Bet on a Brown and Green America

Your Take: A sustainability expert says our future is tied to people of color and clean energy.

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There are already more people working in the green economy than in the fossil-fuel industry. These are good jobs — they pay roughly 13 percent more than the median U.S. wage. And there are fewer barriers to getting them. Many workers in green jobs have less formal education than their counterparts. That means that the green economy, more than just about any other sector, is forging new pathways into the middle class. Talk about changing the face of our country.

The new majority in America will mean a new way of doing business. Our leaders will no longer be able to get away with policies that prop up 19th-century energy sources like coal and oil instead of 21st-century clean energy sources like solar, wind and efficiency technology. They’ll no longer be able to get away with pouring money into the pockets of billionaires and poison into the lungs of our children.

The savviest leaders will be the ones who bet on clean energy and the green economy. That’s where America’s new majority sees a healthier and more prosperous future for our kids.

So when groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API) attack efforts to expand green jobs, what I hear is an organization that is tone-deaf and out of touch.

It’s not just that API and other opponents of green jobs lack the vision for a better world for our children and grandchildren. They fail to comprehend that America — and its people of every color and culture — is marching forward into a more diverse, more equitable future and leaving them behind.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the executive director of Green for All.

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