what this means for the planet

The need for green jobs is increasing, but institutions have not yet established full training programs.

Photo: Pixabay/Skitterphoto

Initiatives like the Paris Agreement are changing global priorities, and it is only natural that jobs will shift significantly over the next few decades. Workers need to build green infrastructure. Architects need to reinvent old buildings to optimize them for efficiency. Businesses need to reallocate jobs currently based on fossil fuels.

It all sounds like great initiatives, but these jobs are opening at an unprecedented pace — some say too fast to keep up. What will this shift in the workforce do for the planet and how can we fill vacancies?

The need for green jobs is increasing, but institutions have not yet established full training programs. Green skills need to be made more widely available to people seeking education.

As LinkedIn published in its 2022 Global Green Skills Report, while there was an 8% increase in green job postings, there was only a 6% increase in available green talent. If these numbers don’t match soon, progress may not live up to desired expectations.

The report also revealed which industries are becoming more mainstream and highlighted the gaps in neglected sectors. Sustainable fashion to prevent pollution and fight oil spills to clean up the environment are coming.

However, the labor sectors where workers are most needed include education, construction, public safety and several others.

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Although many sectors are on the up, the number of people taking on the remaining green jobs is still too small. Therefore, education systems need to offer learners more opportunities.

Organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture (DOA) and local and state governments advertise some of the most sought-after green future jobs. Schools can create programs based on:

  • Alternative energy installation, such as wind and sun
  • environmental scientists and engineers
  • Sustainable Agricultural and Food Scientists
  • Conservation foresters and surveyors

Teaching for these jobs is necessary, but educational shifts also mean new skills and programs are needed. Existing curricula such as chemistry need to be adapted to include more environmentally friendly topics.

Take engineering as an example. Without the focus on environmental issues, hybrid cars and modernized water treatment would not be as advanced as they are.

Energy audits will be the order of the day

Climate-focused initiatives need to prioritize the creation of new structures like wind farms, but they also require people to rethink the old. Consultancy firms will thrive as they enable aspiring environmentalists to pursue a career advising long-established organizations and families.

Energy inefficient buildings currently house countless workers and families in dire need of modernization. These are the main motives behind these reviews:

  • Upgrading household appliances to eco-friendly alternatives
  • Making buildings safer by reducing the presence of harmful chemicals and materials
  • Reducing energy bills for businesses and families
  • Emit fewer greenhouse gases and improve the overall carbon footprint
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As fossil fuels like coal depreciate in value, more building owners will need advice on transitioning to green energy. They need to know what works best for their location and expected uses.

Every facility and home will see the immediate benefits on their electricity bills as fossil fuel prices are likely to increase. Continued advances over the next decade are likely to result in fossil fuel-dependent companies costing more to operate than the alternatives. So if energy consumers rely on these resources, they can expect their prices to skyrocket.

Suppose communities collectively recognize the implications of analyzing their greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. In this case, a mutual desire for improvement will flourish. Transformations require motivated colleagues and families to reach out to administrations, HOAs, local governments and other influential bodies to raise awareness of the importance of analyzing our energy use.

Institutions like the United Nations, which stood behind the Paris Agreement, are holding the world accountable for prioritizing the climate crisis. If companies continue to offer green jobs in large numbers with good wages, humanity is all the more likely to achieve its goals for the health of the earth:

  • Maintain long-term global temperatures
  • Natural bodies such as reservoirs and forests are preserved
  • Expand climate change education and public awareness
  • Cooperation in the creation of climate-proof technologies
  • Achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
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The work to fix climate change will impact every aspect of humanity. Creating healthier soil means growing more food and reducing global hunger. The creation of stable jobs in green industries will reduce poverty and boost the economy at both micro and macro levels. Green jobs continue to offer competitive wages compared to less environmentally friendly companies.

Hiring for these jobs directly impacts progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Initiating systemic change to meet hiring needs in the environmental industry correlates positively with shifts in global issues – including those not directly related to clean energy. Creating a greener planet will achieve the UN’s goals of better health and well-being, cleaner water and sanitation, and stronger partnerships worldwide.

Jobs may be coming to workers faster than they can be hired. But with increased education, citizenship, and government attention, the natural changes will meet the need. None of these initiatives are feasible without the help of a well-trained and motivated workforce.

Jobs may be plentiful now, but a national shift in priorities will bring changes in other institutions, such as education and energy.

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