Monday, November 16, 2009

Push for new "green" jobs not helping the poor

A new study finds that the new "green" jobs are not going to the poor. A leading think tank shows that the US Obama administration push to create green jobs is not helping poor or minority Americans.

As one of the features of the stimulus package that the US government released earlier this year, 200 million dollars was to be spent in creating "green" jobs or jobs that will help the environment. The authors of the study looked to see if the 200 million dollars helped the lives of the poor in the US.

From IPS, Haider Rizvi reveals the report's details.

"The communities of colour are hardest hit [by joblessness]," said Terry Keleher, who co-authored the report, "Green Equity Toolkit: Standards and strategies for advancing race, gender and economic equality in the green economy".

"They can benefit from the emerging green economy. But that is not happening," he told IPS.

The report, released this week by the Oakland, California-based Applied Research Center, says that a vast majority of green jobs are being filled by white men, even though there is no scarcity of talent among people of colour and women of all ethnicities.

According to Keleher's findings, which he concluded in collaboration with his colleague Yvonne Liu, African Americans and Latinos comprise less than 30 percent of those employed in green industries and economies.

"Gender disparities are even starker," said Liu, who found that African American women are employed in only 1.5 percent of the energy sector workforce. The numbers are even worse as far as Asian and Latino women are concerned. Their share in jobs stands at 1.0 and 0.7 percent, respectively.

The term "green economy" refers to businesses that care about environmental protection, energy efficiency, preservation of biodiversity, community self-reliance, and sustainable development.

Both Keleher and Liu argue that the Obama administration should continue its quest for economic recovery and the efforts to promote a green economy. But, they insist that such efforts are not likely to produce positive results if millions of jobless people from minority communities are not offered equal opportunities.

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