An Environmental Bonus: Finding the Missing Piece

By Chris Cote

Over the past few weeks, President Obama has sent an important message to the United States and the world: we will not sacrifice the environment. Sure, several pressing environmental issues have been put further back on the burner in order to stimulate banks and other economic sectors, but these issues are all connected. Stability is needed in all sectors to have any be truly effective. $70 billion (8%) of the stimulus package is being provided for our energy economy, and most of those dollars are directed toward green energy. The boost is aimed toward solar and wind technologies, infant technologies that are more vulnerable in economically difficult times. America cannot afford to have these technologies wiped out. We are in a period when their importance grows each day. Thankfully President Obama has shown that he is not just a fairweather friend of the environment and will continue to support it in hard times as well. To move forward in a sustainable manner, a manner which we can continue over many generations, we must link together our social, economic, and environmental issues.

Green jobs are an example of one way to link these three issues together. By developing new green technologies, such as solar or wind, we are creating jobs. These jobs can largely employ people with low incomes providing benefits to them as individuals, and to society at large. Whatsmore, we are clearly helping the economy, developing more jobs and diverting away from dead-end industries. With investment, these sectors will continue to grow and produce more jobs, becoming sectors indespensable to our workforce/economy, and leading America into a new future. Left untouched, the jobs can become outsourced, and America’s working class will once again lose out. But the federal government has the financial clout to make a project happen, and they are doing things right this time, providing the necessary demand for this sector.

Yes, we are still years behind the Scandinavian countries, and most of Europe, but maybe now America is finally beginning to pick up its pieces? Perhaps there has always been a piece missing as we fill in the puzzle of our American Dream. As a nation we have always focused on economic progress, and our people have always pushed back to include society. And over the last several decades there has been the struggle to include the environment, but with little success. President Obama’s investment in our energy and green economy holds promise that we will find the missing piece and rediscover the American Dream–a dream that links together the economy, society, and the environment.
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