When I say green jobs.. I don’t mean this

6 May

This is cross-posted from The Otesha Project UK blog

I was on the train the other day and picked up an abandoned copy of the Evening Standard. Flicking forward a few pages was an article about the BP oil spill, with this picture:

These are inmates from a Louisiana prison who have been recruited to clean the oil off birds affected by the spill. It’s great matching up men who can be trained up in important skills with work that needs to be done… but when I talk about green jobs, I don’t really mean this.

Green for All and the Apollo Alliance over in the States have been doing amazing work over the last few years, matching up court-involved youthand those formerly incarcerated with training in green construction, weatherproofing homes, material deconstruction and reuse, and energy-saving techniques.

Youth who would be bouncing in and out of the criminal justice system have been given a new option – and new role models too. For those mired in unemployment or minimum wage jobs, these schemes are igniting new hope.

Green jobs can prove to be an invaluable way of helping people out of potential poverty and the risk of re-offending, leading them to essential work that will help us make a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

It is admirable that the inmates from Louisiana have been put to work to help conserve life and the environment, but I have to say I can’t wait for a world where we won’t have to work so hard to protect the world from oil companies. Where we can take a lesson from Green for All and others, and match up people that need it to the work that needs to be done. And that work is clean, not dirty.

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