Green Collar Economy in the Bay Area

February 23, 2010 at 1:44 PM Leave a comment

What a green-collar economy means to workers

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ian Kim directs the Green Collar Jobs Campaign for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland. It’s a job title that didn’t even exist a decade ago, but now the issue, long championed by the center, is front and center in the national economy – and Oakland, too. Last week, the city announced that it, the Ella Baker center and other cities and groups had won $40 million in federal stimulus grants for energy efficiency – and to help train under-skilled workers in that industry. Kim, a 34-year-old Yale MBA who lives in San Francisco, talked to reporter Matthai Kuruvila about what this so-called “green-collar economy” means for the current recession.

Q: Why is fighting poverty and fighting climate change so intertwined for you?

A: Green technology is and will be the next industrial revolution in the California economy and globally… We need to put solar panels up everywhere. We need to build wind farms. That’s work that you can’t export. And there are at least three ways poor people are disproportionately affected by climate change: environmental health, job opportunities and cost of living.

Q: What about Oakland in particular makes it such an ideal ecosystem for the green-collar economy to flourish?

A: Oakland has a lot of different realities. It’s consistently one of the top 10 green cities in the country (according to the Natural Resources Defense Council). At the same time, there are big problems with our education system, big problems with violence and poverty. Oakland was a thriving blue collar town a couple generations ago. We have the potential to be a green-collar powerhouse as well. The combination of environmental leadership and the problems of poverty and education that exist in a place like Oakland means that there’s a dynamic tension that has a lot of potential.

Q: Why do you love Oakland?

A: Oakland has a kind of groundedness and a kind of soul that you don’t often see in San Francisco. Oakland is the second most diverse place ethnically in the country (according to the Census). We have a vibrant Chinatown. We have a really vibrant hip-hop culture where young talent is coming up all the time. There’s such a strong activist culture here, too. Despite all the challenges, there’s a spirit to do better, to become better, a stubbornness that I have a lot of respect for. Oakland’s a real town.

This article appeared on page C – 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Green Biz, Green News, San Francisco local, US. Tags: , , , .

8 Surprising Products Designed to Fail Early E.P.A. Plans to Phase in Regulation of Emissions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

Unplugged Rewind


%d bloggers like this: