The 2013 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference kicked off this morning plenary session that had a theme and a rallying: “Let’s Get to Work: Climate Change, Infrastructure and Innovation.” Throughout all of the speeches, and the first plenary panel, the speakers talked about how climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for our generation.
As Congressman Henry Waxman noted, “For decades, the experts warned of the future danger of climate change. But, we’re seeing it now; climate change is no longer an issue for later.” Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the Climate Justice Program at the NAACP, later echoed this statement in saying, “Many people say that if we don’t change our practices, we will be in dangers of catastrophes happening due to climate change. Those lived in the areas of Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina know they’re already here.”
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said “It is our job to create a clean energy vision and bring it to policymakers.”
Addressing a standing room only crowd of union members, environmentalists and business leaders who are all prepared for an exciting few days ahead, David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance opened up the first Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2013 plenary session. Leo Gerard from United Steelworkers, Larry Cohen from Communications Workers of America, Jon Barton from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Michael Brune from Sierra Club all spoke about why they individually are engaged in the movement to build a stronger, cleaner economy and also why their respective organizations are also leading the way.
For the first time this year, we will have a mobile app that you can access to help you keep track of everything happening at the conference. Using the app, you can get:
- A personalized agenda that shows the workshops you selected when registering
- A map of the Washington Hilton
- A Twitter feed allowing you to follow all of the online buzz about the conference
- A connection to Google Maps so you can find nearby restaurants, museums and local resources
To get the app on your phone, go to http://m.certain.com/757759. From there, you will have the option to bookmark the site and log in your personal agenda (the login to do so is your email address and the password gjgj2013).
The following blog is from Kim Nibarger, a member of the United Steelworkers Health, Safety & Environment Department. Follow on Twitter @steelworkers. This is the second blog we received about the “Preventing Chemical Diasters” workshop. Read the first one from Greenpeace here.
A large Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) release can form a toxic vapor cloud that hugs the ground and travels for many miles, putting thousands of people in its path in danger. This corrosive chemical is highly toxic and if inhaled, it can damage the eyes, skin, nose, throat, respiratory system and bones — and even kill you. It’s fast-acting and high concentrations are immediately dangerous to life and health.
An example of how HF can affect a community is the HF release in South Korea last September 27, 2012 that killed five workers, injured 18 and caused 3,000 people to be treated for exposure. Cattle and crops were also affected, and the area was declared a disaster zone. It could take up to five years for the area to recover.
Imagine this scenario:
Shortly after 5:00A.M. a screeching siren goes off, rattling an entire town. There’s been a leak of chlorine gas at the local chemical facility, and it’s spreading across the town faster than anyone can run. Some workers inside the facility did not have time to evacuate, and they are breathing in the gas in fatal quantities. Community members living outside the facility’s fence — predominantly lower income families and families of color — are waking up to the acrid bleach smell of the gas infiltrating into their homes. As they rush to stop up their windows with duct tape and anything else they can find to “shelter in place,” the dense low-lying cloud continues pushing outward — eventually spreading 14 miles as it is moves with the prevailing wind. As the chlorine reacts with the moisture in the air, it forms hydrochloric acid that begins to eat away at any exposed metal, ruining vehicles, homes, and businesses.
This cloud could hang around for hours or even a day, but by the time the leak has run its course, thousands could be killed or injured, their lungs “melted” by pulmonary edema from inhaling the chlorine gas. First responders will have been affected as they rush to extract victims from the poison gas cloud. Hospitals not in the way of the fumes would be overwhelmed with victims of the fumes.
This blog is by Leslie Moody, Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families. Learn more about PWF on Facebook or Twitter. This blog was previously posted on the Partnership for Working Families website. The Partnership is hosting a workshop at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference entitled, “Cleaning Up Trash and Recycling: Creating Good Jobs and Healthier Communities by Changing the Waste Industry,” on Wednesday, April 17 during Workshop Session I. This is the second blog posted about this workshop. Read the first, by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), here.
Washington, D.C. is so stalled with fiscal crises and gridlock that reformers may find more success at City Hall than in the nation’s Capitol.
Case in point: climate change. While many were cheered by its prominence in President Obama’s second inaugural speech, the reality is that Congress is stumbling from one manufactured crisis to another. It’s hard to see the fate of the earth getting much attention in that environment.
But there are remarkable opportunities for progress at the local level. Consider the mundane business of dealing with America’s trash.
An expanded, responsive and responsible high-road recycling industry could help solve some of our most vexing problems. Recycling is better than traditional trash systems for so many reasons. It eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from landfills and incinerators. It’s a bigger job generator than landfills or incinerators. It produces new raw materials ready for use by local manufacturers. It’s a universally lauded feel-good activity with genuine economic benefits.
This event is being sponsored by Sustainable Williamson, one of the presenters on the Building a Sustainable Future for the West Virginia Coalfields workshop. RSVP, or learn more, here.
Sustainable Williamson is an effort to diversify the economies of coal-dependent Central Appalachian communities through an emphasis on sustainable economic development. Core components include market-based initiatives promoting rural health and wellness, local food systems, sustainable tourism, integrated education, sustainable building/construction, and energy optimization.
On Thursday, April 18, leaders from the Williamson community will be holding a panel presentation and fundraising event at Cause DC to discuss their efforts and how you can get involved. This event will be a convergence of liberals, conservatives, independents, libertarians and many others across the political spectrum in support of our Collaboration Across the Nation campaign.
This blog is by Joel S. Yudken, Ph.D., High Road Strategies, LLC.
The American biofuels industry is getting a boost from an unexpected place — the U.S. military. Primarily for national security reasons, the military wants to source renewable fuels from within the country. As a huge fuel user, the military’s demand for renewable fuels means it could drive the growth of an entire industry.
The military renewable fuels program will be featured in a panel on the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Advanced Biofuels, organized by High Road Strategies, LLC and Environmental Entrepreneurs — a non-partisan national community of business people promoting environmentally smart policy — for the upcoming Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in April. The panel is scheduled for 2:40 pm, Wednesday, April 17. It will bring together representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the biofuels industry, environmental advocates, and economic experts to discuss how we can make money and create jobs through the use of advanced biofuels.
The following blog, by Carol Zabin, Research Director for the Berkely, Center for Labor Research & Education, is cross-posted from the Berkely Blog. Carole will be discussing these issues on the “Building Entry-Level Career Opportunities at a Greening Utility” workshop on April 17 at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference.
It’s time for California, long a leader in green energy investment, to take another big step forward on the environment and job creation.
When Californians passed Proposition 39 last year, they voted for more carbon reduction, school improvements and jobs – all through a five-year, $2.5 billion program using revenues from newly closed tax loopholes to pay for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Now state policymakers are making critical decisions as they craft the guidelines for this massive new investment.
School facilities are the primary target of Proposition 39 retrofitting efforts. But if the measure is going to deliver on its promises of carbon reduction, healthier schools and neighborhoods, long-term career opportunities and a timely economic boost for communities that need it the most, the proposition needs to be implemented right.
This blog is by Jamie Silberberger McConnell, Director of Programs and Policy for Women's Voices for the Earth and National Coordinator of the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance. For more on Women's Voices of the Earth, find them on Twitter and Facebook.
Salon workers dedicate their lives to making their clients look good, but there is an ugly side to this industry. Many chemicals used in salon products pose serious risks to workers’ health. On a daily basis and often for long periods of time, salon workers are exposed to chemicals such as formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, methyl methacrylate (MMA) and many other chemicals that are used in dyes, glues, polishes, straighteners, acrylic nails and other salon products. Many of these chemicals are linked to cancer, allergies, respiratory, neurological and reproductive harm.
This is especially troubling considering the demographics of the industry — women make up 96 percent of the industry’s workforce and most are of reproductive age, making them more vulnerable to chemical exposure. Almost 42 percent of nail salon workers are Asian immigrants who have limited access to health and safety information in their primary language.
Recent Blog Posts
- From Sierra Club: Green Fleets = Green Jobs
- From Sierra Club: Scenes From Good Jobs, Green Jobs
- From UCS: Could Renewable Energy Power Industrial America? It Already Does!
- From CWA: We Need Good Jobs, Green Jobs
- From MCLV: News from the Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference
- Dude, Where’s My (Fuel-Efficient) Car?
- Building a Clean Economy Requires Strong Leaders and Perseverance
- Building Our Infrastructure
- How We Get From Dangerous Chemicals to Safer Chemicals in the Workplace
- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood & Nancy Pelosi Address Good Jobs, Green Jobs