by Van Jones
Many politicians want us to lower our expectations about the economy. I say it is time to raise them. We should go beyond the shriveled thinking imposed upon us by today's mania for austerity. The time has come to propose solutions at the scale of the problems we face. We can and we must revive the economy — in a way that respects people and the planet.
The time has come to create "jobs FOR the environment." We seem to forget that everything that is good for the environment is a job. Solar panels don't put themselves up. Wind turbines don't manufacture themselves. Houses don't retrofit themselves and put in their own new boilers and furnaces and better-fitting windows and doors. Community gardens don't tend themselves. Farmers' markets don't run themselves. Every single thing that is good for the environment is actually a job, a contract, or an entrepreneurial opportunity.
When we do this, we won't be starting from scratch. According to the Brookings Institution, the United States already has 2.7 million green jobs [by the way that is more workers than the fossil fuel industry employs!]. A bigger national commitment to building a green economy can create many millions more.
As we think about a new economy, perhaps we can begin to apply some new math — and begin to count what really counts. The earth counts; our health counts; our kids count; the future counts. Where economic and energy policy meet, we should calculate not only what we spend, but also what we save. And we should consider the payoffs from the investments we make in human and natural capital.
Excerpted from Rebuild the Dream by Van Jones,