Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Green Jobs

Looking at the last 10 year, there are only a few employment sectors that have seen a decline in BC: Forestry, Fishing, Wood Product Manufacturing, and Paper Manufacturing. Most of these jobs happen to be in rural BC. In a effort to provide employment for British Columbians outside of major centers, the government has been spending big dollars growing the oil and gas sector. Having grown up in the Interior I’ve seen the decline of the forestry sector first hand, but I have to wondering if trading forestry (which is actually sustainable) for mining, oil, and gas is a good thing. The resource sector in BC is notorious for its boom and bust cycles; mining and oil and gas extraction are not sustainable period. So what are we to do? I found a great paper called “Measuring Green Collar Jobs in British Columbia” from BCStats.

Dan Schrier (author) starts off by saying that measuring green jobs in BC is a challenge because there is no standardized way of measuring what constitutes a green job from agencies like Statistics Canada. He goes on to say that the best way to measuring green jobs today is by a direct survey. Schrier stats that is money to be had in this fast growing sector:
According to Statistics Canada, Canadian industries earned approximately $18.5 billion in revenue from sales of environmental goods and services in 2004.1

Given this burgeoning environmental sector, it would be useful to know just how many jobs it supports. Unfortunately, deriving a count of “green” jobs is not a simple matter. There is the difficulty of not only developing a definition of what comprises a green job, but also of coming up with a definition that allows for relatively easy measurement. Globally, it is estimated that the market for environmental goods and services is around US$1,370 billion per year and will double by 2020.
Now on to the stats. A green job is defined as:
Environmental employment is the performance of employment activities that seek to manage the use of, impact on, and enhance the sustainability of the environment. These activities, which could relate to the governance of environmental activities, the supply of environ-mental products and services, or the development and dissemination of environmental knowledge may be categorized in any of the following sectors:
a) environmental protection,
b) conservation & preservation of natural resources, and
c) environmental sustainability.
So how did we do in BC? We have 17.6% of all green jobs in Canada. That translates into 93,462 job which is more than double the amount of people working in the Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Oil and Gas!

Schrier goes on to say that Canada lags behind the rest of the world in the production of environmental goods and services. So where is the better place to invest money as a government to support rural BC. The unsustainable oil and gas sector or the fast growing green job sector?

1 comment:

Joe Zaccaria said...

I see the move as better for passenger safety. Many of the people that I've seen get on a bus without paying would and sometimes do assault drivers and others. These bus drivers take lots of abuse these days and I like the idea of people paying for the system they use.