Remember when 'going green' was merely cool? That was so 2007. These days, going green is not so 'alternative' anymore –- it's become increasingly mainstream. In fact, in the near future, working in a green industry will likely become a vocation of choice for millions of workers.
You don't even need to predict the way that November's presidential election will turn to know that the green-collared workforce is poised to increase sharply. Sen. Barak Obama stated that, if elected president of the United States, he would earmark $150 billion over the next decade to build up the renewable energy sector, creating five million new jobs along the way. Sen. John McCain's efforts may not be as explicitly ambitious, but he is still on record as claiming that green thinking will create "millions of new jobs in America."
Solar energy, wind farms, and alternative fuels have gained new life because of the current skyrocketing oil prices, and investors have bid up shares in makers of solar panels, practically turning the word "photovoltaic" into a household word.
Maybe Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy was onto something when he said that clean tech would be bigger than the Internet.
It's far from a passing fad. The American Solar Energy Society released a report last year, predicting that nearly a quarter of the country's workforce will be working in green industries come 2030.
"Why choose 19th century pollution when we have 21st century solutions," has become an often-quoted statement from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group supporting a move away from energy produced by coal and oil.
Clean tech is not only seen as a decentralization of energy, the control of which now lies in the hands of a very few, it is also seen as an economic aid to middle America and even those on the bottom economic rungs of the economic ladder. "The green economy has the power to deliver new sources of work, wealth and health to low-income people while honoring the earth," social activist Van Jones argues, echoing the sentiments of many analysts. "If you can do that, you just wiped out a whole bunch of problems."
Creating millions of new jobs, allowing the U.S. to gain control of its energy future without conflict, and capping skyrocking energy costs, are all part of the promise of the move away from our oil dependency. Creating opportunities for green-thinking investors and entrepreneurs along the way is icing on the cake.
A very green cake.
Rick Munarriz is a personal finance columnist for HispanicBusiness.com. He has written for sites such as The Motley Fool and Citysearch, with appearances on NPR, TechTV, Sirius, and CNN en Español. He can be reached through http://www.Reportedly.com where he discusses his latest articles.
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