Discussion 1: Brainstorm: What’s a ‘green’ job?



In BC, we are working to protect our communities from climate change by planning for the future. That means lowering carbon pollution and using more clean, renewable, innovative energy.

Learn more about CleanBC

By 2028 we will see more energy efficient buildings, more clean energy, less pollution and less waste in landfills. That means new more efficient ways of doing things, across B.C.

So, if you work in the building trades, you’ll be thinking about how to build in energy efficient ways. You might be installing more heat pumps than ever before. You might be working with brand new types of engineered wood developed by a local forest product company.

Energy storage systems for marine transportation

If you work in agriculture, manufacturing or natural resources, you might see ways you can help lower carbon pollution and address climate change.  Perhaps you work in education, and you’re teaching kids the skills they need to get these jobs. Or maybe you work in science, engineering and design and are creating computer models or materials that help reduce impact on our natural world.

As new industries expand in areas like clean energy and working with electric vehicles, people need to be prepared for the opportunities.

And as government develops policy to support good jobs and new opportunities, we need to ensure everyone is aware of what those good sustainable jobs could look like.

We need you to tell us more about the opportunities that could be available to you, your family and community.

 

Questions:

When you think about ‘green jobs’, what do you think of? What comes to mind?

What practical steps is your workplace taking to make things more energy efficient by reducing pollution?

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29 responses to “Discussion 1: Brainstorm: What’s a ‘green’ job?

    User avatar
    [-] Colleen

    • Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), as a modern natural resource industry, is an opportunity for our generation to build Sustainable Prosperity Together, Manufacturing of B.C.’s clean natural gas to LNG can be the emblem of the BC low carbon economy and modern natural resource jobs.
    • The BC LNG sector, which is lowest emitting in the world, can contribute to the Government of B.C’s goals to improve affordability and create thousands of family-supporting employment.

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    [-] Christal

    Some energy types, like geothermal energy resources, are location-specific. There are excellent opportunities to develop geothermal energy projects in rural and remote locations of BC that are in need of affordable, reliable energy as well as sustainable employment. There are also opportunities for BC’s Indigenous communities to lead or partner in renewable energy projects.

    As the energy transition continues, and the renewable energy sector grows in terms of investment and market-share, there is an opportunity to strengthen gender equality in the sector and to include those who have historically been “left behind.” This cannot be an afterthought, or we run the risk of reproducing the systemic exclusions that can be observed in conventional energy industries.

    1) The Equal by 30 campaign is a meaningful international initiative working to advance the participation of women in the clean energy transition.
    2) The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) developed a report titled Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective that highlights the importance of women’s contributions in the energy transformation, the barriers and challenges they face, and measures that governments and companies can take to address these.
    3) “What gets measured gets done” – The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) created a report titled Getting to Gender Equality in the Geothermal Energy Sector: Road to Sustainability. Among other recommendations, it suggests energy projects should include specific monitoring and evaluation indicators to measure progress towards inclusion.

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    [-] Christal

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines green jobs as either “jobs in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources” or as “jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.” (https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-jobs-in-renewable-energy-and-energy-efficiency-2015) This includes employment in renewable energy.

    Generating renewable energy is absolutely integral to creating a more environmentally sustainable future, but “green” jobs in the renewable energy sector don’t always look that different than those held in the conventional energy sector. For example, geothermal energy projects have an incredibly high transferability rating with skilled labour in the oil and gas and mining sectors. Development of BC’s geothermal resources will help create “green” employment opportunities in every project phase, as below:

    Project Development: Geologist, Stakeholder engagement specialist, Communication specialist, Archeologist, Land acquisition specialist, Environmental specialist, Wildlife biologist, Hydrologist, Environmental specialist, Project engineer, Supply chain specialist, Commercial electricity specialist, Financial analyst

    Project Design and Approval: Project management, Stakeholder engagement specialist, Geoscientist, Drilling engineer, GIS specialist, Driller, Well service operators (casing, cementing, testers), Rig Transportation, Environmental/health/safety specialist, Design engineer, Civil engineer, Quality engineer, Project engineer, Automation engineer, CAD/Engineering technologist, Power systems-transmission engineer.

    Construction: Project/Construction manager, Electrical engineer, Mechanical engineer, Quality engineer, Construction trades, heavy equipment operators and construction labourers.

    Operations and Maintenance: Plant manager, Plant technician, Control room/panel operator, Field operator, Predictive and preventative maintenance specialist, Maintenance trades, Mechanical engineer, Electrical engineer, Regulatory specialist, Supply chain specialist. (https://www.slideshare.net/pjhscreativelinks/alberta-career-transition-and-employment-information-resource-may-2018)

    In a 2015 Issue Brief, the Geothermal Energy Association estimated that geothermal power plants employ approximately 1.17 permanent workers per megawatt (MW). If other positions are added to this figure (e.g., related governmental, administrative, and technical positions), the number of geothermal jobs jumps to 2.13 workers per MW. Building geothermal plants also supplies temporary direct employment. During construction, 3.1 workers per MW are employed, and 3.3 workers per MW are employed for equipment manufacturing. (https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-jobs-in-renewable-energy-and-energy-efficiency-2015)

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    [-] Zain

    When I think of ‘green jobs’, I think of jobs that will have a minimum carbon footprint. I think of jobs that are created with help of small-scale projects, programs and initiatives at local levels. Bigger the project, bigger the impact. We need to move away from the idea of continuous economic growth in a world with limited resources. Jobs that can make us more adaptive and resilient to the climate crisis are green jobs in my mind. Jobs created in projects that mitigate the climate risks are not entirely green from my perspective. Mitigation is just another word for doing less of ‘bad’. It still is bad though! We need to some reverse the climate crisis, so jobs created through initiatives like carbon sequestration and storage could also be considered green. At our work place, we encourage active transportation, recycling of all waste in appropriate recycling facilities and all our appliances are as energy efficient as possible.

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    [-] Cathy

    Green jobs in my mind:
    Improve environmental outcomes – develop alternative energy, emissions reductions, waste reduction, reduce consumption, land use/habitat & wildlife protection.
    A focus on using what we have with the least impact possible. Education is a big part of ensuring that this can happen. A completely different mindset towards what we purchase, the size and number of our houses, how and where we travel, how we conduct business. It is discouraging though when we compare our earnestness to what happens elsewhere in the world, particularly emerging economies. As a town that depends on tourism, how can we reconcile how people get here with our need to have them keep coming?

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    [-] harshan

    Others have said it. The greenest of them all would be those related to negative emissions technology (i.e., relevant to drawing down global emissions)… the smartest solution would be pair negative emissions technology with prudent use of natural resources and renewable energy.

    The NET should satisfy 2 conditions for being commercially successful:
    1. negative emissions should always be a side-benefit as opposed to a core benefit (I am guessing no one would pay to save the world)
    2. You need something to sell at the end of day (carbon pellets for making fizzy drinks, carbonation to reduce the intensity of concrete, or at least carbon offset credits that someone will buy in the free trade market)

    I see huge potential for municipal utilities and Canada to be a leader in this space!

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    [-] Alexandra

    Planting trees, tree nurseries, cannabis growing, hemp growing for pulp and paper
    Solar, wind and hydro energy- all jobs related
    Growing local food in large green houses. We need to offset importing(fossil fuels) vegetables and fruit, and grow our own locally-food security issue with climate change.
    Ocean and beach cleanup of plastics….all over Haida Gwaii beaches. We need job contracts for this.
    Fish hatcheries and ecosystem restoration. Very important on Haida Gwaii. More than 40 salmon bearing stream have become extinct due to industrial scale logging.
    Biologists monitoring the health of salmon on all rivers.
    Habitat and ecosystem enhancement and protection for species and risk and endemic species on Haida Gwaii.
    Selective logging only and local mills and value added.
    Eco schools/forest schools
    eco tourism
    E co friendly heating systems.

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    [-] Meg

    Traditional thinking on “green jobs” generates ideas around our existing economy, and reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that come from fossil fuels but also other sources such as agriculture and waste. Hence there is a drive toward the adoption of “cleantech”, which refers to products and services that reduce or eliminate GHGs at every step of the value chain. This is to be encouraged.

    But there are other ways to reduce GHGs in our environment. These include a wider adoption of information and communication technology (ICT), in positive ways, so that travel, get-togethers, meetings, health services, education, training, intellectual development of various kinds and even creative endeavours can be accomplished on-line. I perceive a “digital divide” in BC society. For example, many people in the +55 category do not use ICT to advantage, and are unable or uncertain about how to avoid unnecessary and sometimes dangerous travel, depending on weather conditions and their own health. Behaviour change and the adoption of ICT may contribute to a cleaner, safer BC simply by helping people reduce their travel, limit their consumption of unnecessary products, and expand their opportunities for learning and company, on-line. “Green jobs” in this line already include those employed in video game production, for example, and other aspects of the digital economy, but the evolution to more people-centred services that contribute to creative and intellectual development in positive, group arrangements has not gone very far, yet.

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    [-] Amy

    I think that in addition to talking about green jobs and energy efficiency, there also needs to be a broader discussion about the green economy -and what this means locally, nationally and internationally. Focusing only on green jobs is too narrow and will not enable us to identify what is needed at the macro-scale to support and encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy that is required to ensure economic (and social) sustainability into the future. Adding green jobs into the existing economic structure will not necessarily support the changes required at the macro scale.

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    [-] Amy

    Green Jobs are jobs or positions that support environmental restoration, remediation or regeneration while also ensuring adequate income and conditions for people working in these positions/businesses. Green Jobs are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
    Green jobs may be in the extractives or development-sector (e.g oil and gas, mining, construction, forestry), but in order to be considered “green”, need to have an overall positive impact on the environment either during, or at end of project/job life.

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    [-] Scott

    A greener job is one without a useless commute to a cubicle. We all need to reduce or eliminate our commutes to work in our cars. The majority of these cars are people driving to an office to sit in a cubicle and spend all day emailing and phoning their colleagues who also drove to the same building.

    Wasteful commutes dictated by employers.

    We need a commuter’s rebate where you submit the Kms commuted at tax time and get reimbursed the carbon tax. This cost should then be shifted to the employer who dictated the commute.

    In the meantime “work from home Wednesday” and choose one week a year to work from home if possible.

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    [-] Farrell

    Right to repair legislation needs to work its way down to Standards approval level.
    If this was to be introduced many jobs would become available in the repair/reuse industry and help tremendously in diverting products with built in obsolescence from the dump.
    Products carrying a CSA or UL approval should at a minimum be provided with open accessible repair manuals and available spare part distribution opportunities.

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    [-] Aaron

    In general, I think a “green job” would be any job that is sustainable doesn’t utilize a non-renewable resource. Many jobs are already “green jobs” while some could be made so with a change of practice. In the workplace; taking active steps to reduce waste to a minimum or zero should just be a good operating practice. Employers can stop subsidizing and support unsustainable practices by not providing parking spaces, especially free spaces.

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    [-] Mark

    A green job is any job that does not increase GHG emissions (or does so minimally). It includes jobs in renewable energies such as solar, wind, or geothermal, but also traditional low-carbon jobs such as teaching and childcare.

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    [-] Sue

    Green jobs are ones that reduce our impact, have us think differently about the ways we use resources and help us reduce waste/GHG/materials used/pollution/land use, etc.

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    [-] Keith

    Green jobs are not extractive or highly consumptive and provide a return of resources instead of current systems.

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    [-] carlin

    A “green” job is no job at all,
    End the mindless workerizm.

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    [-] Sharon

    Sustainable, ethical, local are key in green jobs transition. Big challenge is food in and waste out.
    ie) Agriculture – While single family homes have a poor footprint, they also have unused yards that can support a farmer with an income of $60,000 plus depending how many yards are contracted. Microgreen crops are very lucrative. Also, vertical gardens industry in self sustaining communities/high rises within cities.
    Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. Multi-nationals in Big AG, GMO and Big Ag Chemical are lobbying hard to:
    -decrease locally produced food geographic boundaries
    -increase acceptable PPM of pesticides/herbicides
    -non-mandatory labelling regs – even Genetically Modified animals (ie AquaBounty farmed salmon)
    -continue detrimental mono-culture
    Solutions needed for their impacts from shipping emissions, groundwater pollution, insect collapse, deforestation, etc.

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    [-] Ronald

    I hope to expand an existing business and move onto delivering the most efficient domestic home heating from fire wood and gas fireplaces based on my patented “Eco Friendly Radiant Grate” – world wide. This BC product is manufactured for me in Surrey, BC and retailed via the internet.

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    [-] Roland

    Any job which will reduce the use of fossil fuels and/or reduce the need to prospect for, develop, ship and distribute fossil fuels. I.e. any job which will contribute to energy use reduction or jobs which enable the development, installation and use of non-fossil fuel energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal or tidal energy.

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    [-] Murray

    I see a green job as one that contributes to reducing the impact of humans on the natural systems of the planet.

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    [-] James

    The Vancouver Economic Commission have defined and tracked green jobs since 2010. This research has been validated by EY and Deloitte, and is still the best practice anywhere globally. See https://www.vancouvereconomic.com/research/state-of-vancouvers-green-economy-2018/ for latest report

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    [-] Laura

    To me, there are two steams of “green jobs” – indirect and direct.
    A direct green job would be a role that directly results in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or improve the resilience of something to climate impacts.
    An indirect green job would be something for example, any role in an organization that contributes to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or improve the resilience of something to climate impacts. Therefore, there is at least one degree of separation between direct impacts.

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    [-] Lynne

    I asked my 12 year old son this question and his first response was drones. Not what I was thinking he would say but it forced me to think what can we do with drones that a car or truck did before? For example, drones are now dropping off medicine to Saltspring Island from Nanaimo which eliminates delivery via car and ferry. Drones are researching whales and monitoring forest fires. Maybe it isn’t wind farms or solar panels but there is definitely new ways of thinking about the way we do things that may be greener way to work in the future.

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    [-] trevor

    To me, the truly green jobs will be the ones the remove the need to do as much work to begin with.
    “Jobs” often gets trotted out in public policy circles as though it is some kind of metric of success. It isn’t. Productivity is. Human wellbeing is. Social equity is.. Jobs are none of those things. At best they represent a proxy measure of inputs that we HOPE manifest in actual policy outcomes.
    (in the same way that GDP doesn’t actually measure economic health).

    Anyways – so, the green jobs? the work-reducing jobs? the solutions for removing demand for energy-intensive tasks? data.
    Data. to me the greenest job is the one that is performed, once (not daily for an entire career), with some iterative improvements over the years, that observe supply, demand, inputs, outputs, actions, behaviours, and then using sophisticated algorithms, model alternative infrastructure and system designs so that we can all live out fulfilling lives in this beautiful place called BC, without having to work (and commute) so hard to make it all happen.

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    [-] Don

    I see B.C. , as a potential world leader in green research – renewable energy / energy storage and water conservation tech. We already have some good knowledge in these areas. What I still think research could be better supported and there is still a gap is the ability to take new tech to market and build on successes. Govt can help here by supporting jobs / companies in research and helping (or staying out of the way in some cases) to bring new technologies to markets.

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    [-] Keirnan

    We need rapid adoption of bitcoin. It is the most energy efficient techology humankind has ever created. There are an infinite number of jobs it can create all while ensuring that the in entives are alligned with environmental protection and preservation. Do not be afraid of things you hear in the news. Bitcoin is freedom. If we do not wish freedom for all then we are lost.

    We can stop cutting down trees, and drilling for oil. Bitcoin facilitates and enables renewable energy collection and innovation. There is nothing greener than bitcoin.

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    [-] Trevor

    It has been my understanding that blockchain tech is very energy-intensive computing.

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    [-] Scott

    Only some forms of blockchain are energy intensive. There are other frameworks (like Holochain) that are more efficient.

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