Joblessness and Green Jobs

The latest jobless figures are in for Michigan and the good news is that Michigan is no longer number one. Rhode Island earned the notorious title last month with an unemployment rate of 8.8%, compared to Michigan’s 8.7%. The Detroit Free Press also reported that jobless rates were up in 47 states, plus DC.

While the automobile and manufacturing sectors figure out what they’re going to do to become 21st century industries, why don’t we have more businesses, agencies, and local governments creating necessary “green jobs”?

Detroiters have long complained that curbside recycling is needed, along with more drop-in recycling centers. The Ecology Center in Ann Arbor reports that “Detroit is the only city of the 30 largest cities in the United States without any form of curbside recycling.” In addition, the trash incinerator in Detroit is “the largest trash incinerator in the world. The incinerator burns nearly 800,000 tons of trash per year currently at a cost of over $170 per ton to Detroit residents (5-7 times the cost of suburbs that recycle and landfill). Hazardous air pollutants from the facility include mercury, lead and dioxins. Asthma hospitalization rates in Detroit are 3-4 times the average rate of the state of Michigan.”

Large and small cities across the country have learned that recycling makes not only good environmental sense, but good business sense. Jobs are created and money is made when communities chose to practice good recycling efforts. Regarding Detroit, the Ecology Center adds: “A broad coalition of community organizations- environmental, civil rights, health, labor, faith-based and social service advocates- have proposed a New Business Model for Solid Waste Management in Detroit, which has been endorsed and supported by the Detroit City Council by a 6-2 majority. This plan would implement a curbside recycling pilot program by January 1, 2009 and close the incinerator at the end of its current contracts on June 30, 2009.” MWRO supports this!

Some local businesses are also creating small numbers of jobs by promoting green products and practices–see Michigan Green Jobs. Let’s push our elected officials to implement curbside recycling and help create the green jobs we want and need!

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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