As a result of the global recession, jobs have been lost at an alarming rate around the world. In addition, with the state of the environment, people need to focus on making serious changes. Green jobs are a potential solution for both of these problems. As was brought into focus at the Copenhagen climate change conference, Canada is far behind many nations in its effort toward a more sustainable world. That needs to change.
The Environment Goals and Sustainability Act passed in 2007 by the province of Nova Scotia lays out a number of goals that would lead to the province being “one of the cleanest and most sustainable environments in 2020” says developer Raymond Coté. The “involvement and engagement of Nova Scotians” and the promotion of green jobs can play a large role in attaining these goals.
A green job is any employment that aids sustainability, whether this employment is in a particularly “green” sector, such as solar power, wind turbines and local agriculture, or promotes awareness and use of environmentally sustainable products and ways of life.
Jason Pelley, a LEED-accredited sustainability consultant with a focus on policy and the built environment, provides an example of a potential green job in Nova Scotia. One of Pelley’s roles is to help companies realize ways to create buildings that are not only friendly to the environment but friendly to people.
Lately, Pelley has also been working on organizations that are traditionally some of the greatest enemies to sustainability, such as in the mining industries. He says mining “probably has some of the biggest challenges” but “if you go in and you make changes, even small incremental changes, a one-percent reduction in admissions from a [mine or] power plant is absolutely huge. It’s probably more than greening every coffee shop in Halifax.”
Pelley sees a lot of potential for green jobs in Nova Scotia, from local food production to alternative energy: “Look at the wind industry, we have one of the best wind regimes in the entire world here. That’s a huge opportunity that we should be capitalizing on. The tidal energy potential out here is huge and largely untapped . . . if it’s going to happen anywhere it’s going to happen here.”
In addition, there’s definitely a business case for going green; it saves energy, reduces waste and improves the health and vitality of our society. BALLE is an organization focused on green business, it’s a network of locally owned independent businesses dedicated to green, sustainable, ethical business practices. BALLE’s focus is on “laying the foundation for a prosperous Nova Scotia” through “growing and celebrating local living economies,” says former start-up co-ordinator Janet Larkman.
Larkman suggests there is “tremendous potential” for green jobs in the province. “The sooner businesses can address that the future is green the sooner we will be prepared for a sustainable future,” she says.
Green jobs encourage a more sustainable environment and economy by creating necessary employment that, in Pelley’s words, “is part of helping the world reach this dynamic equilibrium that can go on indefinitely.”