Green Jobs for All
We need to ensure that the future is sustainable, just, and equitable. Transitioning our economy will take work by people in a wide variety of vocations, from heavy equipment operators and urban farmers to researchers and restorationists. Jobs programs are needed that can simultaneously address growing inequality, the COVID recession, rising unemployment, and the need for an expanded workforce. We need to ensure that all persons seeking work are able to obtain quality, living-wage jobs.
Building from a Legacy
California and Humboldt County have a long legacy of public job programs. For over 40 years, the California Conservation Corps has provided direction, training, and work for young Californians in environmental conservation, fire protection, land maintenance, and emergency response to natural disasters. Since 2018, UPLIFT Eureka has provided work opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness as a means to build job skills and get individuals back on their feet. A partnership between the City of Eureka and private partners, UPLIFT Eureka also provides resources, such as counseling and housing assistance, to participants. Existing job opportunity programs, however, often place limitations on who can participate. A changing economy will demand jobs for individuals of all ages and abilities.
Getting Boots on the Ground
Building a jobs program will require the coordination of private and public partners. Existing opportunities could be expanded, providing more entry-level technician or restorationist positions with the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, and nonprofits like the Mattole Restoration Council. In other cases, new programs will need to be developed to tackle the challenges ahead.
A diversity of new, green jobs will support a diversity of community members, each able to bring their own skills and experience to their positions. Some future work may include:
- Supporting locally-sourced, nutritious meals through local carbon-negative agriculture and school-associated gardens.
- Restoration of brownfield sites.
- Weatherization and decarbonization of existing buildings.
- Community composting and waste diversion.
- Defensible space and building hardening to minimize fire damage.
- Adapting infrastructure to sea level rise.
- Solar energy retrofits on existing public and private buildings.
- Building offshore wind infrastructure.
- Creating and improving active transportation and transit infrastructure like bike lanes, bus lanes, sidewalks, multi-use trails and paths, high-quality bike parking, and bus stops.
- Installing electric car and truck charging infrastructure.
- Restoration of forests, streams, coastal ecosystems, and other wildlands.
- Creating wildlife corridors.
- Providing support for climate refugees