Seeing Green

What is a green job anyway? I'm completely confused. If my newspaper uses recycled paper, as it does, then do I, as a newspaper reporter, have a green job? How about a high school biology teacher? Is that a green job? Guess the poor American History teachers are out of luck, unless they include a unit about the environmental movement, or maybe a lesson about Earth Day. Maybe that "counts."

Then CareerBuilder goes on to list the following jobs as green jobs, noting that it has 10,000 postings for these jobs right now.

1. Hydrologist: The median annual income is $64,604.

2. Environmental Engineer: The median annual income is $63,673.

3. Pollution Control Technician: The median annual income is $47,403.

4. Biologist: The median annual income is $53,665.

5. Science Teacher: The median annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers ranges from $41,400 to $46,991.

6. Fund-raising Director: The median annual income is $79,762.

7. Urban Planner: The median annual income is $55,365.

8. Economist: The median annual income is $82,628.

9. Forester: The median annual income is $48,110.

10. Environmental Attorney: The median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate and land use is $90,146.

11. Community Affairs Manager: The median annual income is $57,359.

12. Environmental Health and Safety Technician: The median annual income is $47,403.

13. Landscape Architect: The median annual income is $53,241.

14. Waste Disposal Manager: The median annual income is $31,572.

15. Environmental Chemist: The median annual income is $48,850.

It is in this cynical, or at least skeptical, spirit that I question CareerBuilder executive Rosemary Haefner's use of the word "new" when it comes to green careers. It seems like these are the same jobs, but with a different focus. So where is the opportunity that will really dig us out of this ridiculous hole that we're in with employment? We need 150,000 new jobs a month just to accommodate newcomers to the labor market. Instead we're in a deficit of four times that amount each month. Do we have 150,000 new and different green jobs?  

"Green jobs have increased in popularity over the last few years as companies take continued action to become more environmentally conscious and reduce their carbon footprints," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "The economic stimulus plan is expected to spur an increase in the number of green jobs by creating investments in alternative energies. There are a variety of positions that fall under the green category that could present great new career opportunities for job seekers."

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