Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Silver Lining of Tough Economic Times

While sustainability is enjoying a surge of popularity, questions have arisen about whether economic conditions would thwart the "green" movement and cause corporations to abandon green initiatives. It appears the rather quick rise of oil and food prices and the subsequent rise in costs for corporations (and for individuals alike) have helped the sustainability movement continue its growth.

Research from Acre Resources states that "green collar jobs" have increased by 20% in the past year, despite concerns over the economy and many predict the growth in the green jobs sector and related industries will continue. Some even predict "explosive growth" in the green jobs sector over the coming years and the lack of enough skilled green collar workers could be a problem. In fact, some community colleges that are currently offering programs to train wind turbine technicians sometimes see students leave to accept job offers before finishing the program.

Other signs that sustainability is continuing its growth? There has been a nationwide increase in clean tech investments and increase in sales of fuel-efficient automobiles. Additionally, some areas have seen increased bicycle usage, increased sales at farmer's markets, increased public transportation usage, increased carpooling and ride sharing, increased sewing machine sales, a growth in green housing, a growth in the number of urban gardens and home gardens, and increased organic acreage usage and production. And in an interesting twist, rising food prices may slow the production of cocaine.

Additionally, a recent study by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies concludes that the "economy won't slow down green consumers." This is good news indeed.

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