I pulled this from written comments I submitted for the enviro bond bill - can be cut down but wanted to get these key ideas out there in an introduction (or somewhere) - Kalia

*Enormous opportunity for Massachusetts to be a leader in the transition out of the current coal- and pollution-based economy. This is a very exciting and hopeful time, which is why I think it is so important to think outside the box and really push ourselves to create a world we are all proud to be part of.

*As the “Green Economy”[1][1] grows, many jobs will be created. Within this economic and industry growth is the potential to create real and lasting change, not only in terms of environmental sustainability but also in regards to poverty and social justice.

*It is clear that we need to take huge strides in our environmental impacts, emissions rates and clean energy technology. It is also clear, however, that at this moment the workforce needed to physically carry out the initiatives that will create a healthier environment simply does not exist. Massachusetts has committed itself to being a leader in the clean energy industry and sustainability but we cannot follow through on that commitment if we do not have a well-trained and committed workforce.

*These "green collar" jobs are crucial because they are entry-level jobs that offer a ladder to higher positions and higher wages. This is different from the biotech industry, for example, where most jobs are as janitors or as high-level scientists with very little potential to climb an employment ladder. In essence, green-collar jobs offer a pathway out of poverty to populations who have historically faced barriers to employment and economic marginalization.

Thus through the creation of green-collar jobs there is an enormous opportunity to connect the people who most need work with the work that most needs to get done.

There are model programs up and running in several cities across the country, all of which are highly successful. One good example is an organization called Sustainable South Bronx, which so far has an 85% job placement and retention rate.

The argument can easily be made that one of the most effective ways to fund environmental sustainability is to fund the training and support programs for the workforce that will carryout the initiatives needed to reach sustainability goals. This form of workforce development not only addresses environmental concerns but also lowers unemployment and poverty rates and stimulates the economy (both because people are employed and with energy efficiency, lowers people’s bills)

This idea is gaining speed across the country and even in the federal government. The National Green Jobs Act was passed in December 2007, which designates $125 million to train target populations in green-collar jobs, including job-readiness support. Washington, Illinois, and California have all made efforts to support green-collar jobs.

[1][1] When I refer to the “Green Economy,” I mean clean energy (i.e. solar, tidal, wind), horticulture (i.e. park maintenance, roof gardens, organic farming), energy efficiency (i.e. weatherization), green construction, green chemistry, etc. Coal gasification and nuclear should not be included. I urge you to think about the whole life cycle of energy – not just the jobs that are created, say, in MA with these technologies, we must also consider the communities in Appalachia or Columbia that are negatively affected by the horrendous mining practices that bring the coal to MA, or the communities that get stuck with the waste created by nuclear power plants.