Environmental groups and AFL release groundbreaking Green Jobs report

Edmonton - Alberta can create more than 200,000 long-term green jobs and build a strong economic future, according to a groundbreaking report on green jobs released by two prominent environmental groups and the Alberta Federation of Labour.

The report, entitled Green Jobs: It's Time to Build Alberta's Future, was commissioned by Greenpeace, Sierra Club Prairie Chapter and the Alberta Federation of Labour. This unique coalition responds to the interest Albertans have in a strong bottom line that also supports ecological health.

"This report shows what we've been saying for some time now: that a green economy is a healthy economy. Right now, we have the ability to put tens of thousands of Albertans back to work building the future," said Jeh Custer, Energy Campaigner with the Sierra Club Prairie Chapter. "All we need is a little bit of vision and a lot of leadership."

The green jobs strategy is needed now at a time when Alberta has record job losses and its first deficit in over a decade. Alberta has slipped from having the lowest unemployment levels in Canada to third. Since August 2008, employers have cut over 135,000 full-time positions.

The vision in the report will breathe new life into the province's economy and help improve its environmental track record, which has recently come under international criticism.

Green Jobs: It's Time to Build Alberta's Future, shows a new way forward. It outlines what a green economy should look like. The green jobs of the future include electricians, computer software engineers, iron and steel workers, electrical engineers, electrical equipment assemblers, welders, metal fabricators, electrical equipment technicians, construction workers, machinists, construction labourers, operating engineers, and electrical power line installers and repairers, and sheet metal workers - a truly "green collar" industry.

"It's time this government invests in people and put our dollars towards building safe, vibrant and sustainable communities in Alberta," said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. "This report shows undeniably that a green investment will allow us to diversify our economy, to stabilize it and to put tens of thousands of people to work immediately building our green energy future."

Other green jobs could be created in providing water treatment for First Nations communities, improving wastewater treatment systems, reforestation, and cleaning up contaminated sites. These opportunities can create many more good green jobs in rural and urban areas.

"Instead of investing $2 billion in false solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage, the government should choose solutions that will help every Albertan," said Mike Hudema, Climate and Energy campaigner with Greenpeace, Canada. "The time has come to let go of what's clearly not working and begin focusing our energy on creating the clean, green economy that will sustain us for generations to come. It's time to build the future."

Alberta Talks, Fri May 1 2009

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