The jobs picture and the future looked green to the Sierra Clubs Maryland Delegation to the fifth annual Good Jobs Green Jobs (GJGJ) conference, with a focus on wind energy and other renewable energy sources and job opportunities in renewable energy, solar power and forest products industries. The GJGJ conference is co-sponsored by BlueGreen Alliance, the national Sierra Club, and numerous labor organizations and businesses. This year the conference has been held regionallythe Southeast, West Coast, Northeast, and Midwestin order to encourage new and diverse attendance.
The jobs picture and the future looked green to the Sierra Club’s Maryland Delegation to the fifth annual Good Jobs Green Jobs (GJGJ) conference, with a focus on wind energy and other renewable energy sources and job opportunities in renewable energy, solar power and forest products industries. The GJGJ conference is co-sponsored by BlueGreen Alliance, the national Sierra Club, and numerous labor organizations and businesses. This year the conference has been held regionally—the Southeast, West Coast, Northeast, and Midwest—in order to encourage new and diverse attendance.
The conference starts off with a plenary session featuring well-known speakers, and then dives into informative workshops such as “Oil Spills, Twisters, Hurricanes and Other Hazards: Responding to Workplace and Environmental Disasters,” “Defending Jobs and the Environment in a Right-to-Work State: How the Sierra Club and CWA are Building a Grassroots Movement in Texas,” “Why Green is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career,” and “Young People and the Green Economy.”
Here is a sampling of reports from the Sierra Club Maryland delegation, who attended the Philadelphia conference in early April:
Sarah Peters, volunteer with the Legislative committee and at the College Park office: What I appreciated the most was learning about the financial and technical aspects of wind energy, such as the difference between the production tax credit and the investment tax credit. The conference inspired me to learn me about the production process of renewable energy projects. To understand how these projects affect communities and policymakers, one must understand this process.
Larry Tierney, Southern Maryland Group: I am very grateful to the Sierra Club for the opportunity to participate in the GJGJ Conference. Thank you again for including me. I attended most of the sessions on Renewable and Energy Efficiency, my primary area of interest.
I most enjoyed attending the workshop on offshore wind chaired by Sierra staffer Dave Hamilton. I found each of the four speakers very interesting, especially the comments made about Maryland’s Offshore Wind Bill. There was a wonderful briefing about the offshore wind industry in Northern Germany which showed a lot of detail on turbine installation in the sea.
I was pleased to learn about the BlueGreen alliance. I was not previously aware of the collaboration of the Sierra Club with Steelworkers and other unions in building a better future. It should give us all more power supporting green issues together.
I learned a good bit about how one of the union locals in New York City provides training for their members on a variety of environmentally friendly systems in both new and old buildings. It looks like we might eventually win over Americans one at a time with green jobs.
There were talks on the solar labor market and the forest-products industry as well, which added to my understanding of the broad range of green jobs that are improving our country, our economy and the environment, as well.
Bravo, to all of those who coordinated and who assisted in making this conference a treat for the attendees!
As a result of a discussion I had with one of the speakers, I am planning to buy 100% wind power for my home. I am researching this issue now and hope to nail this down soon. Thank you.
Alice Ortuzar, Montgomery Group: I am busy applying for jobs and made lots of contacts there. I’m excited to review a book about restoring our manufacturing base that someone at a union table gave me and will submit it to the next issue of the Chesapeake.
Chris Hill, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter Conservation Representative / Beyond Coal: What a great conference, surrounded by like-minded environmentalists and labor. It was great to see such a good contingent of Sierra Club folks. I loved getting to know not only our very own Maryland Sierrans, but also other Sierra Club folks from the neighboring states.
My favorite workshop was one about toxins in our communities. It had a great environmental justice component to it.
Next year, Good Jobs Green Jobs will be back in Washington, DC. Hope you can be there with us. Check the website at www.greenjobsconference.org for more updates.n
In 2009, Laurel Imlay, Maryland Chapter Coordinator, attended the Good Jobs Green Jobs conference, and was particularly excited by a trash workshop. Her article about it appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Chesapeake as “Green Jobs Conference Promotes Recycling.” Check it out at our website: http://maryland.sierraclub.org/newsletter/archives/2009/06/a_007.asp.
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