Working toward a solution: Green Jobs
I’m a university student graduating in a year. I don’t want to be forced to choose between being unemployed and moving to Northern Alberta to work in the Tar Sands. The government and fossil fuel industry claim that we need the Tar Sands for economic growth and job creation. I want to de-bunk that myth in this blog.
Employment would grow faster with better climate policy and investment in renewable energy. This is because the renewable energy sector is a labour-intense compared to the capital intense fossil-fuel industry. The renewable energy economy requires lots of employees– particularly in manufacturing and services whereas the fossil fuel industry requires investment in machinery and infrastructure.
Jobs in the Tar Sands are concentrated in a few regions. Employment in the renewable energy sector would create jobs across Canada. There is tremendous opportunity for jobs in research and development, engineering, planning, sales, manufacturing and installation across the country.
Instead, Canada continues to invest in the oil and gas industry, a massive sector of employment that will be phased out in 10-20 years. We are losing out on manufacturing and export opportunities in the growing green energy economy. Canada is falling behind while other countries are benefiting from the emerging green market opportunities. Germany for example, has a thriving solar industry. Nova Scotia, where I go to school, has even greater solar potential than Germany however instead of getting jobs in solar and the other renewable energy industries we could have here (wind, tidal and geothermal) Nova Scotian youth are moving to Alberta to work in the Tar Sands because of a lack of government investment in these sectors.
In the federal stimulus package 8.3% of the money was invested in clean energy. Had the federal government devoted 100% of its stimulus spending on infrastructure to clean energy investment, nearly three times as many jobs would have been generated, for a total of over 238,000 jobs, compared to the governmentʼs total of 84,000 jobs.
It is falsely assumed that big projects mean lots of jobs. In reality, investment in local based energy projects can create high-quality, long-lasting jobs dispersed across the country.
Despite the poor record of the Canadian Government, I am incredibly inspired by the potential my province and the entire country have for a climate-friendly economy and strong healthy communities. I want to graduate into a world where I can work using the skills I’ve developed during my degree and live in Nova Scotia. That is why I am fighting for the government to stop subsidizing the Tar Sands and instead invest in a clean energy future so I won’t have to choose between being unemployed and working in the Tar Sands.