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Friday, January 30, 2009

Ten Best Green Jobs for the Next Decade

"It's time to bail out the people and the planet," says Van Jones [1], author of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems [2]. We agree, and this guide to to sustainability-focused career paths will help retrofit and solar-charge your work life.

Sustainability Systems Developer The green economy needs a cadre of specialized software developers and engineers who design, build, and maintain the networks of sensors and stochastic modeling that underpin wind farms, smart energy grids, congestion pricing and other systems substituting intelligence for natural resources. Coders with experience using large scale enterprise resource planning have an edge here, as well as developers familiar with open source and web 2.0 [14] applications.

Companies: IBM, V2Green, WindLogics

Solar Power Installer

Making and installing solar power systems already accounts for some 770,000 jobs globally. Installing solar-thermal water heaters and rooftop photovoltaic cells is a relatively high-paying job--$15 to $35 an hour--for those with construction skills. And opportunities are available all over the United States, wherever the sun shines. Currently over 3,400 companies in the solar energy sector employ 25,000 to 35,000 workers. The Solar Energy Industries Association predicts an increase to over 110,000 jobs by 2016â even more if anticipated tax credits are accelerated [4].

Companies: Akeena Solar; Sungevity; Sunpower; Full list at SEIA.org.

Energy Efficiency Builder Buildings account for up to 48 percent of US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. LEED, the major green building certification, has over 43,000 accredited professionals [5]. But the cutting edge in efficient buildings goes far beyond LEED. Buildings constructed according to Passivhaus and MINERGIE-P standards in Germany and Switzerland, respectively, use between 75% and 95% less heat energy than a similar building constructed to the latest codes in the US. Greening the US building stock will take not only skilled architects and engineers, but a workforce of retrofitters who can use spray foam insulation and storm windows to massively improve the R-value (thermal resistance) of the draftiest old houses. A study by the Apollo Alliance recommended an $89.9 billion investment in financing to create 827,260 jobs in green buildings -- an initiative supported by the Obama stimulus package, which specifically mentions energy retrofits [6].

Schools: Arizona State University School of Architecture: Energy Performance Climate-Responsive Architecture; University of Michigan: Alfred A. Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning; The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Urban Planner Urban and regional planning is a linchpin of the quest to lower America's carbon footprint. Strengthening mass transit systems, limiting sprawl, encouraging use of bicycles and deemphasizing cars is only part of the job. Equally important is contingency planning, as floods, heat waves and garbage creep become increasingly common problems for metropolises. Employment in this sector is projected to grow 15 percent by 2016, and the jobs are mainly in local governments, which make them a slightly safer bet for the downturn.

Schools: Penn Institute for Urban Research [15]; Harvard: Department of Urban Planning and Design; Portland State University: Nohad A Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.

Green MBA and Entrepreneur

The concept of the triple bottom line [11] has migrated from the margins to the mainstream of the business world. A recent report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayors Climate Protection Center found that business services like legal, research and consulting account for the majority of all green jobs -- over 400,000. This includes everything from marketing to the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) segment, to serving as a VP of sustainability within a large company, to piloting a green startup like Method or Recyclebank.

Schools: Stanford School of Business; San Francisco's Presidio School of Management; Leeds School of Business; University of Colorado at Boulder -- Deming Center for Entrepreneurship; the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in Wash.

Wind Turbine Fabricator
Conservation Biologist

Original: http://www.fastcompany.com/node/1129671/print
Ten Best Green Jobs for the Next Decade


Matt Murray February 1, 2009 at 11:49 AM  

thanks anya for another to the point book review.

thanks van for stating the obvious. just a couple of problems. who wants to be a roofer, a forester, or a biologist? even better a recycler. metal scrap recycling is down almost 40%. recycler across the country are stock piling aluminum cans, plastic bags, and bails of paper products because there is no market. if recycler you mean the folks that push shopping carts around city streets pulling soda cans out of trash than that's a service.

at the same time these software developer positions (in any economy we need more engineers-electrical, industrial, software, and especially biomechanical) but jones forgets that the rest of the world wants a pair of denim jeans. that chindia (don't steal that anyone!) produces more engineers than we have employed.

we need a whole new mind. thanks dan pink! in pink's book (author of free agent nation-another great book) pink posits the tsunami of asia and automation leave americans only one choice-creators.

he's right. our strength is our creativity. how we mash up these technologies developed elsewhere or in our own garages or labs.

jones ideas miss the mark completely. the jobs he recommends won't prepare young americans for the staggering loads of debt boomers will require to finance their second homes, social security payments, pensions, 401k payouts, the war debt, and the 3 trillion dollar bailouts for boomers who shouldn't have bought houses in the first place.

as another example, construction workers in the southeast and southwest are becoming more and more latino, which i applaud, these amazing workers will make the leap to "greening" existing structures in no time. i'll ask again who wants to make 26,000 dollars as a forester? (i wanted to be a yosemite forest ranger growing up...until i learned how much they made.)

i'm no economist, but i'll echo larry katlikoff's not so subtle nudges in the coming generational storm. healthcare. 77million boomers will need you to take care of them. already we are shipping in thousands of clinicians from overseas to meet the nursing shortage, and yup the physician shortage in the usa.

my top 5.

speech pathologist (full disclosure-i own a national speech therapy contracting company.

nurses. people are dying for lack of nurse care in the usa.

long term care professional in post operative or obesity clinics. another boomer phenom. i imagine half of the obese are over the age of 55.

surgical PA-77m boomers will roll their ankles riding their golf carts near their second home, or will suffer from back pain and orthopedic conditions b.c of obesity.

biomechanical engineer.(full disclosure i was the vp of hr for a goldman backed spine implant company-we couldn't find enough of them and i own a MRI franchise that markets engineers to orthopedic companies-trust me there are none)

biomarketer-designing collateral materials for companies that sell to boomers.

salesperson/distribution-sell the products that chinese engineers make-3 FDA approved pedical screw systems were introduced at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons last year. slashing the cost of a screw used in spina fixation surgeries by 60%.

young americans need the truth. the truth will come power to really make an impact for future generations.


American Assoc. of Young People

Mark March 2, 2009 at 11:14 AM  

long term care professional in post operative or obesity clinics. another boomer phenom. i imagine half of the obese are over the age of 55.

hussey March 30, 2009 at 3:04 PM  

long term care professional in post operative or obesity clinics. another boomer phenom. i imagine half of the obese are over the age of 55.

Satish July 29, 2009 at 1:08 PM  

i'm no economist, but i'll echo larry katlikoff's not so subtle nudges in the coming generational storm. healthcare. 77million boomers will need you to take care of them.

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