Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blue is the New Green: Organized Labor and Environmental Sector Rally for Good, Green Jobs

Maggie Comstock
Associate, Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

Last week marked the kick-off of the BlueGreen Alliance’s annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs (GJGJ) Conference. The founding premise of the BlueGreen Alliance was to marry the aims of organized labor and environmentalists in common support of good, green jobs. This eclectic, yet compatible, mix of attendees makes GJGJ different from your typical green jobs affair. For the conference’s fifth anniversary, GJGJ left Washington, DC and hit the road with a series of four regional conferences.

First Stop: Atlanta.

Good Jobs, Green Jobs South brought the green jobs message to a new audience; though, that is not to say that this is a new concept for the region. The conference held a wide range of educational a plenary sessions with case studies and experts from Atlanta and beyond. Attendees traveled far and wide to attend, from Virginia and North Carolina to Alabama and Texas. The South showed up in force and proved that they support good, green jobs.

As a veteran attendee of past Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conferences held in Washington, DC, I was very impressed by both the inspiring local speakers and passionate attendees. Did you know that Atlanta was one of the three cities initially selected to participate in the President’s Better Buildings Challenge? Did you know that the State of Georgia has nearly 5,300 LEED credentialed professionals and ranks 9th in the country for total number of LEED commercial projects? The South is by no means behind in the green jobs game, but there is still more to be done.

If you weren’t fortunate enough to make it to Atlanta, check out one of the three upcoming conferences to be held in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Detroit. You won’t be disappointed by what you learn and the connections you will make. When blue and green align, what do you get? (Other than teal…) You have a strong and unified voice in support of high-quality, long-term, environmentally-conscious jobs. The next step is to show our leaders and policymakers that this alliance is an unwavering force for change.

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