By Camilla Born, in Edinburgh at the start of Route 1 (North). 12/05/2012
I can almost guarantee that the city of Edinburgh loves green jobs. How you ask? Well, there was
actual, real-life sunshine shining down on the launch of the million climate jobs caravan. If that’s
not a sign, I don’t know what is!
It’s ace. Ok, it’s a little more than ace. The caravan is organised by our friends from the
Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group. It is traveling around the country to
highlight how creating climate jobs can help tackle the economic and climatic crisis. They know
that young people are in desperate need of more jobs and so the UKYCC has been given the
chance to get the youth voice heard. We want more green jobs for more young people!
Fans of Green Jobs
I am a fan of green jobs. In fact, it seems like there’s quite a lot of people up in Edinburgh that
like them too. The Scottish government has made multiple announcements in favour of the
creation of green energy jobs. Similarly the 2020 group (who bring together representatives
across the public and private sector to ensure Scotland reaches its 2020 targets) see green jobs and
the green economy as essential for tackling both economic and climate change related challenges.
The same is also true for many Scottish university graduates, who like me, want green jobs in
green economies. So, what’s the catch?
The obvious catch is lack of jobs and lack of money to invest in jobs. Whilst I totally agree (!),
here I want to draw attention to a perhaps more subtle, but equally significant, sticking point. The
words ‘green jobs’ are constrained by a narrow definition, that in Scotland at least, keeps them
stuck in the energy sector. The renewables industry is seen as the answer for a reindustrialised
and employed Scotland. Although this has A LOT of positive implications, it limits the potential
of many who have skills outside of these industries. By focusing on renewables there is a danger
that we limit the awesome potential of ‘green jobs’.
I’ll let you into a secret; green jobs actually exist outside of the energy industry! You could
be a green beautician, a green layer, even a green banker. A ‘green’ job is not just working
an ‘environmental’ job its about bringing the values of sustainability, equity and collaboration into
any work place. For governments the energy focus is economically attractive but we need to
broaden this definition to show the value, economic and otherwise, of the thousands of potential
green jobs out there. The Million Climate jobs caravan is a step in the right direction but we’ve
all got a part to play – go out and spread the word!
NB: Whilst writing this blog I kept giggling at the idea of a caravan in a nutshell…