Monday, May 12, 2008

Green Collar Jobs

Greens are very altruistic people, as a whole. Don't listen to what traditional socialists say about us. We DO care about social justice. We DO advocate on behalf of the poor, the disenfranchised, the neglected, the abused, and the enslaved. And our environmental concerns are chiefly humanitarian concerns. I care a little about individual polar bears dying because of the polar ice melt, but I care deeply because it's a symptom of a larger collapse that is slowly bending us over and warming itself up. It's humanity's turn to sub, ladies and gentlemen, and there's no safe word.

However, things piss me off. People piss me off. I wouldn't be much of an activist, really, if I wasn't angry. Some of us march, some wave placards, others stop trains and face huge fines and years in prison. I spout nonsense onto the internet, freaking out about everything from climate change to poverty to god. This one's about the first two.

A group called Campaign 2000 recently released a report saying that Ontario ought to "green" its economy in order to avoid poverty in the coming economic shift. That's good news. Here's the lead:

Turning Ontario's vanishing blue-collar manufacturing jobs into stable, well-paying "green-collar" employment in the emerging green economy should be central to Poverty-proofing the province, says a new report.
Ontario has the second-largest manufacturing workforce on the continent after California, yet the province seriously lags behind American states in retooling shuttered factories for the green industries of the future, notes the report, entitled
"Work isn't Working for Ontario Families."

Know who else said that? The Green Party of Ontario during the last provincial election. In fact, here's the relevant platform plank introduction:

Ontario needs to do more to foster 21st-century jobs—green jobs in sustainable industries such as the manufacturing of fuel-efficient vehicles, wind turbines, public transit, sustainable agriculture and forestry, ecotourism, energy-efficient materials and construction. The opportunities are unlimited.
The Green Tax Shift plan is a good first step in creating the conditions for a prosperous and sustainable economy that produces green jobs. By shifting taxes from employment to the resource use, Ontario will receive a double dividend: improved environmental performance and more jobs.
The GPO’s Green Jobs Plan will increase employment, competitiveness and innovation, while establishing worker protection. By adjusting market signals to reflect environmental costs, the GPO’s plan will create markets for new, innovative green businesses, technologies and products. Greens realize that small businesses, coops and non-profit social enterprises are important engines of a vibrant green economy. The threats of climate change, pollution and energy shortages can create opportunities for green jobs and healthy communities.

Sounds familiar, right? Well, despite being the fourth viable option in the last election, and telling this stuff to every reporter, voter, politician, pundit, and high school kid who'd listen, we're not credited with saying this first. It annoys me. We're not even alluded to. It chaps my ass.

As glad as I am to see that our ideas are being encouraged and recommended by other groups, it'd be nice to get a little fucking credit, because in October 2011, Ontarians are going to think we're riding a fucking bandwagon, because they didn't listen when we said it, and didn't hear that we said it sooner.

Vote Green, you fucking ingrates.

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