Anyone who's been out of a job knows that it's nearly impossible to think about anything else until you're back in the workforce. Paying the rent or mortgage, making car payments and college education, or -- more frightening still -- just keeping food on the table for the family become the main concerns. Therefore, reading a recent poll put out by the Pew Research Center, there was little surprise finding that the top priorities for Americans in 2009 are the economy and jobs. This report was conducted in early January among 1,503 American adults.
At this environmental Website, we were naturally dismayed to find global warming at the bottom, and the environment a lowly fifth from last on that priority list. In fact, protecting the environment fell 15% from last year on that list.
There has been speculation that the President must focus on the economy and not on his plans for environmental protection to stay in favor with the public. But these priorities need not be mutually exclusive and it seems that our new President is on board with this philosophy. In his inaugural address, he acknowledged the terrible economic crisis we were in as a country, but also vowed to "roll back the specter of a warming planet." The President plans to join the top two priorities of this country, the economy and jobs, with the protection of the environment. How? By creating green jobs. Specifically he has pledged $150 billion as an investment to create five million clean energy jobs in the next 10 years.
In the meantime when you hear about jobs being slashed and businesses closing every day, it's hard not to remain focused on your concern for the economy. The small amount of good economic news out there has largely been centered around green jobs. Gov. Bill Richardson has a plan for a Green Jobs Cabinet in New Mexico. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce concluded in a study that transferring skills from manufacturing to green industries would keep jobs in-state. They also identified 162 occupations with employment potential in Tennessee. Finally a report by the Renewable Energy Policy Project found that Kansas could potentially gain thousands of jobs from alternative energy business.
A big push for green job development in 2009 could have the effect of changing the top priorities of the country.
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