Teams of organizers from the USW, Sierra Club, NRDC and Blue Green Alliance will undertake grassroots organizing activities, conduct a series of public events, release independent studies highlighting the potential for tens of thousands of new green jobs in each state and generate thousands of signatures on a petition calling for green jobs, clean energy solutions and fair trade agreements.
An independent study conducted last year for the Blue Green Alliance by the Renewable Energy Policy Project found that these twelve states in particular stand to gain nearly 170,000 new manufacturing jobs in wind turbine manufacturing and almost 93,000 new manufacturing jobs making the parts for solar power equipment.
Blue Green Alliance Executive Director David Foster said that green jobs are not only those that produce a green product designed for a specific environmental purpose but also include existing jobs that involve a green process or a green purpose. He said that steelworkers building components for wind turbines are performing green jobs, as are chemical workers making products that are not harmful to humans or the environment.
"The green revolution isn't just creating new and different jobs," Foster said. "It's revitalizing and creating new investment in a lot of the jobs we already have."
The campaign builds on the momentum of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference held in Pittsburgh last month, which brought together over 1,000 participants, over 80 organizations, elected officials, and leaders from industry, community groups, environmental organizations, and labor unions. The Green Jobs for America Campaign expects to add additional allies to this new national movement focused on making the clean energy future a reality.
"We saw a glimpse of the clean energy future last month in Pittsburgh," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. "The Green Jobs for America campaign will bring the power of that future to communities across the country. We aim to show people that we can start building that clean energy future today -- a future that promises a strong economy, good jobs, fair trade agreements, a clean environment, and a stable climate for our children and grandchildren."
Energy efficiency is a largely untapped resource that can save consumers and businesses money on their energy bills and cut our global warming emissions, all while creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
"Technologies like wind and solar are just part of the story. This is also about job security. Making homes, offices and factories more energy efficient not only saves money, it also represents a huge growth opportunity for the people who build our communities and keep them running," said Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We're talking about architects and engineers. Drywall and lighting contractors. Electricians and carpenters. Everything from construction to computing. And these are jobs that cannot be shipped offshore, and pay lasting dividends to the American economy."