At the moment our economies are in the transition to become more greener economies because we need to reduce environmental damage. To make this change we can, as consumers, contribute by buying more green products and services. As workers (whether it is in agriculture, industry, services or administration) we can contribute by making active choices to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment. These active choices can be aimed at reducing energy and raw materials, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and pollution and protecting and restoring ecosystems. If a worker makes a susbstantial contribution to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, this worker has a green job according to the United Nations Environment Program.
Green jobs have also other advantages for the economy as these jobs create new opportunities in their quest for preserving or restoring the environment. These jobs are less routinised and can be important drivers for innovation and the seeking of new knowledge and skills. Education, especially training on-the-job, is becoming more important.
In the June 2016 issue of Research Policy there is an interesting article how green jobs differ from non-green jobs. This article confirms the general understanding of the positive effects of green jobs.
I think it is fair to conclude that we need green jobs for a green economy.
As we are nowadays still in the transition towards a green economy, I believe it is helpful that we consider in any job we have, what our substantial contribution is to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment today, what it will be next year and in 2020!
Consoli, D., Marin, G., Marzucchi, A., & Vona, F. (2016). Do green jobs differ from non-green jobs in terms of skills and human capital? Research Policy, 45, 1046–1060.
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