A green collar job is a job which benefits the environment in some way. Some examples of green collar jobs include bicycle repair, landscaping, organic farming, materials reuse, and work in the alternative energy sector. Green collar careers are quite diverse, drawing upon a wide assortment of skills, and many of them are concentrated locally, presenting opportunities for community revitalization and creating jobs in areas which are experiencing recession.
While people have always been working in green collar jobs, interest in the green employment sector rose dramatically in the early 21st century, when consumers recognized a growing need to address environmental issues before it was too late. Many businesses responded to these consumer concerns by making their operations more environmentally friendly, and a number of green business initiatives rose up on their own to meet consumer demand for things like solar panels, environmentally friendly furnishings, and other green products. As a result, the green collar job sector dramatically expanded.
There are a number of reasons why the green collar job sector has attracted so much interest. One reason is that many green jobs must be based locally, by their very nature. Gardeners, remodelers, and home consultants must be able to reach their clients easily, and in environmentally friendly industries, cutting down on long travel is an important part of the business model. As a result, green collar jobs present local opportunities, allowing people to retool existing skills to work in the green sector, or providing an incentive to get training in a particular field of interest.
Because green collar jobs are locally based, many people see them as an opportunity for community involvement and revitalization. Several cities in the United States such as Oakland, California, have created green collar job initiatives which are designed to provide low-income individuals with useful skills. Green collar jobs help pull people off the streets, creating a useful and marketable skill set which they can take anywhere.
People are also interested in green collar job opportunities because of rising concerns about the health of the environment. By promoting employment in the green sector, many people hope to encourage the growth of green business, making environmentally friendly businesses practices commonplace and widely expected. By expanding the green sector, people also hope that environmentally friendly practices will become more affordable, making it easier for people to make the right choice for the environment.