A chef picks “farm fresh” produce from an unusual source—a rooftop apple orchard planted among the high-rises of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. The Fairmont Waterfront hotel project showcases two large sectors of the growing green-jobs movement: food production and green building.
Green roof gardens can deliver locally sourced foods that help protect the environment by minimizing the use of pesticides, fossil fuels, and other resources to grow and transport food to market from larger commercial farms. Green roofs can also improve the urban environment by insulating buildings against energy loss, managing storm water, improving air quality, and providing places of recreation.
Water Quality Technicians
Seeking creative solutions to a water quality control problem, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began pouring some three million polyethylene balls into the Ivanhoe Reservoir in the summer of 2008.
The reservoir water had concentrations of naturally occurring bromide and bacteria-killing chlorine additives, and when that combination is exposed to UV rays bromate is produced—an unwanted carcinogen in 58 million gallons (220 million liters) of water used by some 600,000 Angelenos.
Engineers flooded the surface with the same type of balls that airports use to keep birds from flocking to wetlands beside runways, where they create a hazard to aviation. This solution isn’t typical, because open-air reservoirs containing chlorine are increasingly rare. But water quality problems abound and their control is an increasingly important green job around the world.
Clean Car Engineers
Engineers work on an electric car prototype in a California factory. Manufacturing accounts for the bulk of U.S. green jobs—more than 462,000 of the nation’s 3.1 million total according to the U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report.
Transportation is another key green jobs category as a retooling auto industry is asked to remake the nation’s fleet with vehicles that consume less fossil fuel and produce less pollution.
Transportation currently burns about two-thirds of America’s oil and produces about one-third of its greenhouse gas emissions. Electric cars, like this one, are an exciting alternative but can only be as green as the ultimate source of their power. The renewable-energy sector is working to replace dirty fuels like coal with cleaner alternatives such as wind and solar.
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